This red-haired stand-up comedienne and comedy actress honed her writing skills by creating her own original sketches, first as a determined contestant in the Miss Alabama contest (which she finally w...
Hired by Allen Funt as a writer and later a cast regular for "Candid Camera" in the 1960s; moved to the West Coast with the show and stayed with it for five years
Played 'Mike' Preston on "The New Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS)
New York stage debut in "Just For Openers" at the Upstairs at the Downstairs
Had small role in feature film "Grease"
Published second novel "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe"
Broadway debut, as Miss Mona in the musical "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
Was a cast regular on the syndicated revival of "Candid Camera"
Made appearances as a panelist on TV quiz show, "Match Game"
Played Cassie Bowman on the NBC sitcom "Harper Valley P.T.A./Harper Valley"
Panelist on TV quiz show, "Liar's Club"
Entered the Miss Alabama contest as a teen, performing her own comedy material in the talent competition; took the crown after six attempts
Published first novel "Coming Attractions"
Stage debut as the maid in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at the Town and Gown Theatre, Birmingham, AL
Screenwriting debut, "Fried Green Tomatoes", adapted from her novel; script co-written with Carol Sobieski; earned Oscar nomination
This red-haired stand-up comedienne and comedy actress honed her writing skills by creating her own original sketches, first as a determined contestant in the Miss Alabama contest (which she finally won on her sixth attempt) and later in comedy clubs. In the 1960s, Fannie Flagg (born Patricia Neal) was hired as a writer for Allen Funt's "Candid Camera" and later became a regular performer on that show and its 1970s revival as well as on "The New Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS, 1971-73), as Van Dyke's manager and "Harper Valley P.T.A./Harper Valley" (NBC, 1981-82), as Barbara Eden's sidekick. She also appeared in the two-hour TV movie pilot for "Wonder Woman" (ABC, 1975) and was a constant presence on such TV game shows as "Password", "The Match Game" and "Liar's Club". Flagg made her film acting debut in "Five Easy Pieces" (1970), as the wife of Billy 'Green' Bush, and subsequently appeared in "Stay Hungry" (1975), "Rabbit Test" and "Grease" (both 1978).<p> Having begun her career as a novelist with "Coming Attractions" (1981), Flagg wrote the popular "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe", published in 1987. In 1991, with the collaboration of screenwriter Carol Sobieski, she turned the novel into the film "Fried Green Tomatoes". A gently feminist portrait of two women growing up in the Depression-era rural South, the film (which excised the lesbian content of the book) was a huge popular hit and netted Flagg an Oscar nomination for her screenwriting debut. Her TV writing resumed in 1987 when her own Southern background helped Flagg write material for Dolly Parton's ABC variety series "Dolly".
Marion Leona Neal
University of Alabama in Birmingham
Flagg won two first-place awards in fiction at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.