Irene Ryan aspired to portray Granny for as much time as possible.

Irene Ryan had a steadfast resolve: retirement was a word she refused to entertain. Renowned for her portrayal of Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies, Ryan was determined to embody the role indefinitely.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, she articulated her unwavering stance: “Retire? Honey, I want to die with my boots on.”

Her tenure on the show brought her the fulfillment she craved. Yet, outside the studio, recognition often eluded her until she spoke. “My voice always gives me away,” she lamented. “I can stroll down the street unnoticed until I utter a word, then heads turn.”

Ryan made a special appearance at the South Sydney Junior Leagues Club during her visit to Sydney. While she kept her upcoming act under wraps, a few belongings of Granny’s were tucked away in her luggage, as per the newspaper article.

Irene Ryan before and after being made up for her part as Granny in the Beverley Hillbillies.

Surprisingly, Granny took to the stage. “People adore seeing Granny live and in action. I performed her in Las Vegas, and she was a hit,” Ryan disclosed.

Despite Ryan’s seamless embodiment of the role, distinctions between her and the fictional character remained apparent. Known for her warmth, Ryan differed from Granny Clampett, who epitomized tough love. With over 50 years in show business, Ryan had tackled every type of gig except one.


“I won’t say how old I am, but I’ve played in every type of show business [for over] 50 years except burlesque. I was never the type,” she said. “I want to go on playing Granny till I drop. I think that when people say retire, they just lay down and die.

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