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Fran Mary Ryan (November 29, 1916 – January 15, 2000) was an American character actress featured in television and films. She was born in Los Angeles, California.

Fran Ryan
Fran Ryan actor.jpg
Frances Mary Ryan

(1916-11-29)November 29, 1916
DiedJanuary 15, 2000(2000-01-15) (aged 83)
Years active1922–1993


Ryan began performing at the age of six at Oakland's Henry Duffy Theatre. She attended Stanford University for three years, and during World War II was a member of the USO entertaining troops.[1] She performed comedy, singing and acting on stage in California and Chicago, and launched her television career two decades later. Her television debut came in episode 43 of Batman, in 1966, followed by a bit part in Beverly Hillbillies. She also appeared in a 1972 episode of Columbo, Dagger of the Mind, as "uncredited woman at the airport."

Ryan's first supporting cast television role was as Aggie Thompson in the first several episodes of The Doris Day Show. The same season, she was offered the replacement role on the series Green Acres as Doris Ziffel from 1969 to 1971. Ryan replaced Barbara Pepper, who was in poor health and died five months later of heart ailments on July 18, 1969. Ryan also starred on the long-running TV Western series Gunsmoke during its 20th and final season as Miss Hannah (Cobb). In 1987, she reprised the role of Miss Hannah in the TV movie Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge.

Ryan played the role of Rosie Carlson in the soap opera Days of Our Lives (1976–1979) and Sister Agatha in General Hospital in 1989. She also did voices for cartoons such as Hong Kong Phooey, Mister T, and Little Dracula. Fran starred on some TV shows for children, such as Sigmund and the Sea Monsters in 1975 as Gertrude Grouch, the 1970s children's show New Zoo Revue as Ms. Goodbody, the 1980s TV series No Soap, Radio as Mrs. Belmont, and the short-lived 1980s CBS TV series The Wizard as Tillie Russell from 1986 to 1987. Her last regular TV role was on The Dave Thomas Comedy Show.

Ryan also appeared in a series of commercials for Hungry Jack biscuits beginning in 1975.

She appeared in many feature films, including Big Wednesday (1978), as Frank and Jesse James' mother in The Long Riders (1980), Take This Job and Shove It (1981), Pale Rider (1985), Chances Are (1989), and a cameo appearance in 1981's Stripes, as a cab fare to Bill Murray as the cabbie, in the opening scenes of the film. Ryan made many guest appearances on TV shows, including Batman (episode 43), Adam-12, CHiPs, Quantum Leap, Night Court, Taxi, Baywatch, and The Commish.

Personal lifeEdit

Fran's first husband, Walter Kenneth Wayne (whom she married in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1949), died in a plane crash, in a plane he was piloting in January 1951, while Fran was pregnant with their first and only child. She gave birth to their son, Christopher, in April 1951. Fran remarried in January 1953 to Howard Schafer. Howard, too, perished in a plane crash in Oregon in May 1953 in a plane he was piloting. The wreckage of Howard's plane was not discovered until 15 years later in November 1968. The remains of Howard and his passengers were never found. All that was found at the crash site was a woman's shoe, four combs, and two pair of eyeglasses.


Ryan died on January 15, 2000, at age 83. She is buried in the family plot, alongside her mother Mary, at the Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery, Hayward, California.[2][3]


Year Title Role Notes
1965 Mickey One Homeless Woman (uncredited)
1970 Scream, Evelyn, Scream! The Old Woman
1971 Scandalous John Farm Woman
1971 The Million Dollar Duck Mrs. Purdham (uncredited)
1974 How to Seduce a Woman Mrs. Toklas
1975 The Apple Dumpling Gang Mrs. Stockley
1976 Family Plot Registrar Clerk (uncredited)
1978 Straight Time Cafe Owner
1978 Big Wednesday Lucy
1978 The Great Brain Aunt Bertha
1979 Rocky II Adrian's Nurse
1980 The Long Riders Mrs. Zerelda Cole Samuel
1981 Americana Colonel
1981 Take This Job and Shove It Mrs. Hinkle
1981 Circle of Power Marie Davis
1981 Stripes Dowager in Cab
1981 Christmas Mountain Flora
1982 Shoot the Moon Judge (uncredited)
1982 Savannah Smiles Farmer Wilma
1982 Flush Belle Chance
1983 Tough Enough Gert Long
1983 Private School Miss Dutchbok
1983 Eyes of Fire Calvin's Wife
1985 The Sure Thing Lady in Car
1985 Pale Rider Ma Blankenship
1985 Rebel Love Granny Plug
1986 Stewardess School Fainting Lady
1986 Quiet Cool Ma
1988 Lucky Stiff Ma
1989 Out Cold Arlene
1989 Chances Are Mavis Talmadge
1993 Suture Mrs. Lucerne


