Monday, March 22, 2010

The Quicker Male Hater

The people in my generation have no idea who you are talking about when you mention the name Nancy Walker. However, if you say "The Bounty Lady from the 70s" we all know that you are talking about Rosie. Long before she was the spokesperson for Bounty, appearing as Rosie, the Diner waitress, Nancy Walker was a bonafide star. Though she was only four feet, ten inches tall and difficult to cast, she managed to land a role on Broadway in the 1941 show, Best Foot Forward. The role provided Walker with her film debut when a film version, starring Lucille Ball, was filmed in 1943. A subsequent appearance was in the MGM musical, Broadway Rhythm, in which she had a featured musical number, "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet".
She continued acting throughout the 1940s and 1950s and her appearances in musicals led to record releases. Soon after that came television guest appearances and recurring roles, providing her with steady work. Her career spanned five decades, and included comedies, dramas and television variety shows such as The Garry Moore Show and The Carol Burnett Show. In 1970, she secured a recurring role as Emily the housekeeper in the hit situation comedy Family Affair starring Brian Keith. Also that year, Walker made her first appearance playing Ida Morgenstern, the mother of Valerie Harper's Rhoda Morgenstern during the first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In 1974, when the MTM spinoff series, "Rhoda" premiered, Walker joined the cast as a regular. She was also a regular on the successful Rock Hudson detective series McMillan and Wife, playing Mildred. These two roles brought her seven Emmy Award nominations. She also tried her hand at directing which included episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda and Alice. In fact, she is the director responsible for the 1980 pseudo-autobiographical musical "Can't Stop the Music", which tells the tale of The Village People. The film was a box office failure but has since become a cult favorite. This was the only theatrical film ever directed by Walker. One of Walker's last major film roles was as the deaf maid, Yetta, in the 1976 all-star comedy spoof Murder by Death. She continued to remain active in show business until her death, playing Rosie in the Bounty commericals. She helped make the product's slogan, "The Quicker Picker Upper", a common catchphrase. Today, we pay tribute to that loveable little lady with her 1959 release, "I Hate Men". Backed by Sid Bass and his orchestra, it features such show tunes as "I'm Going to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" and "You Irritate Me So". I listened to this last week and it put a smile on my face. I hope it does the same to you. Enjoy!

Nancy Walker-I Hate Men


Muppet John said...

Wow. Her apperance on the Muppet Show was fantastic. I had no idea she directed the Village People movie!!!!

TIM said...

Her career was at it's height
during the 1970's: Rhoda, the
Bounty commercials, Family Affair
(in the last season), and McMillan
& Wife. I think the lowest of
her career came when she did two
awful attempts during her year
long absence from Rhoda for a
chance to star in her own sitcom:
Blankski's Beauties on ABC &
The Nancy Walker show on NBC.

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