The Missouri native with the prominent chin ended up in show business quite by accident. After earning an M.A. at Syracuse University, she joined the Kansas City affiliate of National Public Radio as a newswriter and documentary producer. Visiting her actor brother in San Francisco, she was asked to participate in an impromptu stage performance by the Pitschel Players. She soon joined the cast and moved to Los Angeles. There she landed her first feature role in Brian De Palma's "Carrie" and became a member of L.A.'s celebrated Groundlings Improv Comedy Revue.
Her first break on the small screen was as a comedy regular on the last season of the "Tony Orlando and Dawn" variety show (CBS, 1976-77). McClurg has worked steadily ever since. She co-starred on the short-lived comedy series, "The Kallikaks" (NBC, 1977), about a family from Appalachia who move to California, had a recurring role as Lucille Tarlek on "WKRP in Cincinnati" (CBS, 1978-82), and appeared on a number of variety shows, including the short-lived daily morning series "The David Letterman Show" (NBC, 1980) and "The Pee-Wee Herman Show" (1981), an HBO special which eventually spun off into a successful children's series. McClurg also contributed as one of the special's writers.
McClurg's earthy cheeriness and comic timing remained in demand as she was cast as a regular on series such as "Harper Valley P.T.A." (NBC, 1981) and "Madame's Place" (syndicated, 1982). She landed the role of Mrs. Poole, the busybody neighbor, on the original "Valerie" (NBC, 1986-87) and its subsequent incarnations as "Valerie's Family" (NBC, 1987-88) and "The Hogan Family" (CBS, 1988-90). Her distinctively pitched voice has also been frequently called upon for voiceovers and, since providing the vocals for Mrs. Seaworthy on the underwater animated series "Snorks" (NBC, 1984-86), she has been cast as a regular on several animated series, among them "The New Jetsons" (syndicated, 1985-86) and "The Addams Family" (ABC, 1992-95) and voiced a character in Disney's animated feature "The Little Mermaid" (1989).
McClurg had small roles in such comedies as "Cheech & Chong's Next Movie" (1980), Eating Raoul (1982), Mr. Mom (), Back to School (1986), and four John Hughes-directed features. On the dramatic side, she was featured in Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It (1992) and played Juliette Lewis' mother in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1994).
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