Ellen Corby (a.k.a. - Mrs. Myrt " Hubcaps " Lesh)

This Biography was prepared for us by Dale Robinson.

This biography is on the lady who will always be remembered by TAGS fans as Myrt " Hubcaps " Lesh in Episode # 90, " Barney's First Car." Andy Griffith has often stated that this episode is his all-time favorite. As you recall, Barney buys a real lemon from the "sweet and kindly" Mrs. Lesh.

Ellen Corby was born Ellen Hansen, on June 3, 1913, in Racine, Wisconsin. She passed away on April 14, 1999. Ellen was raised in Philadelphia, PA. She had originally come to Hollywood as a young girl in the early 1930's, intending to become an actress. Instead, she was offered a job as a script girl in the movies and remained in that capacity for nearly 12 years, before finally turning to acting in the 1940's.

Her movie credits include the following :
1946 - The Dark Corner and It's A Wonderful Life;
1947 - Forever Amber;
1948 - I Remember Mama;
1949 - Little Women, The Dark Past and Madame Bovary;
1950 - Caged, Ma And Pa Kettle Go To Town and Harriet Craig;
1951 - Angels In The Outfield, On Moonlight Bay and The Mating Season;
1952 - The Big Trees and Fearless Fagan;
1953 - Monsoon and Shane;
1954 - About Mrs. Leslie and Sabrina;
1955 - Illegal; 1956 - All Mine To Give;
1958 - Macabre and Vertigo;
1960 - Visit To A Small Planet;
1961 - A Pocketful Of Miracles;
1963 - The Caretaker and 4 For Texas;
1964 - The Strangler;
1965 - Hush Hush ... Sweet Charlotte;
1966 - The Glass Bottom Boat and The Night Of The Grizzly;
1967 - The Gnome-Mobile and The Invaders;
1968 - The Legend Of Lylah Clare;
1969 - A Fine Pair;
1971 - Support Your Local Gunfighter
1972 - Napoleon And Samantha.

Ms. Corby's portrayal of Aunt Trina in 1948's, I Remember Mama earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Ellen Corby's most famous role, however, came on tv. From 1972 - 1979, she appeared as Esther ( Grandma ) Walton on the all-time favorite, The Waltons. She missed 18 months during 1976 and 1971, after suffering a stroke. Since then, she has returned for all of reunion specials and movies. In her portrayal of Grandma Walton, Ms. Corby has won three Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress In A Dramatic Series in 1973, 1975 and 1976. She was also nominated for this award in 1974 and 1977.

She was also a regular on Please Don't Eat The Daisies, as a maid named Martha O' Reilly, from 1965 - 1967. Her guest roles on tv, including specials, semi-regular roles and made for tv movies are many. They include the following :

Accidental Family
The Addams Family ( as Lurch's mother! )
Alias Mike Hercules
All The Way Home
The Andy Griffith Show
The Betty Hutton Show
The Bill Cosby Show
Dennis The Menace
The Donna Reed Show
Fair Exchange
The Farmer's Daughter
Four Star Playhouse
Frontier Circus
The Fugitive
G.E. Summer Originals
Get Smart
The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
The Graduation Dress
Holloway's Daughters
I Love Lucy
The Invaders
The Marriage Broker
McKeever And The Colonel
Meet McGraw
Mr. Terrific
Nanny And The Professor
On Trial
The People's Choice
The Phyllis Diller Show
The Roaring Twenties
The Restless Gun
Stars Over Hollywood
The Tab Hunter Show
Trackdown and Your Jeweler's Showcase.

Specials on the Walton's include : Mother's Day On Walton's Mountain, A Day For Thanks On Walton's Mountains, Wedding On Walton's Mountain, Homecoming : A Christmas Story, The Walton's : A Thanksgiving Story, A Decade Of The Walton's and the 1995 Walton's reunion show.

Quite a career for quite a lady!

Dale Robinson

Allan Newsome (Anewsome@aol.com)
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