July 31, 1946 – August 21, 2021
Dallas - Cherie Blanche Hamby Elledge-Grapes, age 75, made her crossing on August 21, 2021, at her home in Dallas, NC. She died peacefully in her sleep. A lifelong actor, she enjoyed a career that encompassed theater, film, and television. Daughter of Charles and Grace Elledge, who performed in Horn in the West Outdoor Drama from its beginnings in 1952, Cherie made her stage debut at a very young age and appeared in the drama every season for nearly two decades. While her father, Charlie Elledge is fondly remembered for his portrayal of "Preacher Sims" and Grace Elledge for portraying "Lady Suret" and understudying "Widder Howard," Cherie played several roles, beginning with"little pig-tailed Mary" as a child,and in her teenage years, the role of the ingenue,"Mary." In later seasons,she took on the role of "Nancy Ward."
Cherie was raised in Marion, NC, and graduated from Marion High School, where her father was Principal and her mother taught English.She was a vivacious baton-twirling majorette and a lover of animals, particularly her horse, Major.While attending the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, she became a member of The Playmaker's Theatre and acted in several productions.After college, she spent a year as a company member of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA, then moved to New York City, where she appeared in several Off-Broadway plays, as well as the television soap operas "Search for Tomorrow" and "The Edge of Night." She was cast in her first television commercial for Crisco and co-starred with Loretta Lynn. She made her movie debut in"Hot Summer in Barefoot County,"a film which also featured her father in a principal role and her mother in a cameo appearance. She went on to portray other film roles, including Elvira May in "Johnny Bull," Emily in "What Comes Around," Martha Bolton in "Last Days of Frank and Jessie," and Grandma in "Dangerous Curves." Most recently, she played Darlene in an episode of the NBC television series, "Game of Silence," and appeared in the Will Ferrell movie, "Talladega Nights."
In 2006 and 2007, Cherie Elledge-Grapes served as the Artistic Director of "Horn in the West"and the Elledge family tradition came full-circle when her daughter, Chloe, joined the cast of the drama.Billy Ralph Winkler, Chairman of the board of Directors of Southern Appalachian Historical Association,remembers first meeting Cherie when he was a fourteen year-old boy hired to clean up the grounds of the Daniel Boone Amphitheater.
"A few of the cast and company members had come to town early and were working backstage. One of them was a strikingly lovely young woman named Cherie, who I discovered played 'Mary' in the production, and was the daughter of 'Reverend Sims,' Charlie Elledge. We struck up a conversation and she introduced me to some of the others. Despite being an awkward teenager, Cherie made me feel immediately accepted as part of the Horn family. Our careers took us away for awhile, but never for long. I returned years later as manager, she in the role of 'Nancy Ward 'and later as Artistic Director. Cherie, Charlie, Grace and later, Chloe,always remained close to the Horn and represent in very real ways the love we all share for the drama and for each other. We not only have lost a colleague, but another member of our Horn family."
Cherie is survived by her daughter, Chloe Rose Grace Cheri-John Charlie Elledge-Grapes, and her granddaughter, Calla Elledge-Grapes, of Dallas, NC, former husband, John Grapes of Nashville, TN,a brother, Charles Hamby and his wife, Marie, of Miller's Creek, NC, a sister, Rita Ann Hunter and her husband, Darrell Hunter of Asheboro, NC, and a niece, René Zieg, and her husband, Rick, of Greensboro,NC.
The family will receive friends will be 5:00 – 6:30 p.m., Thursday, August 26th at Withers & Whisenant Funeral Home.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, if you feel the need to stay home, a card or phone call to the family will be appreciated.
Withers and Whisenant Funeral Home 2916 Union Rd. Gastonia 704-864-5144 will be serving the family.Condolences may be made to the family at www.withersandwhisenantfuneral.com