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Batman Chairlady Episode: "The Greatest Mother of Them All"
1967 The Second Hundred Years Mrs. Sanders Episode: "No Experience Necessary"
1968 The Beverly Hillbillies Mrs. Meek Episode: "The Housekeeper"
1968 The Doris Day Show Aggie Thompson 10 episodes
1969 Daniel Boone Mrs. Jones Episode: "Love and Equity"
1969 Marcus Welby, M.D. Nurse Prifogle Episode: "A Matter of Humanities"
1969 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Rosie Episode: "The Wonderful Old Saloon"
1969 The Bill Cosby Show Mrs. Beal Episode: "Rules Is Rules"
1969 Adam-12 Mrs. Killian Episode: "Log 142: As High as You Are"
1970 I Dream of Jeannie Switchboard Operator Episode: "One of Our Hotels Is Growing"
1970 The Brady Bunch Mrs. Hunsaker Episode: "To Move or Not to Move"
1970 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Edna Episode: "Trial of a PFC"
1970 Men at Law Mrs. Kenton Episode: "Where Were We, Waldo?"
1970 The Partridge Family 1st Wife Episode: "My Son, the Feminist"
1969-1971 Green Acres Doris Ziffel / Minnie Holcombe 7 episodes
1971 Night Gallery Third Witch (segment "Witches' Feast") Episode: "Death in the Family/The Merciful/Class of '99/Witches' Feast"
1971 The Jimmy Stewart Show Laundry Manager Episode: "Guest of Honor"
1972 Nichols Minnie Dowd Episode: "About Jesse James"
1972 McCloud Nurse Episode: "Give My Regrets to Broadway"
1972 Bonanza Widow Lucas Episode: "A Visit to Upright"
1972 Return to Peyton Place Dr. Helen Randall
1972 Ironside Charge Nurse Episode: "Five Days in the Death of Sgt. Brown"
1972 New Zoo Revue Ms. Goodbody
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors E.R. Nurse Episode: "A Very Strange Triangle"
1972 Columbo Woman at Airport (uncredited) Episode: "Dagger of the Mind"
1973 The New Dick Van Dyke Show Mom Episode: "Exit Laughing"
1974 Hog Wild Flora TV movie
1974 Hong Kong Phooey voice
1974 Devlin voices
1973-1974 Sigmund and the Sea Monsters Gertrude 5 episodes
1972-1975 Gunsmoke Hannah / Mrs. Keller 6 episodes
1975 The Family Holvak Mavis Bidwell Episode: "The Long Way Home: Part 2"
1975 The Rookies Ma Burker Episode: "Ladies Day"
1976 Good Heavens Ma Buckingham Episode: "See Jane Run"
1976 The Quest Mag Wood Episode: "Seventy-Two Hours"
1976 Stalk the Wild Child Ellen Mott TV movie
1976 Visions Martha Stedman Episode: "Liza's Pioneer Diary"
1977 Panic in Echo Park TV movie
1977 Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Miss Adeline Jeeter 15 episodes
1977 Barney Miller Mrs. Hirsch, Homeless Woman Episode: "Corporation"
1977 James at 16 Woman Construction Worker Episode: "Higher Ground"
1977 Deadly Game Frieda Beezly TV Movie
1977-1978 One Day at a Time Episodes: "The Dress Designer" (1978) as Eve
"Julie's Operation" (1977) as Nurse
1978 The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams Gerty Episode: "The Great Burro Race"
1976-1978 Starsky & Hutch Landlady / Miss Bycroft / Stella 3 episodes
1978 CHiPs Nancy / Lady Driver Episodes: "Trick or Trick" as Nancy
"Surf's Up" as Lady Driver
1977-1978 Charlie's Angels Belle Asher / Nurse Fager 2 episodes
1979 How the West Was Won Mrs. Holmes Episode: "Hillary"
1978-1979 Carter Country Martha Episode: " The Big Move: Part 2" (1979) as Martha
"Roy's Separation" (1978)
1979 Salvage 1 Melba Episode: "Confederate Gold"
1976-1979 Days of Our Lives Rosie Carlson 7 episodes
1979 Who's on Call? Nurse Bremer Episode: "Pilot"
1979 Goldie and the Boxer Cook TV movie
1980 When the Whistle Blows May Episode: "Wildcatters"
1981 The Dukes of Hazzard Ma Harper Episode: "Duke vs. Duke"
1981 The Waltons Eula Mae Moonie Episode: "The Hostage"
