One more Irene Ryan mystery

ken8631
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/04
"I believe if I refuse to grow old
I will stay young till I die"

Thanks for the thread.

WestVillage
Broadway Star
joined:7/20/05
I attended the opening night performance of Pippin; I had to be about 15 or 16 years old, and was a huge Irene Ryan fan. John Rubenstein's account is correct ... she brought the house down after Time to Start Living ... I vividly remember her exiting the stage after the number to thunderous applause, and the applause kept going and going and going until she had to come out from the wings and take a bow. The audience cound't get enough of her. And yes, the opening night audience went wild on the "man who calls me Granny" line. It was truly an exhilerating night; I can't imagine any Broadway opening being more exciting.
Gypsy9
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/06
I saw PIPPIN shortly after it opened, with my family; I remember being happy that my hard to please father really liked it. Irene Ryan was wonderful, as was Ben Vereen and John Rubenstein.

The West Coast production is reviewed in today's New York Times. It is mostly positive.

For some reason I don't own the CD of PIPPIN. I will rectify that now.
"Madam Rose...and her daughter...Gypsy!"
AZActor
Swing
joined:10/7/10
I know I'm entering this conversation late, but I adore Irene Ryan's song from "Pippin" and the older I get the more I love it. I had heard the stories you've all recounted about her death.
This is what Wikipedia has to say, and it seems to cover the "collapsed during Pippen and taken to California" scenario:
In April 1973, Ryan suffered a stroke during a performance of Pippin. Earlier in the year, her friend and fellow Beverly Hillbillies cast member, Nancy Kulp, had tried to persuade her not to go to New York for the musical. She had been diagnosed with a brain tumor some time previously, but reportedly was never made aware of it. Several days after she fell ill, Irene Ryan died on April 26, 1973. She was 70. Pallbearers at Ryan's California funeral included Hillbillies co-stars Buddy Ebsen and Max Baer, Jr., along with Beverly Hillbillies creator Paul Henning. The funeral was also attended by Donna Douglas, Harriet E. McGibbon, Louie Nye, and others associated with the series. Her body was interred in a mausoleum crypt at the Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica, California, beside her sister, Anna Thompson.

I have a video of a television production of "Pippin" with Martha Raye as Berthe; she's good (and the song is great) but she's not Irene Ryan.

The attached link is to a site that has the audio, but not the video, of the song.

Brooke
Irene Ryan's song from Pippin
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
You know, there are plenty of people who were involved with the original PIPPIN who could be contacted for their recollections of the event. Michael Rupert was playing the title role and he Twitters up a storm. Jill Clayburgh is still very active on stage
and the same applies to Priscilla Lopez. If this matter means so much to you, why don't you contact them and get their take on what happened?
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
You know, maybe if you weren't such a nasty cooze all the time you'd realize that this thread is two years old.
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
And you still haven't contacted those people? What are you waiting for?
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Barbour Pole
Swing
joined:10/7/10
'nasty cooze' is hilarious
Paul W. Thompson
Broadway Legend
joined:11/29/07
Is it true that the October 14, 2010 episode of "30 Rock" included a reference about this? I'm telling you, it just keeps going! For the record, let me state what we think we know for sure: Miss Ryan did not die onstage at the Imperial, she died in California.

That being said: I started this thread two years ago, and I have the utmost respect for Miss Ryan and for "Pippin." And no, I have never contacted anyone involved in the production itself. In fact, two years ago (those pre-Facebook days) I never dreamed I could. However, I did uncover an old Yahoo posting from John Rubinstein, which I took to be legitimate.

If anyone knows someone who was there, behind the scenes, that would be great if they could let us know what they remember. But I bet my bottom dollar that no one at the time really knew the whole truth, out of respect for her stardom and her privacy. And that, IMHO, lead to the creation of the urban legends we've all heard, fueled of course by her posthumous Tony nomination and by the song she sang so immortally.
CockeyedOptimist2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/10/10
It is true that there was a reference on 30 Rock last night. I wasn't around here 2 years ago when everyone was first discussing this, but read through it all the other day and found it all fascinating. Can't help with any info but the 30 Rock reference. Sorry.

The reference was something like this: Jenna was mad that Tracy decided to use the live format to break character and she never broke character. She said something like, "I was in Pippin when Irene Ryan died and I just kept performing."
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
And it made me wonder if someone at 30 Rock doesn't read this board.

Too perfect that Jenna (Who lies about everything) would claim to have been onstage during this non-existent event.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
Reginald Tresilian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/12/08
It would have been REALLY funny if they'd referred to someone as a "nasty cooze."
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
And can we have Jack say that, please?
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
twinbelters
Broadway Legend
joined:1/6/10
This thread is a riot. I like Rubenstein's testimony. It makes sense.

Reminds me about the myth of Walt Disney's cryogenic resting place. So many details at the time fired the public's imagination.
With Irma you gotta do something!
Idiot
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/10
Oh, Phyllis. You had me at 'nasty cooze'.
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Does anyone know the whereabouts of Ryan Idol at the time?
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10

"What is the truth vs. rumor about the 1973 death of Ryrene Rydol?"

-- Scooby-Doo
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
3bluenight
Stand-by
joined:8/10/11
hey, i just discovered this post as well.

just wanted to answer a question that was posted, like, years ago.

the bob fosse edit of the katt/rivera pippin does include the song "I Guess I'll Miss the Man" and the floating head.
Namaste
WOSQ
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/03
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 9/28/11 at 03:22pm
Irene Ryan's crypt is shared with one "Anna Thompson 1885-1966" and the marble nameplate has both individuals on the same piece.

