R.I.P. Peggy Pope, TV character actress and Margaret from '9 to 5'

She started on Broadway then transitioned to movies and television in a career that spanned more than five decades.

Image: The Everett Collection

Though she acted on stage with people like Jimmy Stewart and Ann Miller, appeared in everything from Bewitched to Barnaby Jones to Law & Order and was a regular on two short-lived sitcoms, Peggy Pope is most widely remembered as a secretary named Margaret in the classic 1980 film 9 to 5.

Whenever one of the main characters, played by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, did something she liked, Margaret would give them an encouraging “"Atta girl!"

The catchphrase was so connected to Pope that she called her 2011 memoir Atta Girl: Tales from Life in the Trenches of Show Business. She writes about her most famous role, who comes back at the end of 9 to 5, and notes, "It's always good to be in at the end of a film so people remember you were in it."

Pope also had small roles in movies like The Last Starfighter, Curfew and The Substitute.

The majority of her acting credits were in television. She was in five episodes of Soap and six episodes of Barney Miller. She was also cast as a series regular in two 1970s sitcoms, but both were canceled before finishing a single season. She played Elaine Fusco in all eleven episodes of Calucci’s Department and Alice Fisher in the seven episodes of Billy.

Peggy Pope passed away on May 27. She was 91.

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kimmer 11 days ago
Condolences to Family and Friends...I remember her bits on Barney Miller...
Aja 30 days ago
I'm so glad I'm part of this site you learn so much and you forget about actors that starred on different shows that you didn't even think about them being a part of thank you Me-TV
JR 1 month ago
Aside from "Soap," another nice turn was "The Golden Girls." She played neighbor Gladys, whose husband (another "Soap" vet, Gordon Jump) didn't want to pay to have a tree (on his property) removed. RIP, Peggy.
Wiseguy JR 1 month ago
Technically, on Soap, her husband was played by Michael Conrad (from Hill Street Blues) but they never appeared on the same episode.
Utzaake 1 month ago
Peggy Pope looked mighty familiar but I couldn't place her. Then it hit me. Kate & Allie, Season 4, Episode 20, "Send Me No Flowers." She played Barbara Burke, the passive-aggressive teller who made Kate McArdle's day miserable (11:34-16:08).
cperrynaples 1 month ago
Yes, Peggy was most famous for being drunk in the movie UNTIL the final scene when it's revealed the ladies sobered her up! Fun Fact: She was the only performer to appear in both the movie AND the TV series!
PS While on Wikipedia, I saw she was on my favorite soap opera Santa Barbara! After some research I remembered a takeoff on It's A Wonderful Life where she was a female version of Clarence the angel! Very funny performance!
Wiseguy cperrynaples 1 month ago
Ironically, she appeared on Barney Miller as a woman who thought soap operas were real and kept reporting crimes she saw on soaps.
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