Remembering Nancy Walker
Maybe it was the pronounced widow’s peak that blossomed into a big red bouffant, or her petite (4’11”) stature. Nancy Walker, who died of lung cancer March 25 at age 69, was damn funny. She turned the character of Ida Morgenstern on Rhoda into a pop icon — the quintessential Jewish mother. In fact, Walker made Ida so appealing that she was given her own short-lived series (1976’s The Nancy Walker Show), in which she played a mom of a different sort — a talent agent mothering her clients. At the time of her death, she was doing a variation on that theme in Fox’s True Colors.
And of course she was Rosie, the no-nonsense waitress who had wiped up in dozens of Bounty paper towel commercials since 1970 and single-handedly put ”quicker picker-upper” in the American lexicon.
Married to voice and acting coach David Craig for 41 years (they have one daughter, Miranda Craig, 38, an ad copywriter in Los Angeles), Walker compiled an ec-lectic list of credits. She appeared in the 1944 Broadway hit On the Town. She directed the camp 1980 movie extravaganza Can’t Stop the Music starring the Village People. And as the spokeswoman for Zantac antacid in 1988, she became the first celebrity to go public with her heartburn. Vintage Walker. Even her resume was funny.