Identity of "Nice Dress Nellie" revealed

7137786864?profile=RESIZE_400x"Nice Dress Nellie" is an actress that appeared in at least 34 episodes of the show. (Mayberry Wiki article) "According to assistant director Bruce Bilson, her name is Marvel, but he did not give her full name. Marvel was a stand in for Don Knotts and Mr. Bilson picked her for the stand in job." (Mayberry Historical Society article)

I think her name is probably Marvel Lawrence.

I saw a comment on a MeTV article about Nice Dress Nellie where a poster named Jermyn said "I searched IMDB for someone named "Marvel" (first or last) and the only possible one I came up with was a "Marvel Lawrence" who was an actress with one credit for appearing as a store clerk in The Danny Thomas Show (a.k.a. Make Room for Daddy) in 1961 in Season 9, Episode 3, Love Letters."

Given the connections between Andy Griffith and the Danny Thomas Show, I decided to do some research. I then found this Dec. 31, 1965 Article (you have to download the pdf) in the Alpine Sun (Alpine, CA) about Floyd where he said "Marvel Lawrence, who stands in for me, is the foster daugher of Eltinge." (page 14) He is talking about Julian Eltinge. Also note how he said that Marvel was his stand-in like how Bilson did in my first paragraph.

At these two links (1) (2), people noted that they had seen Nice Dress Nellie on The Bob Newhart Show. I then found this June 30, 1974 Article in the San Bernardino County Sun that said "The Bob Newhart Show" wrapped for the season on Friday with a mood of sadness permeating the set." "The husband of Marvel Lawrence (stand-in for co-star Marcia Wallace) died on Tuesday". You have to click "Show page 47 article text" to see it.

Now we need to find out who Mr. Schwamp and the pianist named Hazel are.

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  • Super post....I like the whole behind-the-scenes vibe.  I followed some the links and ended up reading about Julian Eltinge.  He was quite the character, and sounds “book-worthy”.  Here’s a related item from a newspaper....


    • Nice find! The article called her Mrs. so I guess she was married in 1939.

  • Given how many women are named Marvel and that Marvel Lawrence did work for Danny Thomas, I think it is safe to conclude that Marvel Lawrence was indeed her name. 

    Nice work on this!

    • Thanks Mayor!

    • Indeed!  Very nice find by Bobby.

  • This looks like her husband John Lawrence’s death record with some information about wife Marvel.

     I also found a listing for Marvel being born in Kansas in 1915.

    • Wow! Nice work! That's definitely the same Marvel Lawrence. John's death date matches up with the newspaper article I listed above from June 30, 1974 where it said Marvel's husband died on Tuesday, which would have been June 25, 1974 and the link you posted has John's death date as June 26, 1974, which is close enough because the newspaper article isn't an official document anyway. Also I found this website for actor David Janssen where it says John and Marvel Lawrence visted him. Also, I don't know why that picture is below my text. I just linked the website. I didn't post the picture.

      The David Janssen Archive
  • Good Mayberry picture in the article from the Alpine Sun that you linked, Bobby....note William Conrad surrounded by future Mayberry notables.


    • Haha. Nice picture.

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