Friday, 24 June 2016

Ann Morgan Guilbert Passes On

Ann Morgan Guilbert, who played Millie Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Yetta Rosenberg on The Nanny, died on June 14 2016 at the age of 87. The cause was cancer.

Ann Morgan Guilbert was born in Minneapolis on October 16 1928. She studied theatre arts at Stanford University. Her professional career began as a featured performer in the Off-Broadway music variety act called The Billy Barnes Revue in 1959. It was there that writer, producer, and creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Carl Reiner, first saw her. When casting The Dick Van Dyke Show, he hired her for the role of Millie Helper, the Petries' neighbour and Laura Petrie's perky best friend. Miss Guilbert remained with the show for the entirety of its run.

In the Sixties she also guest starred on My Three Sons, Hennessey, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Good Morning World, The Andy Griffith Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Adam 12, Room 222, and Dragnet. She was a regular on the sitcom Hey, Landlord. She also appeared in the movies Two for the Seesaw (1962), The Man from the Diners' Club (1963), One Man's Way (1964), A Guide for the Married Man (1967), How Sweet It Is! (1968), and Viva Max (1969).

In the Seventies Ann Morgan Guilbert was a regular on The New Andy Griffith Show. She guest starred on The Partridge Family; Love, American Style; Emergency!, The Ghost Busters, On the Rocks, and Maude. In the Eighties she guest starred on Barney Miller, Cheers, Newhart, and Murder, She Wrote. She starred in the short lived sitcom The Fanelli Boys.

In the Nineties Ann Morgan Guilbert played Fran's doddering yet feisty grandmother Yetta Rosenberg on The Nanny. She remained with the show for its entire run. Before that she had a recurring role on Picket Fences. She guest starred on the shows Blossom, Home Improvement, Room for Two, Herman's Head, Empty Nest, and Seinfeld. She appeared in the films Grumpier Old Men (1995) and Sour Grapes (1998).

In the Naughts she guest starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm, State of Mind, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She appeared in the film Please Give (2010) and on Broadway in A Naked Girl on the Appian Way.

In the Teens Miss Guilbert guest starred on Happily Divorced, Modern Family, Grey's Anatomy, and Life in Pieces. She was a regular on the show Getting On.

Ann Morgan Guilbert was an incredibly talented performer with a particular knack for comedy. She had perfect timing and a gift for delivering lines in the funniest way possible. What is more she could play a wide variety of characters. Indeed, her two best known characters are very different. As Millie Helper she was bright, hyperactive, and just a little bit nosy. As Yetta Rosenberg she was absent minded, but at the same time a bit scrappy. What is more she played a wide variety of characters throughout her career. On The New Andy Griffith Show she played the neurotic, constantly complaining, and interfering Nora. In the I Dream of Jeannie episode "Jeannie for the Defence" she played the wife of a man seeking to defraud Tony Nelson after a minor fender bender. It was rare that she ever played the same sort of character twice. It should be little wonder that Ann Morgan Guilbert had such a long career. She was an immensely talented comic actress who could play nearly any role she wanted.

1 comment:

Caftan Woman said...

Among all the times I have enjoyed watching Ann Morgan Guilbert, number one in my heart will be Millie Helper. It was where we met, so to speak and the memories are fond. Her guest spot on "My Three Sons" is one of my favourite TV episodes of all-time, "Unite or Sink". The entire ensemble of the neighbourhood is top-notch, but she really holds it together.