After the cancellation of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962), she was offered a starring role in a proposed TV series in which she would have played a character similar to that of Granny. Despite her interest in the idea of doing a new series, she decided to put the project on hold so that she could fulfill her dream of performing on Broadway. Ultimately, the proposed TV series never came into fruition, since her death in 1973 ended any chances of it being produced.
Commonly thought to have been born in El Paso, Texas, Irene was actually born in San Francisco, California. This is proven by personal records closer to the family, and census records. Though she may never have known it, Irene was a 3rd cousin once removed to another actress, Mary Castle, (born Mary Ann Noblett). Both had common ancestral roots in the Noblet - Noblitt - Noblett family of Appalachian Georgia and North Carolina, reaching back to Quaker immigrants from Ireland to Pennsylvania, and from Ireland to a centuries-long line of French lords named Noblet and Noblette.
Had no surviving relatives; with an estate worth over $1 million, she decided to start the Irene Ryan Foundation for theatre aspirants.
Her gravestone has the name Granny on it.
Interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California, USA.
Radio: Co-starred on NBC Radio's [i]The Bob Hope Show[/i]. [1948-1950]
Since 1972, college thespians have competed annually for the prestigious Irene Ryan Scholarships (started by the Irene Ryan Foundation) at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Toured with Bob Hope's USO troupe during World War II.
When she didn't have her Granny make-up on, she often went unrecognized on the streets.