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Alice Ghostley as Esmeralda

ALICE GHOSTLEY (Esmeralda)

Alice Ghostley was born in Eve, Missouri, and spent part of her childhood in Arkansas and Oklahoma. It was in a small Oklahoma town that her high school teacher inspired her to pursue a dramatic career. Following graduation from the University of Oklahoma (where she minored in drama), Ghostley headed for New Jersey and eventually New York.

"I always wanted to be a movie star like Ruby Keeler," she admits, "and I was just seventeen. I thought the big city was the place to begin.

Alice was also inspired by a cousin who was a tightrope walker for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She later teamed with her sister, Gladys, and they did an act called The Ghostley Sisters.

The actress remembers:

"When I