Ruth Ann Buzzi (born July 24, 1936) is an American actress, comedian and singer. She provides the voice of Deliah on Sheep in The Big City (TV series). She also provides the voice of Lady Virginia Richington in the pilot but was replaced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo for the T.V. series.

Early Life Edit

Buzzi was born at Westerly Hospital, Westerly, Rhode Island, the daughter of Rena Pauline and Angelo Peter Buzzi, a nationally recognized stone sculptor. She was raised in Wequetequock, Connecticut, in a rock house overlooking the ocean at Wequetequock Cove, where her father owned Buzzi Memorials, a business still operated by her older brother, Harold.

Her father was born in Arzo, Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, a few miles from the Italian border. He carved the marble eagles at Penn Station in New York designed by artist Adolph A. Weinman (who also designed the Walking Liberty half dollar and Mercury dime for the U.S. Mint), the granite Leif Erikson memorial in Providence, Rhode Island, the animals seen in relief on the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and made thousands of tombstones. He was asked to work on the carving of the Presidents on Mount Rushmore but declined, out of a fear of heights. Her mother was born in the United States to immigrants from northern Italy.

Buzzi attended Stonington High School, where she was head cheerleader. At 17, she enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse for the Performing Arts and graduated with honors. She studied voice, dance, and acting, and took courses in cosmetology in case acting didn't work out.

Career Edit

Early Successes

Before graduation from college, Buzzi was already a working actress with a union card in musical and comedy revues. Her first job in show business was at 19, traveling with singer Rudy Vallee in a live musical and comedy act during her summer break from college; it allowed her to graduate with a treasured union card with Actors' Equity Association. She moved to New York City after graduation and was hired immediately for a lead role in an off-Broadway musical revue, the first of 19 in which she performed across the East Coast.

In musical and comedy revues from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to the Catskills of New York, to off-Broadway, she worked alongside other young, talented performers just beginning their careers at the time, including Barbra Streisand, Joan Rivers, Dom DeLuise, Bernadette Peters and Carol Burnett. Buzzi performed in New York musical variety shows, and she made numerous television commercials, some of which won national awards including the Clio Award.

Her first national recognition on television came on The Garry Moore Show in 1964,[3] just after Carol Burnett was replaced by Dorothy Loudon on the series. Buzzi saw her first taste of national fame as "Shagundala the Silent", a bumbling magician's assistant to her comedy partner Dom DeLuise who played "Dominic the Great". Buzzi was a member of the regular repertory company on the CBS variety show The Entertainers (1964–1965). In 1966–67, Buzzi appeared in Sweet Charity, with Fosse's wife Gwen Verdon in the original cast. She had several small roles, one of them "the Singing Fairy".

Continued success on television

Buzzi was featured as a semi-regular on the sitcom That Girl as Marlo Thomas's friend Pete Peterson.[3] She starred with Jim Nabors as the time-traveling androids Fi and Fum in The Lost Saucer produced by Sid and Marty Krofft which aired from September 11, 1975 until September 2, 1976 (16 episodes).

Buzzi also guested as Chloe, the theretofore unseen but oft-mentioned wife of phone company worker Henry Beesmeyer (Marvin Kaplan), on Alice in 1981. She was also a guest star on the syndicated sitcom Down to Earth in 1985. Dean Martin's producer, Greg Garrison, obviously enjoyed Buzzi's work as a comedy sketch artist and hired her for his comedy specials starring Dom DeLuise. She charted the single "You Oughta Hear The Song" in 1977. It reached #90 on Billboard's national Country Music chart.

Buzzi was a guest star on many television series including Donny & MarieThe Flip Wilson ShowThe Dean Martin Music and Comedy Hour, the Dean Martin Roasts, The Carol Burnett ShowTony Orlando and DawnThe MonkeesEmergency!, and variety series hosted by Leslie Uggams and by Glen Campbell. She also appeared occasionally on game shows and was a celebrity judge on The Gong Show. She appeared on Lucille Ball's last (but short-lived) sitcom, Life with Lucy, as Mrs. Wilcox in the episode "Lucy Makes a Hit with John Ritter". She appeared eight times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and has made more than 200 other television guest appearances.

