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Irene Ryan, Granny of ‘Beverly Hillbillies’, Rose to Fame When She Was 11 | She Was in Showbiz Until Death
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Irene Ryan, Granny of ‘Beverly Hillbillies’, Rose to Fame When She Was 11 | She Was in Showbiz Until Death

Irene Ryan worked in vaudeville, radio, motion pictures, nightclubs and television before hitting stardom as Granny Clampett in all of the 274 episodes of 'Beverly Hillbillies'.

Cover Image Source: IMDb | Irene Ryan
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Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 29, 2022. It has since been updated.

Irene Ryan spent practically her entire life in show business. She acted until she died in 1973, at the age of 70. Born Irene Noblette on Oct 17, 1902, in El Paso, Texas, it didn't take long for Ryan to taste success in showbiz. Irene was all of eleven years old when she made her stage debut at the historic Valencia Theatre in San Francisco, receiving $3 for her rendition of Pretty Baby, according to New York Times. When she was 14, she lied about her age to get a job in a California stock company as she didn't want to continue after two years of high school. She worked there for four years before pursuing a career in showbiz. She met Tim Ryan while touring the state performing musical comedy and variety shows. They spent many years performing in vaudeville together and got married in 1922. 

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Not only was it the start of a 20-year marriage, but it was also the beginning of the two of them experiencing enormous professional success. They went on to create a radio show called Tim and Ryan and it soon became a nationwide favorite. Tim and Irene continued to work together in several films after their divorce in 1943. But it was the role of Granny Daisy Moses in Beverly Hillbillies that really got Ryan fame and fortune. However, she nearly missed out on being cast for the role.