Ann Morgan Guilbert, beloved as the next-door neighbor on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and seen recently on CBS’ comedy “Life in Pieces,” has died.
Guilbert died of cancer in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to her daughter Nora Eckstein. She was 87.
Recent TV appearances included a starring role on the hospital comedy “Getting On” and a guest shot on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She was a regular as feisty Grandma Yetta on the 1990s sitcom “The Nanny,” and in the early 1960s, played Millie Helper, Laura Petrie’s gabby pal, on the acclaimed “Van Dyke” series.
Guilbert had extensive theater credits, including the 2005 Broadway play, “A Naked Girl on the Appian Way,” and productions of “The Matchmaker,” ”Arsenic and Old Lace,” ”Waiting for Godot,” ”To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Harvey.”
She began her career in the Los Angeles musical variety cabaret act originated by composer Billy Barnes, which toured throughout California. In 1959, “The Billy Barnes Revue” opened in New York as an off-Broadway production, then moved to Broadway.
One of its fans was writer-producer Carl Reiner, who remembered Guilbert when he was assembling his cast for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
A native of Minneapolis, Guilbert graduated from Stanford University’s Department of Speech and Drama, where she met the late producer-actor George Eckstein. They married and had two daughters, actress Hallie Todd (“Lizzie McGuire”) and Eckstein, a writer, actress and acting teacher.
After her 1966 divorce, she married actor Guy Raymond, who died in 1997.
Guilbert is survived by her two daughters.