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Dody Goodman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Columbus, Ohio, USA
Died in Englewood, New Jersey, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameDolores Goodman
Nickname Red

Mini Bio (1)

Her quivery, high-pitched, Southern-cracked tones were once described as sounding like "a Tweetie Pie cartoon bird strangling on peanut butter." Just the absurdity of that description fits comedienne Dody Goodman to a tee. One did not know what to make of her, but she could certainly induce laughter with a mere perplexed look, a spaced-out pause, or by opening her mouth and spouting out a silly malaprop. Her flakiness seemed so real that one wondered if that was the REAL Dody Goodman or just some savvy comedienne who knew exactly how to package herself. Maybe a little of both.

An endearing scenestealer, Dody put her own indelible patent on the feather-brained relative, inept teacher and neighborhood chatterbox, playing them all to the hilt in an over six-decade career. Her characters alway seemed lost in their own little world...whatever world that was, it must have been a sweet and happy little place for she always displayed a pleasant demeanor and had a fixed smile plastered on that rather blank face of hers. TV was Dody's choice of medium later in life and her ditsy foils became a popular addiction on prime-time and late-nite TV shows during the 1960s and 1970s.

She was born Dolores Goodman, the daughter of Dexter, a cigar factory owner, and Leona Goodman, in Columbus, Ohio on October 28, 1914. Dody's beginnings were in dance and ballet and, after traipsing off to New York in the hopes of becoming a ballerina, fell into the ballet company at Radio City Music Hall. She eventually went the Broadway route and made her debut as a ballet dancer in the short-lived musical "Viva O'Brien" in 1941. From that she continued to gain experience in the dancing ensembles of "Something for the Boys," "One Touch of Venus," Laffing Room Only," "High Button Shoes," "Miss Liberty," "Call Me Madam" and "My Darlin' Aida." A featured role in the 1953 musical "Wonderful Town" starring Tony-winner Rosalind Russell was a huge turning point, and another standout part in 1955's "Shoestring Revue" had her introducing the show-stopping novelty song "Someone Is Sending Me Flowers".

It was comedienne Imogene Coca and "Wonderful Town" director George Abbott who saw Dody's true potential as a funny girl and helped steer her towards comedy. Soon Dody was performing on 50s TV in comedy skits. With a pixie-like eccentricity that reminded one of the late great Gracie Allen, Dody's big break happened in mid-career when, at age 43, she made a chatty 1957 guest appearance on the second episode of Jack Paar's "Tonight Show" and was hired as a regular. An enormous hit with audiences, she earned an Emmy nomination in the process, but Paar dropped her from the show the following year because she had a disconcerting habit of upstaging him. She later became a well-oiled guest on game shows and on Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin's chatfests.

On stage, Dody played the Carol Burnett role in a tour of "Once Upon a Mattress" and added "Fiorello!" and the "New Cole Porter Review" to her musical comedy resume in the early 1960s. She did not return to Broadway until over a decade later with a supporting role in "Lorelei" starring Carol Channing in 1974. Two decades later she would reappear in a Broadway revival of "Grease". On the legit comedy stage, she added to the wackiness of such plays as "A Thurber Carnival," "Don't Drink the Water, "The Front Page" and "George Washington Slept Here".

An ideal showcase for her loopy talents was as Louise Lasser's mother, Martha Shumway, on the cutting edge TV satire, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). An off-the-wall sendup of soap operas, Goodman was in her element as the title character's mother who engaged in conversation with her plants. When Lasser left the show, the cast maintained for another six months and the title was changed to Forever Fernwood (1977).

An older Dody appeared as a regular for a season on sitcom Diff'rent Strokes (1978) and in such teen-oriented movies as Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982), as well as Splash (1984) and Private Resort (1985). She also provided a regular cartoon voiceover for "Alvin & the Chipmunks" for years. On stage she earned a Drama Desk nomination for her 1984 appearance in the O'Neill play "Ah, Wilderness!" and later spent several seasons touring in the musical farce "Nunsense" -- starting out as Sister Mary Amnesia and graduating to the role of Mother Superior. At age 85 she was still kicking up her heels in one of the show's many spin-offs, "Nuncrackers," and was glimpsed occasionally as her old flaky self as a guest on "The David Letterman Show".

Appearing at special events past the age of 90, she died peacefully on June 22, 2008, at the Englewood, New Jersey Hospital and Medical Center. Declining health had forced her to move into assisted living (Lillian Booth Actors' Fund Home) in Englewood back in October of 2007. The unmarried Dody was survived by several nieces and nephews.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Trade Mark (1)

Distinctive high-pitched voice

Trivia (10)

She was a devout Christian Scientist.
She never married.
She survived by 7 nieces and nephews; 11 great nieces and nephews; 15 great-great nieces and nephews.
She was a regular on Broadway in the 1940s and early 1950s.
Imogene Coca, with whom she had acted, steered her to comedy.
She came to New York City and danced in the ballet company of Radio City Music Hall and on Broadway.
She was known for obfuscating her age. Some reference books listed her age as 1929, 15 years younger than she was.
She lived at the Lillian Boothe Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey since October 2007.
Following her death, she was interred at Brookside Cemetery in Englewood, New Jersey.
Died on the same day as George Carlin.

Personal Quotes (2)

I just opened my mouth and people laughed.
I will do a dumb thing for fun. That's how I got the reputation for being dopey and dumb. I don't like dumb jokes but I will do dumb things for a laugh.

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