Buzzi is an accomplished voice actress. She voiced the character Nose Marie in the Hanna-Barbera animated series Pound Puppies (1986). She also voiced Mama Bear in Berenstain Bears (1985) and performed hundreds of guest voices for many other cartoon series, including The SmurfsThe Angry Beavers and Mo Willems' Sheep in the Big City.

She appeared frequently on Sesame Street in comedy sketch clips from her six years on that show, and is often heard as the voice of outlandish failed torch singer Suzie Kabloozie. While she was a regular performer on Sesame Street, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as Ruthie, a shopkeeper.[citation needed] Buzzi performed in numerous national television commercials, most notably for Clorox 2, Clairol, Ban roll-on deodorant, and Santa Anita Raceway, and voicing Granny Goodwitch in television commercials for Sugar Crisp cereal. She originated the Goodwitch character in the animated TV series Linus! The Lion Hearted (1964–65).

Buzzi appeared in the "Weird Al" Yankovic video "Gump" and similarly appeared in other music videos with the rock groups B-52's and The Presidents of the United States of America. She appeared on Saved by the Bell (playing Screech Powers's wacky Elvis fanatic mother), The Muppet ShowYou Can't Do That on Television (during its CTV-produced incarnation Whatever Turns You On), and numerous other television shows. She played the role of the eccentric Nurse Kravitz on NBC's daytime soap opera Passions. In 2006 and 2007, she made guest appearances on the children's TV series Come on Over.

Buzzi had a successful nightclub act across the United States, including at Las Vegas's Sahara and at the MGM Grand hotels. She performed the act for one year. Her shows all sold out and she was reportedly offered an extended stay but declined.

She had featured roles in more than 20 feature films, including Chu Chu and the Philly FlashFreaky FridayThe North Avenue IrregularsThe Apple Dumpling Gang Rides AgainThe VillainThe Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland and a number of westerns for the European market known as the Lucky Luke series in which she plays the mother of the Dalton Gang.

Personal Life Edit

Buzzi lives with her husband Kent Perkins on a 600-acre (200 ha) cattle and horse ranch near Stephenville, Texas. She is a charter member of the Pasadena Playhouse Alumni Association. Buzzi paints as a hobby; she has never offered her oil paintings for sale to the public, but has donated original works to charity, where they have sold in excess of $6,000.

Buzzi lives with her husband Kent Perkins on a 600-acre (200 ha) cattle and horse ranch near Stephenville, Texas. She is a charter member of the Pasadena Playhouse Alumni Association. Buzzi paints as a hobby; she has never offered her oil paintings for sale to the public, but has donated original works to charity, where they have sold in excess of $6,000.

She supports numerous children's charities including Make a Wish Foundation, the Special Olympics, The Thalians, St. Jude's Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and is a children's art summer camp sponsor through Dallas Museum of Biblical Art. Buzzi is active in fundraising for the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch in Medina, Texas and other animal causes.

Buzzi and her husband are avid automobile collectors. Their collection focuses on post-war English vehicles including Bentley and Rolls-Royce and Jaguar, although it also includes several American convertibles and muscle cars. Some of her vehicles have been in television commercials, featured in parades, and her blue Bentley convertible was featured on the cover of Vogue with Jessica Simpson behind the wheel.[citation needed] with some of their cars having been donated and/or loaned to and displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California including a red, fuel-injected 1957 Chevrolet convertible that was exhibited (from 1993-2011) as part of the display honoring the cars of Steve McQueen. Buzzi's 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud drophead coupe convertible was on display for the "Century of Elegance" exhibit.[6] The museum has also featured a 1965 Chrysler Imperial convertible previously owned by Katharine Hepburn, donated to the museum by Buzzi and Perkins in 2001 and the vehicle remains there for special exhibition. Buzzi and Perkins won first place in their category with their 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II drophead coupe at the Concours d'Elegance national championship in Amelia Island, Florida. The vehicle won first place in the Los Angeles Rolls Royce Owners Club's "most elegant car" competition.

Buzzi has been name-dropped in numerous songs, including House of Pain's "I'm A Swing It", The Bled's "Ruth Buzzi Better Watch Her Back", and the Loretta Lynn/Conway Twitty duet "You're the Reason Our Kids are Ugly".