Arlene Leanore Golonka
January 23, 1936
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||May 31, 2021 (aged 85)|
|Spouse(s)||Christopher Michael Haenel|
(m. 19??; div. 19??)
(m. 1963; div. 1967)
(m. 1969; div. 1977)
Arlene Leanore Golonka (January 23, 1936 – May 31, 2021) was an American actress. She is perhaps best known for playing Millie Hutchins on the television comedy The Andy Griffith Show and Millie Swanson on Mayberry R.F.D., and often portrayed bubbly, eccentric blondes in supporting character roles on stage, film, and television.
Golonka was born in Chicago on January 23, 1936, of Polish descent, the daughter of Elinor (Wroblewski) and Frank Golonka. She worked as a waitress.
Golonka began performing in her early teenage years as part of a summer-stock theater company, and she gained additional experience with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
A life member of The Actors Studio, she appeared in her first major production, The Night Circus, with Ben Gazzara, at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut on November 17, 1958. After a week-long trial run, the play moved to Broadway on December 2, 1958, but closed after only seven performances.
Despite that setback, she continued working in other plays such as Take Me Along with Jackie Gleason, Walter Pidgeon and Robert Morse (448 performances from late 1959 to late 1960), Neil Simon's first Broadway play, Come Blow Your Horn, which ran 677 performances from February 1961 until October 1962, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Kirk Douglas, from November 1963 until January 1964. Golonka appeared in two other Broadway plays from 1965-66, and took supporting roles in films produced in the New York City area.
"...Golonka was appearing on television on Naked City, Car 54, Where Are You? and The Doctors ...She moved to Los Angeles and worked on shows like Get Smart, Barnaby Jones, The Flying Nun, That Girl, Maude, Alice, The Rockford Files, One Day at a Time, Taxi, Murder, She Wrote and The King of Queens."
Golonka also recorded for a comedy album, You Don't Have to Be Jewish, in 1965.
In 1967, Golonka moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at television. She made numerous TV appearances on such series as Car 54, Where Are You?, Get Smart, Barnaby Jones (in the episode titled “Bond of Fear”, 04/15/1975); The Flying Nun, I Spy, That Girl, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Cannon, Maude, The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry R.F.D., Alice, The Rockford Files, The Streets of San Francisco, One Day at a Time, The San Pedro Beach Bums, Taxi, $weepstake$, Murder, She Wrote, The King of Queens, Valerie, Sunset Beat, and Matlock, among others.
In 1992, Golonka appeared as Sally Nash in the 13th episode "Fool for Love" in season 5 of the television series In the Heat of the Night with Carroll O'Connor. In this episode she played the other woman to a philandering Dr. Vance Talbot (played by actor Robert Ginty) who tries to frame her for the murder of his wife before murdering Nash as well. Golonka was a regular on the animated cartoon Speed Buggy, providing the voice of "Debbie", and had a recurring role on the short-lived TV series Joe & Valerie. She performed voices in other animated series including The New Yogi Bear Show, Capitol Critters, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, and The New Scooby-Doo Movies.
Golonka had supporting roles in some 30 films, including Harvey Middleman, Fireman (1965), Penelope (1966), The Busy Body (1967), Welcome to Hard Times (1967), Hang 'Em High (1968), The Elevator (1974), Airport '77 (1977), The In-Laws (1979), Love At First Bite (1980), The Last Married Couple in America (1980), My Tutor (1983), The End of Innocence (1990), and A Family Affair (2001).
Golonka's NYC roommate was Valerie Harper.
Golonka was married and divorced three times. Her first husband was Christopher Michael Haenel. In 1962, she married jazz pianist and composer Mike Longo, and they divorced in 1967. She wed actor Larry Delaney, who appeared with her in one episode of Mayberry R.F.D., in 1969, and they divorced in 1977.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1967, Golonka resided in West Hollywood, California, until her death due to complications from Alzheimer's disease on May 31, 2021, at age 85.
Golonka read for Jewish Theatre.