Bea Benaderet as Aunt Pearl
Is that a lovable face or what?! I just might be the biggest fan of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971) in the world. How obsessed? I could sit and watch the first episode to the last episode, back to back, and never move a muscle.
Heck, I might not even blink.
For whatever reasons, The Beverly Hillbillies simply doesn’t get the credit and attention it so richly deserves. The accolades that are, deservedly mind you, heaped on The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy should – in all fairness – be heaped upon The Beverly Hillbillies as well.
The cast of The Beverly Hillbillies is as fine a cast that’s ever been assembled. I’d put Irene Ryan’s portrayal of Granny (Daisy Moses) up against anyone. Same goes for the rest of the cast – from Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett), Donna Douglas (Elly Mae), Bea Benaderet (Aunt Pearl) and Max Baer Jr (Jethro and, of course, Jethrine… or would that be Jethrene?) to Raymond Bailey (Milburn Drysdale) and Nancy Kulp (Jane Hathaway).
My only complaint EVER about The Beverly Hillbillies was the fact that Bea Benaderet’s wonderful Aunt Pearl wasn’t on more often. Aunt Pearl is one of the most deliciously entertaining characters of all time and Bea Benaderet was obviously BORN to bring her to life. If I were to list my favorite classic television characters of all time, Pearl Bodine would make the cut and Bea Benaderet gets all the credit.
Here are a few things about this wonderfully talented actress you may not have known:
- Bea Benaderet (1906-1968) was originally considered for the role of Granny.
- When Bea saw Irene Ryan at the audition, she told producer/creator Paul Henning, “There’s your Granny!“
- She was one of the actresses to lend her voice to Betty Rubble on The Flintstones.
- She also voiced many, many other animated characters from The Jetsons to The Bugs Bunny Show and from Mr. Magoo to Top Cat.
- In spite of her straight-laced image, word is that Bea Benaderet could out-cuss a sailor! Apparently she had quite the mouth on her and almost always had her co-stars in stitches.
- Bea is also well known for her role as Kate Bradley on Green Acres and its spinoff Petticoat Junction.
- Before moving to television, she had a great career in radio with shows such as “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “My Favorite Husband” (with Lucille Ball), and the “Jack Benny Show.”
- Lucille Ball’s original choice for Ethyl on I Love Lucy was Bea Benaderet. However, Bea couldn’t accept the offer because of her role as Blanche Morton in “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show” (1950).