Conchata Ferrell, Memorable Maid on ‘Two and a Half Men,’ Dies at 77
Conchata Ferrell, the award-winning theater actress who became a television star as the gruff housekeeper of a toxic Malibu bachelor on the sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” died on Monday in Los Angeles. She was 77.
The death, in Sherman Oaks Hospital, was confirmed by her daughter, Samantha Anderson.
Ms. Ferrell was hospitalized in December for a kidney infection, which spread to her bloodstream. In May, a heart attack put her in intensive care for four weeks. She was then moved to long-term care, remaining on a respirator and on dialysis until her death.
When CBS was casting “Two and a Half Men,” the character Berta — who cleaned the oceanfront home of Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen), a successful writer of jingles and children’s songs — was written as Eastern European. But Ms. Ferrell preferred to do it in her own voice. “It works better in Trailer Park,” she told the producers, who quickly agreed — and even changed their minds about having Berta disappear after two episodes.
In a role that brought her two Emmy Award nominations for best supporting actress in a comedy series, Ms. Ferrell appeared as Berta in more than 200 episodes between 2003 and 2015. (Ashton Kutcher replaced Mr. Sheen in the last four seasons.) Her Berta was a merciless, unshakable, ungrammatical old hippie with an expansive knowledge of the phone numbers of local drug dealers. She gave other characters unwelcome nicknames (Zippy for Charlie’s brother, Alan, played by Jon Cryer; Fatal Attraction for Rose, the neighborhood stalker, played by Melanie Lynskey).