Conchata Ferrell, who played the lovable, no-nonsense, wisecracking live-in housekeeper Berta on Two and a Half Men has died at the age of 77. The actress died following complications of cardiac arrest.
Conchata Ferrell — A Life Well Lived
Deadline reports she passed away at Sherman Oaks Hospital, surrounded by family.
“She was a beautiful human,” Two and a Half Men Emmy-winner Jon Cryer posted on Twitter. “Berta’s gruff exterior was an invention of the writers. Chatty’s warmth and vulnerability were her real strengths. I’m crying for the woman I’ll miss, and the joy she brought so many.”
While Two and a Half Men made Ferrell a household name and a weekly fixture for years in people’s homes, she appeared in several series and films, amassing 131 credits to her resume.
Born March 28, 1943, in Charleston, West Virginia, Ferrell attended West Virginia University and Marshall University, earning a degree in social studies education. She was drawn to the theater and appeared in the off-Broadway production of Hot L Baltimore. Norman Lear brought the series to television, alas, it was a rare miss for the esteemed TV producer/creator.
Ferrell’s TV debut was actually on the Norman Lear-created series Maude. She played a woman named Rita Valdez and was poised to take over as Maude’s (Bea Arthur) maid after Florida (Esther Rolle) left her employ, but Rita only appeared in the lone episode.
Ferrell’s resume would go on to read like a “Who’s Who” of TV series. She appeared on One Day at a Time, The Rockford Files, Good Times, The Love Boat, and The Misadventures of Sherriff Lobo.
In 1980, Ferrell appeared in a memorable two-part episode of Knots Landing as Mrs. Mesinger, mother to a woman, who falsely accused Sid Fairgate (Don Murray) of rape. Other credits include B.J. and the Bear, Lou Grant, Cagney & Lacey, and St. Elsewhere.
Ferrell appeared on a medical series titled E/R that starred George Clooney, but this wasn’t the drama from the 1990s, but rather a sitcom that aired for one season, 1984-85. The actress played the part of Nurse Joan Thor. (In 2001, Ferrell guested on ER, the drama.)
Additional credits include Night Court, and Who’s the Boss. From 1991-92, Ferrell recurred as attorney Susan Bloom on L.A. Law. Her portrayal of Susan won her a Primetime Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1992. For three years in the 1990s, she appeared as a regular on the sitcom Hearts Afire.
As Berta on Two and a Half Men, Ferrell scored two Primetime Emmy nominations in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She appeared on the Chuck Lorre-created series throughout its entire run from 2003-2015.
Ferrell brought Berta to life, playing her gruff, but lovable. Stern, but thoughtful. She didn’t let Charlie (Charlie Sheen), Alan (Jon Cryer), or Jake (Angus T. Jones) get away with much. In the series final years, when Ashton Kutcher joined the cast as Walden, Berta couldn’t help but find her new boss attractive!
On the big screen, Ferrell appeared in the movies Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts and the Oscar-winning film Network (1976). Her last listed credit is the TV film Deported, set for release April 2021. Ferrell is survived by a husband Arnie Anderson, and a daughter, Samantha. Entertainment Hub sends sincere condolences to Ferrell’s family at this difficult time.
I remember her first day on 2 1/2 Men. It was our second episode and I felt so lucky that they’d been able to cast her on the show. I gushed to her about what a fan i was of hers and she simply refused to believe it.
— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) October 13, 2020