Skip to main content

Alice Ghostley Materials

Identifier: MC 1846

Scope and Content Note

The Alice Ghostley Materials contain correspondence, family materials, photographs, audio visual material, and books.


  • 1916-2009


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Alice Margaret Ghostley was born August 14, 1923, to Harry and Edna Rooney Ghostley in Eve, Missouri. The Ghostley’s moved to Siloam Springs, Benton County, Arkansas until the death of her father in 1933. The family then moved to Henryetta, Oklahoma where she finished high school. With the encouragement of a high school teacher, Ghostley became interested in acting. After graduating high school in 1941, she was accepted to the University of Oklahoma for drama. Ghostley eventually left college and moved to New York City in the mid 1940s with her sister Gladys to pursue a career in acting. After moving to New York City, Alice and Gladys started the act of The Ghostley Sisters. The act was short lived, though, and Alice soon moved to Broadway. Ghostley met fellow actor Felice Orlandi at the beginning of her career, and the two were married in 1953 in Connecticut. Orlandi died from lung cancer May 21, 2003, in Burbank, California.

Ghostley received recognition for her debut on Broadway in New Faces in 1952. Ghostley performed in and was nominated for several awards, and received a Tony award for her role in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window in 1965. Ghostley moved to television and had a recurring role as Esmeralda, a quirky witch who had constant trouble with spells and causing chaos on Bewitched, from 1966 to 1972. Ghostley was also known for her role on as ditsy Bernice on Designing Women from 1986 to 1993. Additionally, Ghostley appeared in films such as, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Graduate, and Grease. Ghostley passed away from colon cancer in Los Angeles, California on September 21, 2007. Ghostley's ashes are buried next to her sister Gladys, her husband, and her parents in Oak Hill Cemetery in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.


8.83 Linear Feet (5 boxes and 1 item)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged by topic.

Acquisition Information

The Alice Ghostley Materials were donated to the Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, on August 11, 2009 by John Graham of San Francisco, California.

Additional materials (Boxes 2-5 and Item 1) were donated in September 2016 by Graham's partner, John De Amicis of San Francisco, California.

Related Materials

See also the following related collections:

MC 1846aAlice Ghostley Papers

Processing Information

Processed by Jordan Frankenburger; completed February 2012.

An additional donation of materials (Boxes 2-5 and Item 1) was processed and integrated into the collection by Katrina Windon, with assistance from Elysa Barton; completed January 2021.



Alice Ghostley Materials
Jordan Frankenburger
February 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444