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Ellen Corby Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 3 June 1911Racine, Wisconsin, USA
Date of Death 14 April 1999Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameEllen Hansen

Mini Bio (2)

Ellen Corby was born Ellen Hansen on June 3, 1911, in Racine, Wisconsin. She began her career as a bit player in the film Speed Limited (1935) in 1940. Ellen would not be seen on the big screen again until 1945 in Cornered (1945). In 1946, she appeared in 14 films, although mostly in small, minor roles. One of them was in the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946). One of the highlights of her career came about in 1948 in I Remember Mama (1948) as Aunt Trina. Ellen garnered a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, which was ultimately won by Claire Trevor in Key Largo (1948). The Oscar nomination didn't send her to the heights she had hoped. This wonderful actress continued in roles that were mostly minor compared to some of her contemporaries. However, it was television where she would receive the acclaim that had eluded her on the screen. Time after time she played parts that was absolutely outstanding. One of the funniest was as Myrt "Hubcaps" Lesh in The Andy Griffith Show (1960). She was the ringleader of a gang that stole cars and then sold them, and she sold Barney Fife a stolen car that turned out to be a real lemon. The series that brought her worldwide recognition, though, was the highly acclaimed The Waltons (1971) as Esther "Grandma" Walton. The role got her Emmy awards in 1973, 1974, and 1975. Although a stroke in 1977 slowed her down, Ellen still made appearances on the series. Her last TV appearance was in 1997 in the TV movie A Walton Easter (1997). On April 14, 1999, Ellen died at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She was 87 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Ellen Hansen (aka Ellen Corby aka Grandma Walton) was born June 3, 1911 (or 1913), in Racine, WI. She grew up in Philadelphia, PA, and left for Hollywood in the early 1930s to become an actress, which she became only after working as a script assistant for twelve years. She appeared in over 25 uncredited or small character parts before taking the role of the lovelorn Aunt Trina, in I Remember Mama (1948), which won her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She appeared in such well-known films as Shane (1953), Sabrina (1954), and Vertigo (1958) as well as such trivialities as Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town (1950) and The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters (1954), usually playing the character part of an old maid busybody. She made many guest appearances in television westerns, receiving a Golden Boot award from the Motion Picture and Television Fund in 1989. It was in television that she established the role for which she will always be remembered: Grandma Esther Walton in The Waltons (1971) (1972-81). Even after suffering a serious stroke in 1977, she continued to make occasional, brief appearances in the series and its reprisals. She won Emmys as Best Supporting Actress for the part of Grandma in 1973, 1975, and 1976. She died April 14, 1999, aged 87, at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills CA.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (1)

Francis Corby (1934 - 1944) (divorced)

Trivia (8)

She spent 12 years as a script assistant before becoming an actress.
Suffered a serious stroke in 1976.
Returned for The Waltons (1971)' last show of the 1977-1978 season.
In March of 2000, she was left out of the yearly "In Memoriam" segment of the The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000). Ellen, who was once nominated for an Oscar for her Supporting Role in I Remember Mama (1948), had really only played small bit parts in motion pictures for twenty years, before she became majorly noticed on television's The Waltons (1971). The Academy chose instead to memorialize another small bit part actor in films, Henry Jones.
Replaced Jessica Tandy as Aunt Trina in I Remember Mama (1948) after Tandy dropped out of the project in order to pursue A Woman's Vengeance (1948).
Ellen Corby was an enthusiastic practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, and was trained by its founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in 1969, as a TM teacher.
Played Edgar Bergen's wife twice - once as Aunt Trina in "I Remember Mama", and once as Grandma Walton in "The Homecoming".
Corby was quoted as saying that her first acting job was in "Twisted Rails" according to the April 1985 issue of "Films in Review.".

Personal Quotes (2)

I can't go anywhere without meeting someone I worked with. When the children on 'The Waltons' heard that I worked with Laurel and Hardy, I was in.
Her mother died on September 9, 1963, at the age of 76. The loss of Ellen's mother left an emptiness that could never be filled. "A great deal of me disappeared with her. She was a large part of my life-much more than my husband ever was.

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