Home / AMERICAN NEWS / Mary Grace Canfield, ‘Green Acres’ actress, dies at 89

Mary Grace Canfield, ‘Green Acres’ actress, dies at 89

“Green Acres” actress Mary Grace Canfield dies at 89

Veteran character actress, Mary Grace Canfield, famous for her role as half of the humorous Ralph-and-Alf Monroe brother-sister carpenter team on the television comedy Green Acres, died Saturday in a hospice in Santa Barbara, California.  She was 89.  Her daughter, Phoebe Alexiades, said the cause of death was lung cancer.

Canfield played Ralph Monroe.  The running gag on the sitcom was that she and her brother Alf, were always working on the bedroom of a couple of city slickers (portrayed by Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor) at their recently purchased albeit rundown farm near Hooterville.  Donning bib overalls and a painter’s cap worn backward (before rap music ever existed) she greeted people with a cheerful “howdy doody”.  Her character was an odd but homespun, plain-spoken girl who was doing “man’s work” before political correctness and the feminist movement made the phrase old-fashioned.

mary grace canfield

Mary Grace Canfield and Sid Melton as Ralph and Alf Monroe

In a 2006 interview with Maine’s Bangor Daily News Canfield reflected upon her part in the hit series that ran from 1965 to 1971.  She voiced her concerns: “To be remembered for Ralph kind of upsets me — only in the sense that it was so easy and undemanding.  It’s being known for something easy to do instead of something you worked hard to achieve.”

Indeed, Canfield, who was born in Rochester, New York on September 2, 1924, appeared in many other TV shows including “The Hathaways”, a 1961-62 comedy on which she played the housekeeper for an L.A. couple and their trio of performing chimps,   a four episode stint portraying Mrs. Kravitz on “Bewitched,” and she was also featured in a classic 1963 episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” in which she played Gomer Pyle’s blind date.  She also had roles on “General Hospital”, “The Love Boat” and numerous other programs.

Trained by well-known acting instructor Jason Deeter Canfield also appeared in several Broadway and off-Broadway plays before setting her sights on Hollywood.  There she secured roles as a not-so-angelic upstairs maid named Angelica the 1960 film Pollyanna and a seventh-grade teacher whose life is torn asunder by an evil traveling circus in the 1983 motion picture adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s tale “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.

Canfield, whose first marriage to Charles Carey ended with divorce in 1955, resided in Montecito, California from 1968 to 1984 when she relocated to Sedgwick, Maine.  Her daughter told the press Canfield fell in love with Maine during her various summer stock performances there years earlier.  With her health declining, however, she moved to Santa Barbara in 2011.

She is survived by her daughter Alexiades, John Bischof, her spouse of 25 years, daughter Alison Carey and three grandsons.

 (Image courtesy of SitcomsOnline)

“Green Acres” actress Mary Grace Canfield dies at 89

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.
  • Jack Meoff

    According to the article, Canfield had a daughter. Was the daughter adopted, or was Canfield artificially inseminated? I find it very hard to believe that someone actually f ucked her. (Unless the guy was blind, and even then, I doubt it!)

  • Will Phoenix

    Hi Jack,
    Yes, actually she had two daughters. I cannot speak to her sex life although she was on her second husband when she died. I was always under the impression the make-up folks always did their best to make her look less attractive because of the characters she played. Perhaps beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thanks for breaking up the profanity so we don’t get in trouble with the Google gods. And as always thanks for reading my stuff!