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Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice (1982)

This made-for-television movie is a dramatization of the life of the founder of Los Angeles's first alcoholic recovery center for women, Beatrice O'Reilly.


Lamont Johnson


Mitzie Welch
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carol Burnett ... Beatrice O'Reilly
Lloyd Bridges ... Johnny O'Reilly
Marian Mercer ... Rita
Geoffrey Lewis ... Captain Charley Rawlins
Conchata Ferrell ... Captain Burnsite
Gail Strickland ... Abbie
Rose Arrick Rose Arrick ... Kay
Sarina C. Grant Sarina C. Grant ... Mary Lou Brown
Tom Bower ... Tom
Ford Rainey ... Beatrice's Father
Fran Ryan ... Beatrice's Mother
Macon McCalman ... Dr. Samuels
Anne Seymour ... Mrs. Cunningham
Linda Redfearn ... Jessie
Eve McVeagh Eve McVeagh ... Mrs. Rugolo


This made-for-television movie is a dramatization of the life of the founder of Los Angeles's first alcoholic recovery center for women, Beatrice O'Reilly.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama







Release Date:

29 September 1982 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although the character Carol Burnett plays, Beatrice O'Reilly, is presented as a real-life person, the character is indeed fictional. See more »


In a scene set in the early 1940's, a large Holiday Inn motel - a chain that didn't go into business until 1952 - can be seen at the end of an amusement pier. See more »

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User Reviews

Remarkable Carol Burnett
10 June 2018 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Carol Burnett plays it straight in this film. She plays a falling-down drunk named Beatrice O'Reilly. The film opens with her being released from the local drunk tank after she's been booked for public drunkenness. Her husband (Lloyd Bridges) picks her up and the first thing she does, after promising to never drink again, is to find a hidden bottle of hooch she's stashed away.

It's 1943 and her family from Texas visits as one of the sons is off to war. Already drunk as she prepares the meal, she walks in and slops the platter of food on the floor. She picks it up and serves it anyway.

On another night, she's quarreled with the husband and gone out to a bar where she's picked up by a sailor. He passes out as she careens around town. Eventually she opens the door and shoves him out onto the ground.

She spends time in a sanitarium to dry out and goes right back to drinking when she gets home. Eventually she's so sick and jittery she can't function. While the husband is out of town for work, she breaks down and calls AA for help.

The road back is not an easy one for Beatrice, but she has the help of an AA worker (Marian Mercer) and local cops (Geoffrey Lewis, Conchata Ferrell) who help her open a "recovery house" for alcoholic women. Her salvation comes through helping others.

Burnett is terrific. She did some great work in TV movies like FRIENDLY FIRE, THE TENTH MONTH, BETWEEN FRIENDS, and this ranks as one of her best performances. Co-stars are all good but this is Burnett's film all the way.

Hard to find, but worth the effort.

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