Exhibits in Special Collections
(Reference Desk Glass Case, Mullins Library, Mullins Library)
This exhibit of photographs, playbills, and other memorabilia celebrates the life and career of Alice Ghostley, the Tony Award-winning actress and popular television and film star. Special Collections received the Alice Ghostley Materials (MC1846) in 2009.
Alice Margaret Ghostley was born August 14, 1923, to Harry and Edna Rooney Ghostley in Eve, Missouri. The Ghostleys moved to Siloam Springs, Benton County, Arkansas, where they lived until the death of her father in 1933. The family then moved to Henryetta, Oklahoma where she finished high school. With the encouragement of a high school teacher, Ghostley became interested in acting. After graduating high school in 1941, she was accepted to the University of Oklahoma for drama. Ghostley eventually left college and moved to New York City in the mid-1940s with her sister Gladys to pursue a career in acting. After moving to New York City, Alice and Gladys started the act of The Ghostley Sisters. The act was short lived, though, and Alice soon moved to Broadway. Ghostley met fellow actor Felice Orlandi at the beginning of her career, and the two were married in 1953 in Connecticut. Orlandi died from lung cancer May 21, 2003, in Burbank, California.
Ghostley received recognition for her debut on Broadway in New Faces in 1952. Ghostley performed in numerous plays, was nominated for several awards, and received a Tony award for her role in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window in 1965. Ghostley moved to television and had a recurring role as Esmeralda, a quirky witch who had constant trouble with spells and causing chaos on Bewitched, from 1966 to 1972. Ghostley was also known for her role on as ditsy Bernice on Designing Women from 1986 to 1993. Additionally, Ghostley appeared in films such as, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Graduate, and Grease. Ghostley passed away from colon cancer in Los Angeles, California on September 21, 2007. Ghostley's ashes are buried next to her sister Gladys, her husband, and her parents in Oak Hill Cemetery in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.