Clarinda Ross has always been a ham, in fact, her paternal granddaddy called her “hambone” probably cause he could not remember her real name (there were a lot of kids running around). When she was elected queen of the first grade her mama, Miss Charlotte, teased her hair up high and flashbulbs went off as she marched across the football field, and her fate as a professional hambone was sealed.
Since that time she’s spent the majority of her time on stage or in front of a camera. When she was crowned runner-up for Miss Jr. Miss of Boone, NC so many pictures were taken her daddy declared “Well, if you die won’t none of us ever forget when you looked like.” This tickled Clarinda to no end because she is a “Daddy’s girl” – like all good southern women.
After high school she took her pageant scholarship money and headed straight across town to major in Theatre at Appalachian State University – “Go Mountaineers!” That way her precious daddy could continue to see her picture in the paper.
After graduation, she ventured forth to the Big Peach where she worked at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. She went on to become “locally famous” as a stage actress in Atlanta and throughout the southeast, touring her solo play, “From My Grandmother’s Grandmother Unto Me,” based on her storytelling mama’s relatives. GRANDMOTHER was made into a film for PBS, directed by John D. Allen. So, she was literally the star of her very first movie. Having become a maven of country culture, she was appointed to be a Cultural Ambassador by Georgia Gov. Zell Miller who sent her off to meet the Queen of Norway prior to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. Clarinda and the Queen got on fine probably based on her first grade brush with Queendom.
While in Atlanta, Clarinda started doing movies, TV and commercials (naturally she was the NASCAR mom). After performing on the last season of In the Heat of the Night, Carroll O’Connor suggested she move to Los Angeles, where she met and married longtime character actor, Googy Gress (who is half southern – his mama being from Trussville, Alabama). They have raised three precious children who mind their manners and don’t talk back. Clarinda and her husband continue to work on stage and in TV and film. They split their time between California, and her hometown, Boone, North Carolina. www.clarindaross.com