Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cheerio Meredith

Now there's a name for a Bit Actress...Cheerio Meredith (1890 - 1964). Cheerio started acting on the stage, but moved into film in 1944. Her career on the screen lasted 20 more years.

Of her 51 titles on IMDb, only ten were motion pictures, the rest of her work on the screen was in television, which she did well. Her first two movies, A Fig Leaf for Eve (1944) and The Fat Man (1951) were forgettable films where she had small roles. But in 1955 she became a regular on "The Ames Brothers Show" and that would have been enough to start a TV career. You will recognize her because she was almost always the 'old lady,' the 'landlady,' or aunt something.

Cheerio had appearances on many of the early shows in the 1950s. She was on "Studio 57," "Father Knows Best," "The Millionaire," and even had a guest spot on "The Johnny Carson Show" in 1955, long before he reinvented "The Tonight Show" in 1962.

She continued working through the late 1950s in -
"The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"
"The Adventures of Jim Bowie"
"The Gale Storm Show"
"December Bride"
"77 Sunset Strip"
"The Jack Benny Program"
"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"

Plus, she appeared in a small role in Gidget (1959) as the nosy woman.

And into the 1960s in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" and "Pete and Gladys." Finally, another regular spot on "One Happy Family" that only lasted one happy season. She also had a recurring role as Emma (either Emma Brand or Emma Watson) on "The Andy Griffith Show."


In 1962 she plays an old maid in a toothpaste commercial in The Three Stooges in Orbit. Sorry, but after  Moe Howard (1897 - 1975) hit 65 years old, the Three Stooges went downhill fast. Larry Fine (1902 - 1975) was also 60 years old, and we won't talk about Joe DiRita (1909 - 1993).


More wonderful TV guests spots for Cheerio in the mid 1960s -
"The Donna Reed Show"
"Hawaiian Eye"
"McHale's Navy"
"Petticoat Junction"
"Burke's Law"
"The Dick Van Dyke Show"

In fact, she was on both of my all time favorite television shows with Andy Griffith (b. 1926) and Dick Van Dyke (b. 1925). It doesn't get any better than that.

The final film for Cheerio Meredith was Sex and the Single Girl in 1964. Look for her near the end of the film, in the chase scene. She is seated next to Burt Mustin (1884 - 1977) in an antique car. Cheerio died the same day Sex and the Single Girl was released, December 25, 1964.

20 comments:

  1. I think I remember in one of her Andy Griffith Show's episodes her being a moonshiner.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, basura, but that may have been another actress. Cheerio played Emma, one of Aunt Bee's friends. Her biggest episode was when Elinor Donahue came to the series as the new pharmacist, Ellie. Emma was a hypochondriac and Ellie refused to give her pills without a prescription.

      You may be thinking of Gladys Hurlbut or Charity Grace from the episode "Alcohol and Old Lace" which aired in 1961. Here's a photo I found -
      http://tinyurl.com/7m6ctpp

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  2. Oops, I didn't realize I didn't leave my name when commenting.

    Rich

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  3. Yep, you're right, I got the episodes mixed up.

    Emma sure liked her sugar pills :-)

    I happened to look up Elinor Donahue recently (after watching an Odd Couple) and it smacked me in my head that if she's 75 I must be really old.

    Rich

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  4. Allen, I had no idea this actress's name was Cheerio Meredith but I'd know that face anywhere. She was everywhere to be seen on TV once upon a time aka/the '60s. I've seen "Gidget" nearly a zillion times and had forgotten Cheerio was in it 'til I saw your mention of "the nosy woman." She was one of a kind.

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    1. Thanks, Eve. Cherio was something! I was watching "The Cheyenne Show" marathon on Encore Westerns today. I haven't seen her yet, but I wouldn't be surprised!

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  5. She was my great aunt. She was the older sister of my paternal grandmother, Catherine Elaine Hoffman Schmidt of KC, MO. Thanks for remembering her. She was also on Bonanza as an Irish mother who does a jig.

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    1. Thanks for writing in. It is always nice to hear from family. I always watched Bonanza and I believe I remember that episode, 'The Auld Sod' from 1962. I'll have to watch for it on Encore Westerns.

      My blog is dedicated to honoring the actors who have brought so much to movies and TV, without really becoming famous. Cheerio doesn't need remembering because a look at her picture brings back the memories. She does need to be recognized and celebrated for what she did.

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    2. Are there any early photos of her as a younger girl?

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    3. Well, not that I can easily find. Cheerio was born in 1890 and her first film was released in 1944, so she was 54 years old when she started working in Hollywood.

      Your only hope is old family albums that maybe someone saved. She was born Lucile Hoffman in Missouri. I suppose a lot of research may turn up a yearbook picture. I don't even know her town.

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  6. On Andy Griffith I don't think she was the moonshiner, instead, I think she was the shoplifter in the department store. Barney dressed up as a mannequin. Andy of course ended up cathcing her because "Old lady's oughtn't to clank".

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  7. jim, the shoplifter lady was another actress..

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    1. Sorry, Randy and Jim, but I couldn't figure out who the shoplifter was or which episode. I seem to remember seeing it, but there are too many to completely check!

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  8. Replies
    1. Yes, Randy, she was married to Conde Thompson Mosley until his death in February 1949. They had three children, according to IMDb.

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    2. There were four. Josef, LuAnne, Suzette, and Gene

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. The deleted reply is below. It included an e-mail address, so the name "Anonymous" would have been an oxymoron.

      "Yes, she is my great grandmother. We have wonderful head shots and publicity shots of her. She bore three children - two boys and a girl..."

      I don't know if the last two posts from Anonymous are from the same person, but one says 4 children (with names) and the other agrees to three children.

      There is also a mention of a YouTube video about Suzette Meredith Hayes, Cheerio's daughter. Go to the YouTube site and search for "Suzette Meredith Hayes Tribute" to view it. It is worth the effort. There are quite a few publicity stills, but I can't find any info on her as an actress. (I am working on it!)

      Thanks again, Anon. If I can get your reply to my private e-mail, I will try to clear up some confusion.

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  10. By the way, Cheerio Meredith's real family name was Hoffman and it has been around since 1240.

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  11. Hello

    I am a distant cousin of Cheerio. Her mom was Jessie A. Davis. Jessie's father was Alexander Davis, who was my 3rd great uncle. Alexander and my 3rd great grandfather John Adams Davis were brothers. John was a baptist minister.

    Here's a group I started on facebook of the first known Davis ancestor.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/248668365325714/

    I appreciate everyone sharing the information here as well. And according to the 1930 census for Los Angeles County, CA. It listed Lucille (Cheerio) as divorced, and having 4 children, Luanne, Eugene (Robert), Josef, and Suzette.

    Thank you, Rick Darby

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