Hope Summers

Sarah Hope Summers (June 7, 1896 June 22, 1979), better known as Hope Summers, was an American character actress known for her work on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD, portraying Clara Edwards.

Hope Summers
Hope Summers as Clara Edwards on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show
Sarah Hope Summers

(1896-06-07)June 7, 1896
DiedJune 22, 1979(1979-06-22) (aged 83)
Resting placeMountain View Cemetery, Walla Walla, Washington, U.S.
Other namesHope Sommers
Years active19501978
Spouse(s)Claude James Witherell
Parent(s)John W. Summers
Jennie Summers

Early life

Hope Summers was born in Mattoon, Illinois, the daughter of U.S. Representative John W. Summers and Jennie (née Burks). She was reared in Illinois and later in Walla Walla, Washington. She graduated from Northwestern School of Speech at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and taught speech and diction there. From here, she became the head of the Speech Department at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Acting career

A regional actress who often performed in one-woman shows,.[1] She made her network television debut in 1951 on the soap opera Hawkins Falls, broadcast from Chicago. She was past fifty when she came to Hollywood to begin her career as a character player.

Hope Summers first attracted attention in 1958 in the semi-regular role as Hattie Denton on the western series The Rifleman, starring Chuck Connors. She guest starred on dozens of series including Maverick, Wagon Train, State Trooper, Rescue 8, Peter Gunn, Dennis the Menace, It's a Man's World, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Hazel, Gunsmoke, The Danny Thomas Show, My Three Sons, Petticoat Junction, Love on a Rooftop, The Pruitts of Southampton, The Second Hundred Years, Adam-12 and The Paul Lynde Show, and was a regular in the cast of the short-lived 1978 situation comedy Another Day. She made thirty-six appearances on the Andy Griffith Show during the 1960s (in earlier episodes her character was called Bertha), and five appearances on the post-Griffith spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D..

Her film work usually was in quite small parts, often unbilled, but she had a credited part as Mrs. Gilmore, one of the kindlier members of the witches' coven at the heart of Roman Polanski's film classic Rosemary's Baby (1968). Cast against type she utters the line "Hail Satan!" in the film's climactic scene.[2]

In the 1970s, Sarah Summers was the voice for Mrs. Butterworth's syrup commercials with actress Kim Fields.


She acted until 1978, a year before her death from congestive heart failure in 1979, aged 83, in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. She is interred at Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla, Washington in the Masonic Section.


Year Title Role Notes
1951-1952 Hawkins Falls Belinda Catherwood Unknown episodes
1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Mrs. Gillespie's housekeeper S2 Ep22 'End of the Indian Summer' credit: Hope Summers
1957 Private Secretary Della Loganbury Episode: "Not Quite Paradise"
1957 Zero Hour! Mrs. Summers
1957 Wagon Train Unnamed passenger "The Ruth Owens Story" (NBC-TV)
1958 Wagon Train Mae O'Malley "The Luke O'Malley Story"
1958 I Want to Live! Ethel, Policewoman on bus Uncredited
1958-1960 The Rifleman Hattie Denton 16 episodes
1959 Maverick Martha Abbott Episode: "Brasada Spur"
1959 Rescue 8 Dora Episode: "If the Bough Breaks"
1959 Hound-Dog Man Jewell Crouch
1959 Edge of Eternity Motel Attendant Uncredited
1960 Inherit the Wind Mrs. Krebs - Righteous Townswoman
1961 Parrish Mary Uncredited
1961 Angel Baby Roman at Revival Meeting Uncredited
1961 Homicidal Mrs. Martha Adrims Uncredited
1961 Claudelle Inglish Ernestine Peasley Uncredited
1961 The Children's Hour Agatha (Tilford's maid) Alternative title: The Loudest Whisper
1961-1968 The Andy Griffith Show Clara Edwards 32 episodes
1962 The Couch Mrs. Quimby
1962 Rome Adventure Mrs. St. Uwell Uncredited
Alternative title: Lovers Must Learn
1962 It's a Man's World The Salvation Army Woman "Drive over to Exeter"
1963 Spencer's Mountain Mother Ida
1964 My Living Doll Edwina Episode: "I'll Leave It to You"
1964 One Man's Way Mrs. Elwood Thompson
1965 The Hallelujah Trail Mrs. Hasselrad
1965 Petticoat Junction Mabel Denton Episode: "The Crowded Wedding Ring"
1966 The Ghost and Mr. Chicken Suzanna Blush Uncredited
1966 Penelope Shop Lady Uncredited
1968-1970 Mayberry R.F.D. Clara Edwards 5 episodes
1968 Rosemary's Baby Mrs. Gilmore
1968 The Shakiest Gun in the West Celia
1968 5 Card Stud Female customer in general store Uncredited
1969 The Learning Tree Mrs. Kiner
1970 Marcus Welby, M.D. Mrs. Whittaker Episode: "Epidemic"
1970 Bewitched Carolyn Episode: "Samantha's Old Man"
1971 Hawaii Five-O Minnie Leona Moroney Episode: "The Bomber and Mrs. Moroney"
1972 Get to Know Your Rabbit Mrs. Beeman
1972 Where Does It Hurt? Nurse Throttle
1973 Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies Laura
1973 M*A*S*H Nurse Meg Cratty Episode: The Trial of Henry Blake
1973 Charley Varrick Mess Vesta Alternative title: Kill Charley Varrick
1974 Our Time Biology Teacher Starsky and Hutch
1975 Chico and the Man Lucille Nelson Episode: "Garage Sale"
1975 Welcome Back, Kotter Ms. Riley Episode: "Mr. Kotter, Teacher"
1976 Little House on the Prairie Addie Bjornesen Episode: "The Collection"
1977 Evil Town Alice Wylie
1978 Another Day Olive Gardner Regular cast member (4 episodes)
1978 Foul Play Ethel
1978 Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws Marcie (final film role)


  1. "Hope Summers". I May Berry. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  2. Gallagher, Pat. "Rest in Peace, Cast of The Andy Griffith Show". Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
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