So sad that Ann Morgan Guilbert has passed away at 87.
Guilbert, whose first TV appearance was on My Three Sons in 1961, was the inimitable Millie Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) and the equally inimitable Yetta Rosenberg on The Nanny (1993-1999), the latter of which was a role in which Guilbert was virtually unrecognizable.
Some of Guilbert's other memorable TV roles—she worked right up until her death from cancer—included a lethal spinster on the black-comic “How to Get Rid of Your Wife” episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1963), recurring roles on The Fanelli Boys (1990-1991) and Picket Fences (1992-1994), the drily matter-of-fact retirement-villa denizen Evelyn on Seinfeld (1991 & 1996) and the stone-silent Birdy Lamb on HBO's Getting On (2013-2015).
In 2010, Oscar buzz swirled around Guilbert's masterful performance in Please Give, in which she played an elderly woman living in an apartment owned by a couple who bought it banking on her imminent death. If you haven't seen this Sundance film, do.
Guilbert's career was launched in the Billy Barnes Revues in the 1950s, and drew to a close with two appearances on the Colin Hanks series Life in Pieces (2016), which had been compared unfavorably to Modern Family ... but that's okay, because she appeared on that show, too, in 2013.
The Dick Van Dyke Show should be noted for the longevity of quite a few of its primary cast members. Counting the Petries, the Helpers and the office crew, we still have with us: Carl Reiner, 94; Rose Marie, 92; Dick Van Dyke, 90; Mary Tyler Moore, 79; and Larry Mathews, 60. Morey Amsterdam died in 1996 at 87; Richard Deacon died of a heart attack at just 63 in 1984; and Jerry Paris died of cancer at just 60 in 1986. I'm unaware of any other classic TV show whose (large!) central cast lived to such ripe old ages. Compare and contrast with Bewitched (1964-1972), from which we only have Bernard (Dr. Bombay) Fox, 89; and the kids: Erin Murphy, 52; and David Mandel-Bloch, 47.
I feel so sad about Annie. 💔🙏🏽😢She was brilliant os my Grandma Yetta. Such a sweet woman too. pic.twitter.com/4BLQ9GLOL3— Fran Drescher (@frandrescher) June 16, 2016
She recently did an autograph-show appearance and was reported to be very nice to her fans.
Trivia: Guilbert was the mother of actress Hallie Todd, who played Blanche's slutty niece on The Golden Girls and the mom on Disney Channel's Lizzie McGuire!