Merie Earle (born Goldie Merie Ireland; May 13, 1889 – November 4, 1984) was an American actress. She is perhaps best remembered for playing Maude Gormley in the television series The Waltons from 1972 to 1979.
Life and career
Born Goldie Merie Ireland in Morrow, Ohio, Merie Earle grew up in the Columbus area where she enjoyed singing and dancing as a child. Following her marriage she moved to New York City with her husband, who was an engineer for the New York Central. Upon her husband’s retirement, the couple relocated to La Crescenta, California, to be closer to their daughter. She was discovered by an agent while performing in a play at a Methodist church.
Beginning her professional career late in life, Earle’s first jobs included ads for Polaroid.
In 1967 she made her feature film debut in Fitzwilly starring Dick Van Dyke. Her screen credits included Gaily, Gaily (1969), In Name Only, Dr. Max (1974,) Crazy Mama (1975,) Fatso (1980,) and Going Ape (1981.) She was a regular on the TV series The Jerry Reed When You're Hot You're Hot Hour in 1972 and The Waltons from 1972-79 as Maude Gormley. Earle also appeared in the made-for-TV movie The Last of the Good Guys in 1978.
Scheduled to make her Broadway debut, at age 88, in a revival of Paul Zindel’s Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds in 1978, Earle suffered a fractured hip during the show’s initial run in La Jolla, California and withdrew from the production prior to its New York premiere. She guest starred on many notable television series including Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, Alice, Phyllis, and Whiz Kids.
In her eighties and nineties, she was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Merie Earle died aged 95 on November 4, 1984, in Glendale, California, of uremia poisoning following surgery for colon cancer, having outlived both her husband and her daughter.
She was interred at Green Lawn Cemetery in her home town of Columbus, Ohio.
- Whiz Kids (1983)
- Alice (1983)
- Small & Frye (1983)
- Likely Stories, Vol. 3 (1983)
- The Powers of Matthew Starr (1982)
- Love Boat (1981)
- CBS Children’s Mystery Theater (1981)
- Laverne & Shirley (1981)
- Happy Days (1980)
- WKRP in Cincinnati (1980)
- 240-Robert (1979)
- Stockard Channing in Just Friends (1979)
- The Waltons (1972–1979)
- CPO Sharkey (1977–1978)
- Quincy, M.E. (1978)
- All In The Family (1977)
- Phyllis (1977)
- ABC After School Specials (1976)
- The Bob Newhart Show (1974–1975)
- Apple’s Way (1974)
- The Jerry Reed When You’re Hot You’re Hot Hour (1972)
- Green Acres (1967–1970)
- Love, American Style (1970)
- Bewitched (1970)
- Bonanza (1969)
- The Beverly Hillbillies (1968)
- Petticoat Junction (1967) season 5, episode 1: Is This My Daughter