1981 The Adventures of Nellie Bly Mrs. Roman TV movie
1982 Father Murphy Toby's Mom Episode: "Eighty-Eight Keys to Happiness"
1982 Benson Molly Emerson "Clayton's Condo"
1982 Taxi Mrs. Elizabeth Weber Episode: "Elegant Iggy"
1982 No Soap, Radio Mrs. Belmont 5 Episodes
1982 Life of the Party: The Story of Beatrice Beatrice's Mother TV movie
1982 Johnny Belinda Aunt Aggie McAdam TV movie
1983 Laverne & Shirley Mother Superior Episode: "The Monastery Show"
1983 It Takes Two Bridget Episode: "Mother and Child Reunion"
1983 The Optimist Matron Episode: "Healthy Body, Unhealthy Mind"
1983 Ghost Dancing Judge TV movie
1983 Mister T voice
1983 Matt Houston Maggie Episode: "Marilyn"
1983 Falcon Crest Cass Episode: "Solitary Confinements"
1983 Manimal Sadie Bethune Episode: "Night of the Beast"
1983-1984 Three's Company Grace / Hilda 2 episodes
1984 The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D. Millie Clark TV movie
1984 The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries Additional voices Episode: "Happy Birthday, Scooby-Doo"
1984 Hill Street Blues Mary Minot Episode: "The Rise and Fall of Paul the Wall"
1985 Hollywood Wives Nina Carrolle TV miniseries
1985 Hell Town Mother Maggie TV movie
1985 Punky Brewster Isabelle Peavey Episode: "Love Thy Neighbor"
1986 Amazing Stories Mrs. Abbott Episode: "The Sitter"
1986 Hardcastle and McCormick Mrs. Vassah Episode: "In the Eye of the Beholder"
1986 The Colbys Helen Webster Episode: "Anniversary Waltz"
1974-1986 The Magical World of Disney Flora / Mrs. Langendorf 3 episodes
1986 Brothers Mrs. Murphy Episode: "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go"
1986-1987 The Wizard Tillie Russell 19 episodes
1987 The New Mike Hammer Mike's New Secretary Episode: "A Blinding Fear"
1987 Highway to Heaven Lil Episodes: "Man's Best Friend: Part 1 and 2"
1987 Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge Hannah TV movie
1987 Webster Lt. Col. Howard Episode: "Grab Bag"
1987 Houston Knights Minnie Elizabeth Lundy Episode: "Secrets"
1988 Mr. Belvedere Mrs. Deferschmidt Episode: "Duel"
1988 Murphy Brown The Asp Episode: "Nowhere to Run"
1989 Murder, She Wrote Rose Mulligan Episode: "The Sins of Castle Cove"
1989 Matlock Doris Curtis Episode: "The Priest"
1989 Nick Knight Jeannie TV movie
1990 Empty Nest Mrs. Kramer Episode: "Take My Mom, Please"
1990 Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again Miss Grundy TV movie
1990 The Dave Thomas Comedy Show Fran 5 episodes
1990 Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers School Teacher / Camembert Kate 2 episodes
1987-1990 Night Court Miss Crombie / Ethel La Rue 3 episodes
1990 Quantum Leap Dorothy Jaeger Episode: "The Boogieman - October 31, 1964"
1990 Over My Dead Body Building Manager Episode: "Pilot"
1990 Thanksgiving Day Lois TV movie
1990 The New Adam-12 Ida Collins Episode: "Blue Avengers"
1990 Davis Rules Miss Catworthy Episode: "Mission: Improbable"
1991 Little Dracula Hannah the Barbarian (voice)
1991 Baywatch Tillie McCabe Episode: "Thin or Die"
1991 Homefront Sister Theophane Episode: "Sinners Reconciled"
1992 Tiny Toon Adventures Grandma Duff (voice) Episode: "Grandma's Dead"
1993 River of Rage: The Taking of Maggie Keene Hattie Clandell TV movie
1993 The Commish Doris Episode: "Dying Affection"


  1. ^ "Fran Ryan; Character Actress, Voice-Over Artist". Los Angeles Times. January 28, 2000. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  2. ^ Holy Sepulchre Cemetery profile Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Fran Ryan". Find a Grave. September 11, 2002.

External linksEdit