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'Two And A Half Men' Star Conchata Ferrell Dies at 77

Conchata Ferrell at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. She was nominated twice for her role as Berta on <em>Two and a Half Men.</em>
Frazer Harrison
Getty Images
Conchata Ferrell at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. She was nominated twice for her role as Berta on Two and a Half Men.

Conchata Ferrell, who played the gruff, straight-talking maid, Berta, on Two and a Half Men,has died. She died Monday in Sherman Oaks, CA following complications from a cardiac arrest. Her manager confirmed the news to NPR. She was 77 years old.

In what was originally planned to be a two-episode arc in the show's first season, Ferrell's Berta became an integral part of the show, seeing it through its entire 12-season run. She was nominated for two Emmys for Best Supporting Actress.

"I love playing women who have the nerve to do things that I don't have the nerve to do, and Berta is certainly one of those," Ferrell told The AV Club in 2014.

In a Twitter thread remembering her, co-star Jon Cryer called her a "beautiful human."

Ferrell was born in Charleston, WV. She found early success on stage in 1973, acting in an off-Broadway production of Lanford Wilson's The Hot l Baltimore.The play followed residents of a run-down hotel, facing eviction. Ferrell played April Green, a hardened but friendly sex worker. The play earned an Obie Award for Best American Play ,and Ferrell followed it to television as it was adapted for the screen by Norman Lear. It lasted for one season.

From there, Ferrell took on small roles on film and television — ER, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Edward Scissorhands, before landing her career-defining role on Two and a Half Men. In the AV Club interview, she said her love of acting was the only reason she survived in the business. " I love acting better than anything, and I do it better than anything else I do."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.