Bibi Osterwald

Margaret Virginia "Bibi" Osterwald (February 3, 1920 – January 2, 2002) was an American actress.

Bibi Osterwald
Margaret Virginia Osterwald

(1920-02-03)February 3, 1920[1]
DiedJanuary 2, 2002(2002-01-02) (aged 81)
Years active1944–2002
Spouse(s)Justin Arndt (m. 1951–2002; her death)

Life and careerEdit

Osterwald was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey,[2] the daughter of Dagmar (Kvastad) and Rudolf August Osterwald, a hotel owner.[3][4]

As a student, Osterwald appeared in the Catholic University semi-pro revue in Washington, D.C., in August 1942.[4] She gained acting experience in five years of work in summer stock theatre in Rockville, Maryland.[5] She starred in Ten Nights in a Barroom at the Willard Hotel for 8 weeks starting in mid-August 1943. She then pursued a career on the New York stage. The Central Opera House [NYC], seating 2000, introduced Osterwald leading in Broken Hearts of Broadway in June 1944. "Miss Osterwald is on Broadway as one of the outstanding participants in 'Sing Out, Sweet Land.' What is more, next to stars Alfred Drake and Burl Ives, she has received the loudest praise of those critics who saw the play out of town. Its road tour Included Hartford, Boston and Philadelphia." -December 28, 1944.[citation needed]

Osterwald went on to appear in such Broadway shows as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bus Stop, and The Golden Apple, for which she won an Outer Critics Circle Award in 1953.[6]

Starting in the late 1940s, Osterwald began appearing on television, continuing to do so through the end of 2001. She was best known for her television role of Stella O'Brien, the cranky housekeeper for the Hathaway family on the soap opera, Where the Heart Is in the 1970s and also as Mrs. Sophie Steinberg, the mother of David Birney and mother-in-law of Meredith Baxter on the comedy series, Bridget Loves Bernie.[7]:136 In 1982, she originated the role of Nanny McTavish, Holly Sutton's long-time confidante, on General Hospital. Her other roles included Mrs. Nakamura on The Absent-Minded Professor (1988).[7] She was also a regular on The S.S. Holiday (1950),[7]:1008 The Imogene Coca Show (1954),[7]:499 Captain Billy's Showboat (1948)[7]:159 and Front Row Center (1949).[7]:370

In the years just prior to her death in 2002, she was a voice actress for the cartoon series Rugrats. She also appeared in several films, including Parrish (1961), The World of Henry Orient (1964) (in which she had the role of Erica "Boothy" Booth), A Fine Madness (1966), Bank Shot (1974), Caddyshack II (1988) and As Good as It Gets (1997).[citation needed]

Outside of acting, she was a frequent participant on the Ben Bagley's Revisited series of famous pop composers including albums of rarities by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart Vol.2 and Frank Loesser. Osterwald was a practicing Catholic and a registered Republican.[4]

On January 2, 2002, Osterwald died of a lung ailment in Burbank, California, at age 81.[8]


Year Title Role Notes
1961 Parrish Rosie
1964 The World of Henry Orient Erica Booth
1966 A Fine Madness Mrs. Fitzgerald
1967 The Tiger Makes Out Mrs. Ratner
1974 Bank Shot Mums Gornik
1977 The Great Smokey Roadblock Annie McCarigle
1978 The Great Bank Hoax Sara Pennysworth
1988 Moving Crystal Butterworth
1988 Caddyshack II Mrs. Pierpont
1994 Angie Dr. Gould's Nurse
1996 The Paper Brigade Widow Hansen
1996 The Glimmer Man Woman In Ovington Arms
1997 As Good as It Gets Neighbor Woman


  1. ^ "Actress Bibi Osterwald, Original Dolly Standby, Is Dead at 81". Playbill. January 14, 2002.
  2. ^ Lentz, Harris M., III (2008). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2002: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. pp. 227–228. ISBN 9780786452071. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  3. ^ "Bibi Osterwald Biography". Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c An Interview With Bibi Osterwald, Skip E. Lowe, 1992
  5. ^ Francis, Robert (June 18, 1944). "Candid Close-ups". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 21. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via
  6. ^ "Bibi Osterwald, 83, Stage and TV Actress". The New York Times. January 16, 2002.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  8. ^ "Bibi Osterwald, 83; Versatile Actress Had a 50-Year Career". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. January 31, 2002. p. 10. Retrieved March 24, 2019 – via

External linksEdit