Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘The Flying Nun’: Where is the Cast of the 60s Sitcom Today?

‘The Flying Nun’: Where is the Cast of the 60s Sitcom Today?

Just bring up Sally Field in conversation and someone might ask about The Flying Nun and the show’s cast all these years later.

This sitcom featuring Field as a nun who could fly ran on ABC between 1967 and 1970. For most of its run, The Flying Nun was a part of a comedy block of programming. It lined up with Bewitched and That Girl, scoring pretty good numbers in the Nielsens.

Now, which members of The Flying Nun cast are still alive? The only regular cast member still around is Field, who played Sister Bertrille. Field starred in Gidget, another ABC series that was canceled after one season. Sister Bertrille would “fly” when a gust of air hit her cornette (a nun’s hat) just right. No one at Convent San Tanco, where Sister Bertrille served, tried to keep this a secret. They all knew she had this, well, “gift.”

At least this sitcom didn’t hide the magic as others did — namely, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie.

‘The Flying Nun’ Cast Did Have Some Stars

Now, back to the cast of The Flying Nun. Rich Little and Elinor Donohue had part-time roles on the sitcom and they are still alive. Little, who is still performing his incredible impersonations, played fault-plagued monk Brother Paul. Donohue, who starred in Father Knows Best in the 1950s and one season on The Andy Griffith Show showed up as Jennifer Etherington. She was Sister Bertrille’s (Elsie Ethrington) sister.

Madeleine Sherwood starred as Reverend Mother Placido, whose dour face and somber mood kept Sister Bertrille under a tight rein. Marge Redmond played Sister Jacqueline, Sister Bertrille’s friend whose sense of humor had things popping. Alejandro Rey appeared as Carlos Ramirez, who owned the local casino and was a playboy. Carlos asked for Jennifer’s hand in marriage, but she turned him down. As an orphan, Carlos was raised by the nuns and he remains grateful for their help. He helps them out when possible, which gets him involved with Sister Bertrille’s schemes.

Shelley Morrison starred as Sister Sixto, who was a Puerto Rican nun who got tongue-twisted by English slang all the time. Linda Dangcil showed up as Sister Ana in The Flying Nun cast, a young novice in the convent. Vito Scotti, a character actor who appeared in both sitcoms and dramas, starred as Captain Gaspar Fomento. What was most unique about his character, a police officer, is that he never caught on to Sister Bertrille’s ability to fly.

Sally Field Isn’t A Big Fan of This Series

A couple of other actors, Don Diamond and Michael Pataki, played different roles during the show’s three seasons as cast members of The Flying Nun. Meanwhile, The Flying Nun was based on a 1965 book titled The Flying Pelican.

Don’t expect Field to speak in glowing terms of this series. It came under a lot of scrutiny and jokes from comedians and talk-show hosts. Field has said that she didn’t enjoy her time on the show’s set. Yet she also has been complimentary of Redmond and Rey, who helped a young Field navigate through the criticism. Field also felt slighted by the show’s directors, even though she was the star.

While a show like this one could have derailed Field’s career, it did not. Field did some other TV work, but her time learning at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasburg was key. It marked a shift in Field’s career, getting her out of those girl-next-door roles. Field soared in her future work, winning two Academy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, and two Golden Globes Awards.

Episodes of The Flying Nun have been available on DVD for some time. As an aside, the Catholic Church didn’t put up too much of a squawk about this show. People associated with the show kept in contact with church leaders. They didn’t find much to complain about here.