Dody Goodman

Active - 1963 - 1992  |   Born - Oct 28, 1914 in Columbus, Ohio, United States  |   Died - Jun 22, 2008 in Englewood, NJ  |   Genres - Comedy

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American actress/dancer Dody Goodman gained a measure of newspaper column space for her dancing solos in such '40s Broadway musicals as High Button Shoes and Wonderful Town. Adopting the guise of a fey airhead, Goodman was good for a few off-the-wall quotes whenever she submitted to an interview. She came to the attention of nighttime talkshow host Jack Paar, who after becoming enchanted by Goodman's ditzy persona and seemingly spontaneous malaprops, invited the lady to become a semi-regular on The Tonight Show. As Goodman's fame grew, she became difficult to handle on the show, and Paar wasn't happy with her upstaging habits. Commenting on another guest one evening, Paar quipped "Give them enough rope." "And they'll skip!" ad-libbed Goodman brightly. Dropped summarily by Paar in 1958, Goodman spent the next decade showing up on other talk programs, game shows and summer stock as a "professional celebrity." Goodman staged a comeback in 1976 as Louise Lasser's mother on the TV soap opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. After this, Dody Goodman's career gained momentum with regular appearances on TV's Diff'rent Strokes, movie roles (Grease [1978]) and cartoon voiceover work (The Chipmunk's Adventure [1987]). She died in 2008 at the age of 93.

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  • After high school, moved to New York to study dance at the School of American Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School.
  • Made stage debut as a dancer with the corps de ballet of Radio City Music Hall.
  • Danced in Broadway musicals such as High Button Shoes, Call Me Madam and The Matchmaker before landing her first speaking part in Wonderful Town; her costar, Imogene Coca, encouraged her to pursue comedy.
  • In 1957, Jack Paar invited her to appear regularly on his new television program, The Tonight Show, but let her go a year later for upstaging him.
  • Appeared as the high-school secretary in Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982); also appeared in the Broadway revival of Grease in the 1990s.