Mildred Funnell (1901-1977) was an American broadcaster, on both radio and television, for over 25 years, most of which she spent at WTAM-Cleveland (now KYW).
Born in 1901 in Honeyoye Falls, NY to a pastor father and housewife mother, Funnell lived in both Michigan and New York before her family finally settled in Norwalk, Ohio when she was nine years-old. After graduation from Norwalk High School, Funnell attended Syracuse University majoring in speech. After that, Funnell attended the Schuster Martin School of Drama in Cincinnati.
In 1928, Funnell co-founded the Harlequins Little Theatre Group in Sandusky, Ohio and took leading roles in the plays "Mr. Pim Passes By," "You and I," "Dover Road," and "Smilin' Through."
Two years later, Funnell would begin her broadcasting career by going to work as a temporary secretary for WTAM station manager John F. Royal. Quickly however, she found herself on the air as one of the WTAM Players, presenting daily dramatic programs and midnight mystery thrillers. Her most famous radio role however began in 1933, playing Evalena, Lum's girlfriend on "Lum & Abner."
Later, in 1940, while still active with the station's dramatic players, Funnell joined WTAM's all-female "Women's Club" program. Five years later, the station named Funnell their Director of Women's Activities and, that same year, Funnell began hosting a daily radio program with another station employee, Gloria Brown, titled, rightfully enough, "Mildred and Gloria."Funnell and Brown would be an on-air team for 11 years, broadcasting daily over the WTAM airwaves and, for a time, on television. Their radio show endured until the mid-1950s. The TV version of "Mildred and Gloria," called "The Idea Shop," ran for five years.
In both mediums, Mildred's and Gloria's shows consisted of a lively mix of interviews, helpful hints and, sometimes, even disagreements. Said Funnell once, "We disagree frequently, as will sisters, mothers, daughters, husbands and wives. But, by pre-arrangement, we discuss out loud and settle our differences as they come up."
In 1955, after 26 years, Funnell left WTAM. In 1957, she joined Cleveland's WJW radio station as their Director of Community Club Awards. Later, she returned to the airwaves herself, this time in a program titled "Take Five." "Five" was a series of five-minute interviews played every half-hour, every Saturday.
Ms. Funnell married Clyde Grey Goodman in 1936. She died in 1977.