Ms. Ryan's name appears on top as "Irene 'Granny' Ryan 1902-1973" and then underneath is carved the above data for Ms. Thompson.

Anna Thompson died first, yet logic dictates that the marker was made later after Ms. Ryan's death.

I don't know anything so I am not even saying anything.

Check it out on findagrave.com which is one of the more fascinating and slightly macabre sites out there.

"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
NoName3
Leading Actor
joined:8/12/11
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 9/28/11 at 07:02pm
According to Wikipedia, Ryan was twice divorced and Thompson was her sister. (Of course, as someone once said, "I have known strange errors in that publication.")
ChiChi
Broadway Legend
joined:8/8/04
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 9/28/11 at 09:06pm
I've always loved how she sounds on the cast recording. So cute.
Gypsy - Betty Buckley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUN5XoB5vFs&feature=youtu.be
Paul W. Thompson
Broadway Legend
joined:11/29/07
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 10/18/11 at 01:46pm
Here is my BroadwayWorld review of the off-Loop production that just opened in Chicago last weekend. The show is extremely timely and relevant now!

http://chicago.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Reviews-Bohos-PIPPIN-Does-The-Magic-At-Theater-Wit-20111018
lovebwy
Broadway Star
joined:4/22/12
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 2/20/13 at 05:56pm
"I attended the opening night performance of Pippin; I had to be about 15 or 16 years old, and was a huge Irene Ryan fan. John Rubenstein's account is correct ... she brought the house down after Time to Start Living ... I vividly remember her exiting the stage after the number to thunderous applause, and the applause kept going and going and going until she had to come out from the wings and take a bow. The audience cound't get enough of her. And yes, the opening night audience went wild on the "man who calls me Granny" line. It was truly an exhilerating night; I can't imagine any Broadway opening being more exciting."

This post made me cry. What a beautiful evening that must have been for Miss Ryan and all who attended. I noticed in the Martha Raye version the "Granny" line is taken out.

What a shame there is no video of Irene Ryan doing that song. I'd give my right eye to see it.

Updated On: 2/20/13 at 05:56 PM
goldenboy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/05
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 2/21/13 at 12:38am
you would seriously give your right eye to see it??
bradactor
Swing
joined:11/23/10
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 2/21/13 at 05:33am
This was posted way back and I found it in my hotmail folders:
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.musicals
From: ship...@aol.com (Shipshe)
Date: 1996/08/15
Subject: Answering PIPPIN questions

To set the record straight on several of the questions in a recent string:
The PIPPIN video was made in Canada expressly as a video, although it was
performed in front of an audience because there was so much "relating" to
the audience in that show. The video cast never toured or did the show
anywhere else. There was no album ever released as far as I know.
Someone put a "?" after Eric Berry's name, who played my pop Charlemagne
in the original company. He ws a very distinguished British actor who died
just about two years ago out here in California. He played his role for
the full five-year run on Broadway, and then did the entire National Tour.
PIPPIN bought him his country house and his beloved dog. One of the scary
joys of doing the show was the suspense about what he would actually say
during his number "War Is A Science"!!
Dear Irene Ryan did NOT die during a performance. Nor did she finish her
contract. Here's the true story:
Irene was lonely in New York City. She missed her life and her friends in
LA where she had lived for many years, and the cold winter and the
eight-show schedule undermined her spirit somewhat. But, trouper that she
was, she never missed a performance. However, I started to notice that she
was beginning to look weak, or listless. I sat and watched her big number
on stage every night, and I saw that she began to cut down on her moves,
and to generally diminish the amazing energy that she would normally put
out every time (on opening night, she stopped the show cold, and I had to
stand there for about eight minutes waiting for the applause to die down
before I could go on!). One Saturday matinee, she looked particularly
drained, and I got worried that she might be sick. I was having dinner
with Fosse at my house between shows; so I went to Ben Vereen and asked
him to contact Stuart Ostrow (the producer) and have him come to the
evening show, and I would ask Bob to do the same. I told Bob that I
thought perhaps Irene needed a vacation, even though contractually she
didn't have one coming for some months; it might do her good to go to
California for a while, and then finish up her contract when the weather
was warmer. Bob said he'd take a look at her in the next day or two.
When I returned to the Imperial for the evening show, the call had just
come through from Kennedy airport: Irene was on a plane to Los Angeles.
She had had her bags packed before the matinee, and right after the show,
with the help of Walter Willison, my friend and standby, she had left for
the airport right after the afternoon performance. Her standby, Lucie
Lancaster, went on that night, and then continued to play the part until
Dorothy Stickney took over some weeks later.
Irene, upon landing in LA, was taken right to the hospital, diagnosed with
malnutrition!! We all called and sent her cards and love and wishes to get
better fast, but she basically wasted away over the next few days. I
belive she actually died about three days later of some kind of heart
failure.
I have always thought that her behavior was like that of an old cat, who
curls up under the bed and goes to sleep and just doesn't wake up. Irene
knew (either consciously or not) that it was her "time". She stuck with
her job as long as she could, and then, without fanfare, went home to die.
bradactor
Swing
joined:11/23/10
One more Irene Ryan mystery
Posted: 2/21/13 at 05:36am
The message I posted was from a reply by John Rubenstein, the original Pippin in the musical. He use to post on the google group rec.arts.theatre.musicals as Shipshe
Hope this message helps answer the question posed.

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