Hope Summers

This Biography was prepared for us by Dale Robinson.

This biography is about the lady who portrayed Aunt Bee's best friend and neighbor ( and classmate at Sweetbriar Normal School ), Clara Edwards, better known in real life as Hope Summers. Her character on The Andy Griffith Show went through a variety of names, such as Bertha Edwards and Clara Johnson before the producers finally settled on Clara Edwards.

Hope Summers was born in Mattoon, Illinois in 1901. She passed away on July 22, 1979. Ms. Summers loved and respected the art of acting. She received her degree at the Northwestern School Of Speech, in Evanston, Illinois. Later, she taught speech and diction at Northwestern. She also served as the head of the speech department at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. She shared the knowledge she gained, through decades of acting experiences, by holding private classes in Illinois and California.

In the early 1930's, she toured America with her one woman show, Backstage Of Broadway. Later, she operated two stock theaters back in Evanston.

In 1950, she made her way on television as Mrs. Catherwood in the comedy series, Hawkin's Falls, Population 6,200. From 1958 to 1963, many may remember her from her frequent appearances as Hattie Denton on the popular series, The Rifleman. From 1966 - 1967, she was Gigi on The Pruitts Of Southhampton. Her last regular role was in 1978's, Another Day. She had the role of Olive Gardner.

Ms. Summers also appeared in two comedy pilots. The first one, The Good Family, aired in 1949. She portrayed Mrs. Call. In the other pilot, 1969's The Flim-Flam Man, she guest-starred as Debbie Packard.

She made many guest appearances on other television shows as well. Her credits include :

Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The Beverly Hillbillies
Dennis The Menace
The Detective
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Little House On The Prairie
Love On A Rooftop
Mayberry R.F.D.
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
No Time For Sergeants
Petticoat Junction
That Girl
Wagon Train
Welcome Back Kotter
The Westerners

She also appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show - ( In the hilarious 1965 episode, Odd But True, she portrays a lady who claims that her dog hasn't eaten a thing in five years! ), M*A*S*H - ( a 1973 episode, The Trial Of Henry Blake ) and as Emily Boylan, in the 1974 made for TV movie, Death Sentence.

This accomplished actress also left her mark on many motion pictures as well.

Her film credits include :

1955 - Storm Fear
( her debut )
1957 - Zero Hour
1958 -
The Return Of Dracula
(TV title: The Curse of Dracula)
1958 - I Want To Live!
(with Susan Hayward)
1959 - Hound-Dog Man
1960 - Inherit The Wind
(The classic courtroom drama with Spencer Tracy and Frederic March
1961 - The Children's Hour, Parrish, Homicidal and Claudelle Inglish
1962 - The Couch and Rome Adventure
1963 - Spencer's Mountain
( from the creator of The Walton's, Earl Hamner )
1964 - One Man's Way
1965 - The Hallelujah Trail
(with Burt Lancaster )
1966 - The Ghost And Mr. Chicken ( with Don Knotts )
1968 - Rosemary's Baby
(as a devil worshipper!)
1968 - The Shakiest Gun In The West
(with Don Knotts)
1968 - Five Card Stud
( with Dean Martin )
1969 - The Learning Tree
1972 - Where Does It Hurt?
(starring Peter Sellers)
1972 - Get To Know Your Rabbit
(directed by Brian DePalma)
1973 - Charley Varrick
(with Walter Matthau)
1973 - Ace Eli And Rodger Of The Skies ( written by Steven Spielberg! )
1978 - Foul Play
( with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn )

I hope you've enjoyed this biography on Hope Summers. It was taken from an upcoming book that I co-wrote with my cousin, David Fernandes. The book is titled, "The Definitive Andy Griffith Show Reference." It is being published by McFarland Publishing Company in Jefferson, North Carolina.

Any comments or suggestions should be sent to me directly.


Dale Robinson

Allan Newsome (Anewsome@aol.com)
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