Merie Earle

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Merie Earle (May 13, 1889 – November 14, 1984) was an American actress perhaps best remembered for her performance as Maude Gormley in The Waltons.

Contents

Life and career

Born in Morrow, Ohio, Merie Earle grew up in the Columbus area where she enjoyed singing and dancing as a child. Following her marriage she moved to New York City with her husband, who was an engineer for the New York Central. Upon her husband’s retirement, the couple relocated to La Crescenta, California to be closer to their daughter. She was discovered by an agent while performing in a play at a Methodist church.

Beginning her professional career late in life, Earle’s first jobs included ads for Polaroid. She appeared in many commercials but became well known after appearing in a series of advertisements for Dodge as a “hot-rodding granny” in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her famous tagline was: “Put a Dodge in your garage, honey!”

In 1967 she made her feature film debut in Fitzwilly starring Dick Van Dyke. Her screen credits included Gaily, Gaily (1969), In Name Only, Dr. Max (1974,) Crazy Mama (1975,) Fatso (1980,) and Going Ape (1981.) She was a regular on the TV series The Jerry Reed When You're Hot You're Hot Hour in 1972 and The Waltons from 1972-79 as Maude Gormley. Earle also appeared in the made-for-TV movie The Last of the Good Guys in 1978.

Scheduled to make her Broadway debut, at age 88, in a revival of Paul Zindel’s Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds in 1978, Earle suffered a fractured hip during the show’s initial run in La Jolla, California and withdrew from the production prior to its New York premiere. She guest starred on many notable television series including Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, Alice, Phyllis, and Whiz Kids.

Death

Merie Earle died aged 95 on November 4, 1984 in Glendale, California of uremic poisoning following surgery for colon cancer, having outlived both her husband and her daughter. She was a younger sister to comedian Clem Bevans.

Television

Filmography

References