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Fannie Flagg
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Name: Patrice Neal
Born: September 21, 1944
Occupation: actress, comedienne, author
Years active: 1966-present
Known for: being a semi-regular panelists on Match Game and for writing Fried Green Tomatoes

Patrice Neal [not to be confused with the late comedian Patrice O'Neal] (born September 21, 1944), known professionally as Fannie Flagg, is an American actress, comedienne and author. She is best known as a semi-regular panelist on Match Game from 1973 until 1982, and for the 1988 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, for which was then later adapted into a 1991 film simply called Fried Green Tomatoes. Flagg was also nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay adaptation.


Early Life[]

Flagg, born in Birmingham, Alabama, is the daughter of Marion Leona (nee LaGore) and William Hubert Neal, Jr., who was a small-business owner and projectionist.

As her career began, Flagg could not use her birth name professionally, as there was already a well-known Oscar winning actress named Patrice Neal (not to be confused with the late 1966-2011 comedian named Patrice O'Neal).

Writing Career[]

During the 1960s, Flagg co-hosted the locally produced Morning Show on WBRC-TV in Birmingham, Alabama. Following this, she was hired as a staff writer for Allen Funt's Candid Camera, and she later became Funt's co-host on the syndicated 1970s weekly version of the show. After a lull in her writing career, she returned her focus to writing in the 1980s. Among her novles are Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man (1983) (originally titled Coming Attractions), Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (1998) and perhaps her best-known book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. She subsequently wrote the screenplay based on that book which became the film Fried Green Tomatoes. The 1991 movie garnered her a nomination for an Academy Award. Fried Green Tomatoes starred Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker and Cicely Tyson.

She has also written: Standing in the Rainbow (2002), A Redbird Christmas (2004) and Can't Wait to Get to Heaven (2006), Her most recent book, I Still Dream About You: A Novel was published on November 9, 2010 by Random House.

Acting Career[]

During the 1970s, Flagg was a fixture on game show panels. she is best known for her apperances on Match Game (normally occupying the lower right-hand side next to regular panelist and future Family Feud host Richard Dawson). Her acting credits include the Broadway production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the films Some of My Best Friends Are (1971), Five Easy Pieces (1970), Stay Hungry (1976), Grease (1978) and Crazy in Alabama (1999), as well as minor roles in various television shows. In 1975, she appeared as the Amazon Doctor in the pilot for The New Adventures of Wonder Woman. She is also known for being a regular on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, where for two seasons she played as Mike Preston, and as UFO alien abduction connoisseur Sylvia Miller on the short-lived talk show Fernwood 2 Night in 1977.

During the 60s and 70s, Flagg recorded two comedy albums with various skits that included many parodies of Lady Bird Johnson and Martha Mitchell.

Personal Life[]

Flagg has spoken publicly about being dyslexic. Flagg has said she was greatly challenged as a writer because she "was severly dyslexic and couldn't spell, still can't spell. So I was discouraged from writing and embarrassed." Her burgeoning writing career was put on hold for much of the 1970s, but Flagg overcame her fears and completed several novels and screenplays.

Flagg was at one time the partner of author Rita Mae Brown.

Flagg divides her time between homes in California and Alabama.

Shows appeared[]

Match Game
Snap Judgment
Three on a Match
Hollywood Squares
You Don't Say!
Word Grabbers (1976 pilot)
Liar's Club
To Tell the Truth
Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour

Fannie's Gallery of shirts on Match Game[]