Imagine seeing Granny Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies in a mink fur coat, driving around Beverly Hills in a brand new 1964 Shelby Cobra. You can’t picture that, right? It would have never happened because being “flashy and expensive” wasn’t Granny’s style.
It wasn’t Irene Ryan’s style, either. Ryan was the perfect actress for the role, and she never shied away from telling the world that it was a dream to portray the character.
There were a lot of similarities between the two, and one of the most obvious was that they dressed alike. In 1964, the Roanoke Times and World-News wrote an article titled “Irene Ryan: Easter’s Worst Dressed.” Yes, you read that correctly.
The actress did an Easter Sunday tour of Marineland of the Pacific, and instead of “looking like a glamorous celebrity,” she wore her “everyday ensemble.”
“I’m a female sad-sack, and I don’t care who knows it,” Ryan said, according to the newspaper.
She also headlined the Easter Parade, and critics called her “possibly one of the worst-dressed performers in show business.” Ryan had a career full of unglamorous roles in “unfashionable clothes.”
Yet, those words didn’t affect the actress or her personal style in any way. “It goes without saying that I’m probably the garment industry’s worst friend,” she said. “I’ve always played plain Jane parts, little old spinsters and scullery maids.”
Ryan was asked why she never switched to mink furs and sweaters on The Beverly Hillbillies or in real life. She replied, “That would be like trying to flag down a super Chief with a burnt-out match.”
Heavy Army boots, forgettable dresses and undistinguished suits were her style, and she stayed the same even on Sundays. “My Sunday go-to meetin’ get up is original rummage sale, and it’s a little nicer.”