DCS: arlene golonka

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When she was a teenager, Arlene Golonka knew she wanted to be an actress. She appeared in small, summer stock productions in her native Chicago, before landing a role opposite Ben Gazzara in The Night Circus at a theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. After a successful run, the play headed to Broadway at the end of 1958… only to close after just seven performances. Still determined, Arlene went on to costar with Robert Morse and Jackie Gleason in 448 performances of Take Me Along. She followed that with a role in Neil Simon’s first Broadway production Come Blow Your Horn, which ran for 677 performances. Not one to rest, she landed a supporting role alongside Kirk Douglas in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1963.

Arlene was part of the ensemble cast of the popular comedy record You Don’t Have to Be Jewish. The recording — a compilation of comedy sketches — was a hit. When it came time to record a sequel, Arlene was not available to reprise her role. However, she recommended her roommate, an up-and-coming young actress named Valerie Harper.

Through the 60s, 70s and 80s, Arlene was an in-demand character actress, bringing her adorable, quirky personality to guest roles in sitcoms like That Girl, Get Smart, The Flying Nun and many others. While adept at comedy, Arlene was equally comfortable (and capable) at drama, showing her range in episodes of I Spy, Barnaby Jones and In The Heat of the Night. She played bakery worker “Millie,” a recurring character, in later episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. The part was expanded in Mayberry RFD, the Griffith Show‘s follow-up. In this series, she was paired up with star Ken Berry as his love interest… still behind the counter at the bakery.

Arlene appeared in over 30 theatrical films, including supporting roles with Henry Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Peter Falk, Natalie Wood, George Segal and Richard Pryor in his film debut.

With years of experience under her belt, Arlene began to teach acting in the 1980s and continued up until her death at age 85 in 2021.



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