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.