Nedra Volz

Nedra Volz (née Gordonier, June 18, 1908 – January 20, 2003) was an American actress. In television, she portrayed Aunt Iola on All in the Family, Adelaide Brubaker on Diff'rent Strokes, Emma Tisdale on The Dukes of Hazzard, and Winona Beck on Filthy Rich. Her roles in films include appearing as Big Ed in Lust in the Dust (1985), Loretta Houk in Moving Violations (1985), and Lana in Earth Girls Are Easy (1988).

Nedra Volz
Nedra Volz at the 39th Emmy Awards cropped.jpg
Volz at the 39th Emmy Awards, September 1987
Nedra Gordonier

(1908-06-18)June 18, 1908
DiedJanuary 20, 2003(2003-01-20) (aged 94)
Years active1973–1996
Lester Rhode
(m. 1931; div. 1942)

Oren Volz
(m. 1944; death 1987)

Early life and careerEdit

Born in Montrose, Iowa,[1] she began her career in the family tent show, appearing as a toddler (called "Baby Nedra"). The act continued until she was 11 years old and had outgrown the act's title. She unsuccessfully tried acting in high school, which led her to pursue music.[2]

In the early 1930s, Volz was featured vocalist with Cato's Vagabonds,[3] a Des Moines, Iowa, big band that briefly enjoyed national popularity. Cato never made records, but Volz managed to appear on exactly one 78 side, with Will Osborne's orchestra in 1933.[citation needed] In 1932, Volz and two other singers from Cato's orchestra performed as "Nedra, Paul, and Glenn" on WHAM radio in Rochester, New York.[4]

In 1940, Volz, described as a "blues songstress", was part of a vaudeville revue in Miami, Florida.[5]

Beginning with an episode of Good Times in 1975, she became a well-recognized supporting character actress, primarily on television and also in feature films. Volz often played grandmothers or feisty little old ladies, in 1970s sitcoms such as Alice, Maude and One Day at a Time, after she appeared in two of Norman Lear's summer television series: as Grandma Belle Durbin in A Year at the Top in 1977[6]:1201 and as Bill Macy's housekeeper Pinky Nolan in Hanging In in 1979.[6]:428 In 1978, Volz appeared in the pilot episode of the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati, where she whacked a turntable with her umbrella in protest of the station's format change, and in All In The Family as Edith's spinster relative and unwelcome visitor, Aunt Iola.

In 1980, she appeared in several Jack in the Box TV spots as they blew up Jack, one of more than 25 commercials that featured Volz.[2]

By 1980 she appeared on TV almost weekly, starting with a recurring role as housekeeper Adelaide Brubaker in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes.[6] In 1981 she landed another recurring role as Emma Tisdale on the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard.[6]:291 In the 1982–83 season, Volz was the matriarch on Filthy Rich,[6]:342 a series spoofing prime-time soap operas of the day. Volz's character Winona "Mother B" Beck, was the discarded first wife of cryogenically frozen Big Guy Beck (Slim Pickens and, after his death, Forrest Tucker), constantly trying to escape from the nursing home to return to the family mansion, Toad Hall. Volz's final series role was as the bail-bonds woman that hired Lee Majors' bounty-hunter character on The Fall Guy from 1985 until the series ended in 1986.

In "Mission of Peace", a 1986 episode of The A-Team, she was one of a group of senior citizens forced into asking the team for help. She portrayed the roles of Mrs. Perwinkle and Angelica on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show in 1989. She continued as a guest star on such series as Night Court, Coach, The Commish and Babes into the early 1990s, and she continued to act well into her eighties.

In Moving Violations, director Neil Israel allowed her to do many stunts herself, including being lifted into a window and falling head-first onto the floor. Volz's last acting role was in The Great White Hype in 1996.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Nedra's first husband, Lester Rhode, was a songwriter and director of Cato's Vagabonds orchestra; they later divorced. In 1944, at the age of 36, Nedra married Oren Volz. The marriage produced three children, Edward, Linda, and Barbara Lee Volz (1939–1992). Oren Volz died in 1987 after 43 years of marriage. Nedra later lived in Upland, California through the 1980s and 1990s. She was a volunteer Official Celebrity Spokesperson for D.A.R.E. in Ontario, California, before she relocated to Mesa, Arizona.


