Dody Goodman, whose ditzy comic persona was well known to patrons of theatre, film and television from the 1950s on, died June 22 at the Actors Fund Home in New Jersey, a spokesperson for the Fund confirmed. [...]Ms. Goodman was 92.
She first struck out in show business as a dancer, hoofing it through a series of 1940s Broadway musicals including Viva O'Brien, Something for the Boys, One Touch of Venus, Laffing Room Only and Miss Liberty (all as Dolores Goodman). The 1950s brought her Call Me Madam, Wonderful Town and My Darlin' Aida.. In 1955, she made a splash in Off Broadway's Shoestring Revue with the novelty song called "Someone's Been Sending Me Flowers" by Sheldon Harnick and David Baker.
Her airhead persona, buttressed by curly hair, wide childlike blue eyes and a long, loopy grin, attracted the attention of Jack Paar, then the host of "The Tonight Show." Beginning in 1957, he had Ms. Goodman on the show as a regular several times, in with she essentially played herself. She parlayed a distracted air, and a hesitant, befuddled delivery into laughter and soon became very popular with audiences. [...]
Fame and good fortune returned in the late '70s when she took on the role of Martha Shumway in the widely praised, if short-lived, mock soap opera "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," and made a much-commented-upon supporting turn in the film of "Grease." A semi-regular role on "Diff'rent Strokes" followed. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in an 1984 revival of Ah, Wilderness!. She also spent a great deal of time in productions of Nunsense and its sequels.
Monday, June 23, 2008