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Conchata Ferrell (March 28, 1943 – October 12, 2020) was an American actor best known for her portrayal of Berta the housekeeper on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. Ferrell’s performance as Berta, which ran for the full 12 seasons of the series, garnered her two nominations (2005 and 2007) for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Ferrell had a long career on the stage, and appeared in episodes of several classic television shows, as well as major films including Network (1976), Mystic Pizza (1988) Edward Scissorhands (1990), and Erin Brockovich (2000)

Born in Loudendale, Kanawha County, Ferrell later moved with her family to Circleville, Ohio. She attended West Virginia University for two years to study law; however, after deciding against a law career she relocated to Circleville, where she worked odd jobs until resuming her studies at Marshall University to pursue a degree in History Education. In 1969, while at Marshall, Ferrell was cast in the Barfenon Review, a sketch and musical comedy production.

After graduating, Ferrell moved to New York City and joined the famed, then-new Circle Repertory Company (originally the Circle Theater Company), which had been founded in 1969. She was cast in the highly-praised and award-winning original Off-Broadway run of playwright Lanford Wilson’s The Hot l Baltimore, directed by CRC founding director Marshall W. Mason. She also appeared in producer Norman Lear’s 1975 adaptation of Wilson’s play for a television sitcom. Her performance Off-Broadway in The Sea Horse in 1974 netted Ferrell the Drama Desk, Obie and Theatre World Best Actress Awards.

For the next 50 years Ferrell enjoyed a busy acting career, with guest appearances in such television series as Maude, The Rockford Files, Good Times, Knots Landing, St. Elsewhere, E/R, Murder, She Wrote, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 1992 Ferrell was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as entertainment lawyer Susan Bloom in L.A. Law.

In 1986 Ferrell married Arnie Anderson, a sound mixer, with whom she had a daughter Samantha (born 1982), and two stepdaughters.

Following a cardiac arrest in 2020, Ferrell died on October 12 at the Sherman Oaks Hospital in Sherman Oaks, California, at the age of 77. Ferrell’s 12-season run as Berta the housekeeper in Two and a Half Men had made her a favorite among fans of the hugely popular sitcom, as well as her fellow actors. When Ferrell passed, Two and a Half Men costars Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer posted tributes to her on Twitter: Sheen called Ferrell “an absolute sweetheart [and] a consummate pro,” while Cryer wrote, “Berta’s gruff exterior was an invention of the writers. Chatty’s warmth and vulnerability were her real strengths.”

Ferrell is buried in Circleville Ohio, in Forest Cemetery.

This Article was written by Eric Waggoner

Last Revised on November 16, 2021


Sources

Andreeva, Nellie. “Conchata Ferrell Dies: Former Two and a Half Men Costar was 77.”. Deadline, October 13, 2020. https://deadline.com/2020/10/conchata-ferrell-dead-two-and-a-half-men-co-star-77-1234596750/.

“Conchata Ferrell.”. Film Reference http://www.filmreference.com/film/91/Conchata-Ferrell.html.

"Conchata Ferrell". Huntington Quarterly, 70, March 13, 2016. https://huntingtonquarterly.com/2018/09/26/issue-70-conchata-ferrell/.

McNamara, Mary. “Appreciation: Conchata Ferrell was the kind of actor you wanted to see in everything.”. Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-10-13/conchata-ferrell-dead-the-kind-of-actor-you-wanted-to-see-in-everything.

Stewart, Susan. "Heavyweight Attorney". Chicago Tribune, November 9, 1991. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1991-11-07-9104100198-story.html.

Cite This Article

Waggoner, Eric "Conchata Ferrell ." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 16 November 2021. Web. 24 September 2022.

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