On January 20, 2003, Volz died of complications from Alzheimer's disease in Mesa, Arizona.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1973 Your Three Minutes Are Up Free Pass Lady
1977 Mule Feathers Clamity Jane
1979 10 Mrs. Kissell
1980 Little Miss Marker Mrs. Clancy
1983 National Lampoon's Movie Madness Old Lady - 'Growing Yourself'
1985 Lust in the Dust Big Ed
1985 Moving Violations Mrs. Loretta Houk
1988 Mortuary Academy Helen
1988 Earth Girls Are Easy Lana
1993 Betrayal of the Dove Opal Vaneck
1994 Il silenzio dei prosciutti Ranger's wife
1994 Dickwad Old Lady Short
1996 The Great White Hype Old Lady (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1975 They Only Come Out at Night Elderly woman Television film
1975 Good Times Old Lady Episode: Florida's Protest
1976 Rhoda Elderly woman Episode: Meet the Levys
1976–1977 Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Mrs. DeFarge / Barbie 19 episodes
Recurring role (Season 2)
1976–1982 One Day at a Time Mrs. Peabody / Emily 4 episodes
1977 The Tony Randall Show Mildred Piersen Episode: Democracy vs. Tyranny
1977 A Year at the Top Grandma Belle Durbin 5 episodes
Main cast (Season 1)
1977 Fernwood 2 Night Barbara Forman Episode: #1.30
1978–1980 Eight Is Enough Mrs. Yaterman 2 episodes
1978 Apple Pie Mrs. Cassidy Episode: Tornado
1978–1980 Alice Esther / Gambler 3 episodes
1978 All in the Family Aunt Iola Episode: Aunt Iola's Visit
1978 Maude Pinky Nolan Episode: Maude's Big Move: Part 3
1978 WKRP in Cincinnati Mrs. Burstyn Episode: Pilot: Part 2
1978 Carter Country Mrs. Forsythe Episode: Poor Butterfly
1979 Mr. Dugan Pinky Nolan Maude's spin-off never aired
1979 Angie Hostess Episode: Joyce's Job
1979 Hanging In Pinky Nolan 4 episodes
Main cast (Season 1)
1979 The Baxters Helen Lawson Episode: Victims of Inflation
1980–1984 Diff'rent Strokes Adelaide Brubaker 22 episodes
Recurring role (Seasons 2–4) Guest star (Season 6)
1980 Condominium Mrs. Conlaw Television film
1980 Quincy M.E. Gladys Episode: T.K.O.
1980 The Stockard Channing Show Mother Clyde Episode: Susan's Big Break
1980 Gridlock Mrs. Felcher Television film
1980–1984 The Dukes of Hazzard Miz Emma Tisdale 13 episodes
Recurring role (Seasons 3–5) Guest star (Season 7)
1981 Hart to Hart Mrs. Bittersweet Episode: Hart-Shaped Murder
1981 Pals Emily Baines Television short
1982–1983 Filthy Rich Winona 'Mother B' Beck 15 episodes
Main cast (Seasons 1–2)
1983 Insight Mrs. Minerva Dutton's Choice
1983–1984 Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour Herself (panelist) 45 episodes
1984 Last of the Great Survivors Gladys Television film
1984 The Love Boat Dancing Partner Episode: Soap Gets in Your Eyes/A Match Made in Heaven/Tugs of the Heart
1984 For Love or Money Hypatia Television film
1984–1986 Gimme a Break! Maid 3 episodes
1985–1986 The Fall Guy Pearl Sperling 3 episodes
Season 5 (Recrruing role)
1986 Night Court Little Old Lady Episode: Contempt of Courting
1986 Who's the Boss? Ethel Episode: Forgive Me, Tony
1986 My Sister Sam Dora Episode: Walk a While in My Shoes
1987–1988 ALF Cat Woman 2 episodes
1988 It's a Living Mrs. Thompson Episode: Tune In, Tune Out
1988 Designing Women Mother Episode: Hard Hats and Lovers
1989 Webster Ida Episode: A-Camping We Will Go
1989 TV 101 Mother Steadman Episode: Keegan's Past
1989 Super Mario Bros. Super Show Mrs. Periwinkle / Angelica / Spooky Gadgets Incorporated 2 episodes
1990 Dear John Dotty Episode: Honolulu Baby
1990–1991 Babes Mrs. Florence Newman 5 episodes
Recurring role (Season 1)
1992 The Commish Mrs. Zimmerman Episode: Sex, Lies and Kerosene
1993 Coach Gertrude Episode: Christmas of the Van Damned
1993–1994 Step by Step Mrs. Slezak / Shirley 2 episodes


  1. ^ a b c Oliver, Myrna (January 29, 2003). "Nedra Volz, 94; TV Actress Played Many 'Old Lady' Roles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Dugan, Laurel Call (January 31, 1981). "Nedra Volz--sprightly actress a '10' for all seasons". Los Angeles Times. p. 244. Retrieved September 1, 2019 – via
  3. ^ Simon, George T. (2012). The Big Bands. Schirmer Trade Books. ISBN 978-0-8571-2812-6. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  4. ^ "Musicians Return". Democrat and Chronicle. New York, Rochester. October 2, 1932. p. 5. Retrieved September 1, 2019 – via
  5. ^ "Strand And Grove Offer Stage Shows". The Miami News. May 17, 1940. p. 11. Retrieved September 1, 2019 – via
  6. ^ a b c d e Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.

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