'Grandma Walton' Dies

03/19/1999 at 12:00 AM EST

Emmy-winning actress Ellen Corby, who played spinsters and prim neighbors but was best known as Grandma Esther Walton on the hit 1972-81 series "The Waltons," died Wednesday at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills. She was 87. Corby, who was born Ellen Hansen in Racine, Wis., was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role as the lovelorn aunt in the 1948 "I Remember Mama." After suffering a stroke in 1977, Corby curtailed her professional activities, though she was part of the 1997 TV special "A Waltons Easter." (For other deaths, see PASSAGES.)

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