Irene Ryan left her entire fortune to students

Even decades after her death, Irene Ryan is still helping others.

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Whether you called her Granny or Granny Clampett, there was no denying the impact Irene Ryan had on her Beverly Hillbillies role.

She brought laughter to her on-screen family and millions of viewers worldwide who were eager to see what new thing the Clampetts would misinterpret while settling into Beverly Hills and making it their new home.

Even before her dream role, Ryan graced stages and small screens and could even be heard on the radio. She really did it all, and the actress never looked forward to retiring. In fact, she didn't want to. In her words, "Retire? Honey, I want to die with my boots on."

Ryan was always giving and wanted to help others, so she created the Irene Ryan Foundation. The actress passed away in 1973, and in true Irene fashion, she made sure her fortune went toward helping others.

According to an article in the Press of Atlantic City newspaper, the actress left "her entire fortune of more than $1 million to a fund for student scholarships."

Ryan left no survivors; her entire estate was left to the Irene Ryan Foundation, which provided scholarships for aspiring actors.

The Beverly Hillbillies actress was under care at St. John's Hospital after collapsing on stage during her Pippin performance in New York on March 10, 1973. Sadly, she had a stroke on April 26, 1973, and didn't make it.

Pippin was Ryan's Broadway debut. According to the Press of Atlantic City article, she played a "regal but lusty" medieval grandmother. The actress was nominated for a Tony award for her performance.

No matter what role she played, Ryan was like a bright light in a room full of darkness. Even Buddy Ebsen said she was wonderful to work with.

She was everyone's Granny, and there wasn't one time when she didn't excel in her role. Decades after her death, we still remember her talents, laughing at her parts and seeing a new generation of actors get their start because of her scholarship and foundation

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31 Comments

edbreyer 3 months ago
Here's an excellent short video about her life - with lots of clips from her old movies and the Beverly Hillbillies. Worth a watch!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3p8ghyo-T4
frances3agape 12 months ago
According to Internet Movie Data Base (imdb.com),
"She played the same character (Daisy Moses) on three different series: Mister Ed (1961), The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and Petticoat Junction (1963). And while not actually appearing on an episode of the series she played the same character in the Green Acres (1965) verse. Characters from GA appeared with her in one crossover episode of BHB; The Thanksgiving Spirit (1968)."
DZee 12 months ago
Here's Granny singing No Time at All from Pippin. Click on the link to You-Tube
DZee 12 months ago
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DZee 12 months ago
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Mblack 12 months ago
The Baldwin Sisters planned to give their home to the community to be used as a museum.
historylover 12 months ago
Very, very, very briefly I was a theater major, and a couple of students at my university won scholarships from the Irene Ryan Foundation. Not me. But, I had never watched The Beverly Hillbillies before this, although I'd certainly heard of it. But, whenever I catch it, I think about her providing scholarships even before thinking of her as Granny.
ww245 13 months ago
I got so many laughs from Irene my tummy still hurts. She actually reminded me of my grandmother on my dad's side, gramma Cil. She was a waitress at Greater Pitt Airport and made next to nothing, but she bailed me out of more trouble than you can imagine. If not for her, I would never have played anything. She got me a Hammond organ because my little one died. What an instrument and what a birthday present. She bought all us grandkids an instrument because she didn't want us to work as hard as she did and she was a very hard worker. I'm ashamed to say I couldn't fit the organ in my house and after my folks passed, we brothers gave the house to our only sister. She put my organ out in the weather and I couldn't rescue it. My nephew said someone picked it up for their church. I've not seen my nephew since to find out who has it. It makes me so sad I lost that link to my grandmother, but I do play in a band. I play drums in a marching band after learning on my brother's kit she got him. I have a little keyboard now at least and gramma would always ask me to play something and she sounded just like granny on the tv, Irene Ryan.......God bless them both....
LalaLucy 13 months ago
Love knowing this about her. Such a funny lady and a class act.
Robert1959 13 months ago
I love, granny Clampett she’s funny
Crixus6100 13 months ago
There is also a college stage acting award named for her. When I was in college we won an Irene Ryan for our production of Othello.
obectionoverruled 13 months ago
Sorry but Miss Hathaway is my favorite. That uppity nose and unique breathless voice of hers cracked me up. Always looking out for the bumbling uptight Mr. Drysdale, the LA banker to the stars.
obectionoverruled 13 months ago
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cperrynaples cperrynaples 13 months ago
Applogies! My post went over the line! It was true but it wasn't suitable for this board!
Inthe25th 13 months ago
"Granny" was certainly my favorite in the Beverly Hillbillies. She was country and she made sense. She was a very lovable character. She played a good role on a "Wagon Train " episode where she was blessed by an evangelist passing by.
tootsieg 13 months ago
What a wonderful thing to do. Irene Ryan was very generous.
Xsquid 13 months ago
“Whether you called her Granny or Granny Clampett,…..”

Just as a side note granny wasn’t a Clampett. She was Jed’s mother in law, Daisy Moses.
cperrynaples Xsquid 13 months ago
Yep, and she was Granny Moses, an inside joke!
Xsquid cperrynaples 13 months ago
Yes, everybody knows she was Granny, most think she was Clampett.
SandraChicago cperrynaples 13 months ago
Perhaps the inside joke was based on Grandma Moses, the American Folk Artist, and not "Granny" Moses...or is there another "inside joke" related to "Granny" Moses that is not readily apparent? Curious minds want to know! 😉
Sway 13 months ago
So good as Granny. Nice story.
cperrynaples 13 months ago
No, Irene lost the Tony to Patricia Elliot for A Little Night Music beating out her better known co-star Hermione Gingold! Pippin did win 5 other awards including one for Ben Vereen and 2 for Bob Fosse! Fun Fact: John Lithgow got his first award for The Changing Room!
Hermione Gingold’s born-for-role and high career moment had to be as the mayor’s loud and nosy wife in The Music Man, my favorite comedy musical. Her small town twitching and fluttering about all things moral, immoral and in between. The way she looked down her nose at everyone in town but the rector was hilarious, and her high dudgeon played out whenever that rail riding band leader and musical instrument salesman Robert Preston popped on the scene was classic small town America.
I only remember her from talk shows! She was a great guest!
ncadams27 13 months ago
Would that include Jethro? He was in the 6th grade.
cperrynaples ncadams27 13 months ago
No, he was a grade school "grad-u-ate"...LOL!
Mblack 13 months ago
If I outlived my sisters, very unlikely, everything left goes to the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

It is worth considering leaving a bequeath like this to a scholarshio or something. Especially if there are no kids.
MrsPhilHarris Mblack 13 months ago
Do you live in Kelowna?
Mblack MrsPhilHarris 13 months ago
No. My great, great, great grandmother was Syilx, aka Okanagan. She was born in what became Washington State. They moved arpund with the weather, but I'm still not sure why the distant relatives that have been found are on or around the Colville Reservation in Washington.

My great, great, great grandparents moved to Red River in 1825, giving up the mild weather, so the kids became Metis.
MrsPhilHarris Mblack 13 months ago
Interesting story. Thanks for sharing.
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