Conchata Ferrell, best known for her role as Berta the housekeeper on “Two and a Half Men,” died on Tuesday in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Warner Bros. Television confirmed. She was 77.
“We are saddened by the loss of Conchata Ferrell and are grateful for the years she brought us laughs as Berta which will live on forever,” Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind “Two and a Half Men,” tweeted.
Ferrell was hospitalized in May and spent more than four weeks in the ICU, where she went into cardiac arrest at one point. The actress was relocated to a long-term treatment center, where she was on a respirator and dialysis.
Ferrell was most recognized for playing Berta on all 12 seasons of “Two and a Half Men,” for which she received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations — in 2005 and 2007 — for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. She appeared in a total of 212 episodes from 2003 to 2015.
She talked to AV Club in 2014 about her role as Berta, which had originally been written as an Eastern European woman. Ferrell said she changed the character’s nationality to “trailer park” and though she wasn’t a Grateful Dead fan, she said, “I definitely was an old hippie. I was a political hippie.”
Conchata Galen Ferrell was born March 28, 1943 in Loudendale, West Virginia, near Charleston, the daughter of Mescal Loraine (née George) and Luther Martin Ferrell. She was raised in Charleston, West Virginia. Her family later moved to Circleville, Ohio.
She attended West Virginia University for two years, dropped out, and after working several jobs, enrolled and graduated from Marshall University with a degree in history education. She made her first onstage performance at Marshall in 1969 in the second Barfenon Review, a skit comedy and musical production.
Ferrell began her career on the stage as a member of the Circle Repertory Company. She appeared in the original Off-Broadway cast of Lanford Wilson’s The Hot l Baltimore and won the Drama Desk, Obie and Theatre World Best Actress Awards for her performance in the off-Broadway play The Sea Horse.
Acting on stage, television and film for decades, she may have originally been best known for her starring role as the frontier housekeeper in the 1979 feature film Heartland directed by Richard Pearce, and as the tough-talking owner of Mystic Pizza, co-starring alongside Lili Taylor, Annabeth Gish, and Julia Roberts, who portrayed pizza waitresses. She also played a tough, comical nurse on the short-lived 1980s TV sitcom E/R.
In 1992, she received her first Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her recurring role as Attorney Susan Bloom on the sixth season of L.A. Law, but lost to Valerie Mahaffey for Northern Exposure. She had previously appeared in an episode of the show in 1988 as Lorna Landsberg.
Ferrell’s supporting roles in films include performances in Deadly Hero, Network, Edward Scissorhands, Erin Brockovich, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia, Mr. Deeds and K-PAX as well as a small part in True Romance. Her other television credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hot L Baltimore, Teen Angel, Matlock, B. J. and the Bear, Good Times, Hearts Afire, Townies, Night Court, The Love Boat and Push, Nevada. She played Mrs. Werner in the episode of Quincy, M.E. titled “Into the Murdering Mind” (1982). She has also made memorable appearances portraying blunt, authoritative judges (The “Jagged Sledge” episode of Sledge Hammer! in 1987, and on “The One With Joey’s Porsche” episode of Friends in 1999).
She accepted a role in the off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore for an April 27 through May 29, 2011, run with Minka Kelly, AnnaLynne McCord, Anne Meara, and B. Smith.
Ferrell was best known for portraying Berta the Housekeeper in the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, appearing in a total of 212 episodes from 2003 to 2015. She had received two nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2005 and 2007, but lost to Doris Roberts for Everybody Loves Raymond and Jaime Pressly for My Name is Earl.
In 2012, she voiced the role of Bob’s Mom in Frankenweenie, which was directed by Tim Burton. She was slated to appear in the upcoming feature film “Deported” (2020), and had earlier acted in “A Very Nutty Christmas” (2018), a holiday themed television movie.
Personal life and death
Ferrell married Arnie Anderson in about 1986. She had a daughter, Samantha (born c. 1982), and two stepdaughters (born in c. 1976 and c. 1979).
Ferrell died on October 12, 2020, as a result of complications following cardiac arrest at the Sherman Oaks hospital in Sherman Oaks, California. She was 77 years old.