'The Beverly Hillbillies': The Sad Death Of "Granny" Actress Irene Ryan
On The Beverly Hillbillies, star Irene Ryan played the beloved "Granny," mother-in-law of series lead "Jed Clampett." But, sadly, the actress's life came to a tragic end very soon after the popular series concluded in 1971. This is the sad way Ryan passed away at age 70.
All was well in the Beverly Hillbillies world during its run from 1962 to 1971.
And one of the show's most popular characters over that time was "Granny," the feisty and beloved mother-in-law of "Jed Clampett." Actress Irene Ryan played the role brilliantly, but she sadly didn't live long after the series ended in 1971.
The Beverly Hillbillies: How "Granny" actress Irene Ryan died
After the 1971 finale, Irene Ryan had only one other screen role in an episode of Love, American Style. The former vaudeville actress instead made the move to Broadway — and she became a huge success.
In 1972, Ryan began to star in Bob Fosse's production of Pippin. She played "Berthe" in the stage play and was even nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 at the age of 70.
But, just one month after the Tony Awards, Ryan suffered a stroke onstage during another performance of Pippin. She returned home to California, and it was discovered she had a brain tumour.
She passed away a few weeks later, on April 26, 1973. Ryan died of the brain tumour and heart disease, her local Beaver County Times reported at the time. She was 70.
In memoriam: Irene Ryan died just after The Beverly Hillbillies
It was a sad end for Irene Ryan, so soon after The Beverly Hillbillies and just as she was reinventing herself as a stage star in her 70s. But she did pass on doing what she loved, as she'd been an actress from the age of 10 right until her death.
When the Beverly Hillbillies stars made a reunion movie in 1981, "Granny" was not recast, and it's mentioned in the film that she passed away. Fellow co-star Raymond Bailey, who played "Mr. Drysdale," had also died the year before the film.