Bewitched Wiki
Renie Riano 1948
Renie Riano
Role Mrs. Granite
Biographical Information
Full Name Irene Isabel Riano
Birthdate August 7, 1899
Birthplace London, England, United Kingdom
Death Date July 3, 1971 (age 71)
Death Place Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States

Renie Riano portrayed Charlie Leach's landlady Mrs. Granite in the second season episode, "Follow That Witch (Part 2)" (1966).


Born in London on August 7, 1899, but raised in the United States, rubber-faced character player Renie (short for Irene, and pronounced "Reenie") Riano was the daughter of British stage actress Irene Riano (1871-1940) and vaudeville acrobat Robert Riano (1867-1909). Irene and Robert were part of the Four Rianos acrobatic act at one time. Entertainment was an obvious direction for their daughter with her born-in-a-trunk existence.

Renie loved an audience, loved singing, and loved to make people laugh. She began things off top-lining in vaudeville shows and music halls as child performer "Baby Irene" in a mother/daughter act. Making her solo Broadway stage debut in 1905 as Florette in "A Society Circus," she progressed to solo as a spirited adult in such shows as "Honey Girl" (1920), "Music Box Revue" (1921) and "The Greenwich Village Follies" (1925). She met American John W. Neil from New Jersey in 1918 and became a U.S. citizen. Their daughter, Jane, was born a year later in Philadelphia. Renie's maternal grandfather, Joseph Rice, owned a theatre in Philly.

Building her comedic reputation on the stock stage, she made a late entry into films (age 38) with minor appearances in such lighter films as Tovarich (1937), You're a Sweetheart (1937), Men Are Such Fools (1938), Four's a Crowd (1938) and Spring Madness (1938). Her harsh, bony-faced features and disapproving air immediately had her pigeon-holed into playing shrill, viper-tongued wives, relatives, domestics, spinsters, nurses and other acidulous matron types. A large majority of her movie appearances were minor and often uncredited.

Renie appeared in two sets of movie series during her long career. She played the featured role of the cynical maid, Effie Schneider, in four entries of "Nancy Drew" mystery series starring young Bonita Granville beginning with Nancy Drew: Detective (1938) and ending with Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939). She is most fondly remembered, however, for bringing to human life the comic strip character of the haranguing, indomitable Maggie Jiggs opposite Joe Yule's henpecked Jiggs in the popular "Jiggs and Maggie" comedy offerings. The series began with Bringing Up Father (1946) but was cut short by Yule's unexpected death in 1950. Their fifth and last entry was Jiggs and Maggie Out West (1950).

Other minor film appearances in which she offered her patented sneer and dour disdain were in primarily comedy or musical-oriented fare including Wife, Husband and Friend (1939), The Women (1939), Day-Time Wife (1939), The Ghost Comes Home (1940), A Little Bit of Heaven (1940), Li'l Abner (1940), Remedy for Riches (1940), You Belong to Me (1941), There's One Born Every Minute (1942), Blondie for Victory (1942), A Song for Miss Julie (1945), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Winter Wonderland (1946), The Time of Your Life (1948), The Barefoot Mailman (1951) and Clipped Wings (1953).

Riano later turned to TV and appeared on such popular programs as "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok," "The Life of Riley," "The Abbott and Costello Show," "Stanley," "The Danny Thomas Show," "My Three Sons," "Bewitched," "Green Acres, "Mayberry RFD" and "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir." Working until the very end, she made her last guest appearance in 1971 in an episode of "The Partridge Family." She died that same year on July 3 in Woodland Hills, California.


Renie Riano on the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on October 25, 2021, edited.