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Arlene Golonka (born January 23, 1939) is an American actress. She is perhaps best known for playing Millie Swanson on the television comedies The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D., and often portrayed bubbly, eccentric blondes in supporting character roles on stage, film, and television.often prostitutes. She relocated to Los Angeles in the late 60s. There, while continuing to play small roles on the big screen, she established one of the strongest resumes in television of any character actress, appearing in dozens of programs over the following three decades, often repeatedly on the same program and sometimes playing different characters. Her TV appearances included such legendary programs as "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970), "All in the Family" (1971) and "M*A*S*H" (1972). Her best-known recurring performance as the same character is probably "Millie" on "Mayberry R.F.D." (1968). Golonka has largely retired from television work but continues to take roles in feature films occasionally. Golonka was born in Chicago, Illinois. She began her acting career when she was 11 years old, and went professional in a summer-stock troupe while still in her teens. After studying at the prestigious Goodman Theatre in her native Chicago, she made her way to New York City, aged 22, where she studied with Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner and Uta Hagen.
She appeared in her first major production, The Night Circus with Ben Gazzara, at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut on November 17, 1958. After a week-long trial run, the play moved to Broadway on December 2, 1958 but closed after only seven performances. Despite that setback, she continued working in other plays such as Take Me Along with Jackie Gleason, Walter Pidgeon and Robert Morse (448 performances from late 1958 to late 1960), Neil Simon`s first Broadway play, Come Blow Your Horn, which ran 677 performances from February 1961 until October 1962, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest, starring Kirk Douglas, from November 1963 until January 1964. Golonka appeared in two other Broadway plays from 1965 to 1966, and also took on supporting roles in films produced in the New York City area.
Golonka also appeared on record, in a well-received comedy album called You Don`t Have to be Jewish, in 1965. When the time came to record its sequel, When You`re in Love the Whole World is Jewish, she was unavailable, but encouraged her roommate, aspiring actress Valerie Harper, to audition to take her place. Though not Jewish herself, Harper won the role, and spent much of her subsequent career playing Jewish characters (most notably Rhoda Morgenstern, from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her own spinoff Rhoda). In 1967 Golonka moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at television. She eventually became a familiar face to millions, having made numerous TV appearances including: Get Smart, I Spy, That Girl, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Cannon, Maude, The Andy Griffith Show, Alice, The Rockford Files, One Day at a Time, Taxi, Murder, She Wrote, Valerie, and Matlock. In addition to acting on Broadway and TV, Golonka has also had supporting roles in some 30 films. Now semi-retired in Santa Monica, California, she takes occasional roles, most recently a 2005 appearance on the TV comedy series The King of Queens.
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Arlene Golonka (born January 23, 1936) is an American actress. She is perhaps best known for playing Millie Swanson on the television comedies The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D., and often portrayed bubbly, eccentric blondes in supporting character roles on stage, film, and television.
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