Peggy Pope, the Comedic Secretary in ‘9 to 5’, Dies at 91
Art and Experience:
Pope’s family announced her passing and plans for a June 27 celebration of life.
Pope was born as Florence Margaret Pope in Montclair, N.J., and graduated from Smith College with a major in theater in 1951. She first appeared on Broadway with Wally Cox in “Moonbirds” in 1959 and starred with Jimmy Stewart in a 1970 revival of “Harvey” on Broadway.
Pope won an Obie in 1968 for her portrayal of a sex worker in John Guare’s “Muzeeka.” She also starred in a revival of “The Rose Tattoo” with Maureen Stapleton, “The School of Wives” with Brian Bedford and “Doctor Jazz” with Lola Falana.
Pope was best known for her portrayal of Margaret in “9 to 5,” using the catchphrase “Atta girl” to encourage her co-workers played by Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Pope later appeared on the ABC series adaptation of the movie. In 2011, Pope published her autobiography, “Atta Girl: Tales From a Life in the Trenches of Show Business.”
“It was a good movie and a good part,” she wrote in the book. “At the end, my character comes back from rehab, hair combed, looking spiffy and ready for the sequel. Underdogs climbing to the top is a fine formula, and it’s always good to be in at the end of a film so people remember you were in it.”
Pope also portrayed Mrs. David on the ABC sitcom “Soap” and appeared in the CBS sitcoms “Calucci’s Department” and “Billy.” Her other TV credits included “Bewitched,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Hart to Hart,” “Hill Street Blues,” “The Golden Girls,” “Night Court” and “ER.” Her movie credits included “All Night Long,” “The Last Starfighter,” “Once Bitten,” “The Substitute” and “Choke.