Conchata Ferrell, Emmy-nominated Actress and Marshall Graduate, Dies

Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
Conchata Ferrell, Emmy-nominated Actress and Marshall Graduate, Dies
D. Smith

One of the Marshall University graduates who slowly made a national name for herself in theater and film, Conchata "Chatty"  Ferrell, passed away Monday in Los Angeles from complications from cardiac arrest. She was 77.

 

Best known for her roles in "Two and a Half Men" and "Hot'L Baltimore“, Ferrell, attended both Marshall University and West Virginia University where she majored in history education, but auditioned for several parts in the theater department. She was cast by associate theater professor Chuck Billings as a “Mama Cass type,” the role changed Ferrell’s life," wrote Carter Seaton in Huntington Quarterly. Dr. Elaine Novak also cast her in "Interview.

According to Seaton , the role was in second Barfenon Review, a skit comedy and musical production presented during what was known as Impact Week. [image 2

“At the first laugh that came rolling across the footlights, my pores opened, and I felt like I came home,” Ferrell told Seaton. 

Although she auditioned for "The Women," she was not cast.  Dr. Elaine Novak cast her in "Interview." 

Novak remembered "Chatty". She is quoted in an unknown publication as stating that the young actress came and asked about her chunky weight.

"She said she was going to go on a diet an lose 50 pounds. I [told her] Don't you realize you are much more castable at your current weight? You're unique a you are now," predicting a quick rise to success.

"Chatty is a definite type. There is her size, her  pretty face, and her nice speaking voice. There are thousands of pretty little 18-year olds trying to make it in New York, but Chatty has a special something," Novak said. 

After graduation, she went to New York in the late 60s and became a part of what would be a  Huntington contingent of Circle Repertory Theatre, which included Michael Fesenmeier and Brad Dourif. In 1973 she was cast as April Greene, an overweight prostitute in the off-Broadway production of "HotL Baltimore." She played Greene in the short lived Norman Lear tv series.

Charlie Sheen, her "Two and a Half Men" co-star tweeted, "“An absolute sweetheart, a consummate pro, a genuine friend. Berta, your housekeeping was a tad suspect, your ‘people’ keeping was perfect.”

James Morris Smith, MU theater technical director, worked with her during a 1978 guest in MU's "Tobacco Road" , and saw her during his L.A. internship that same year. "She was a kind lady. Always glad to see a face from MU."

Conchata Ferrell, Emmy-nominated Actress and Marshall Graduate, Dies
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