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 TV Character Bios

(The Flying Nun)
 c/o Convent San Tanco
Town of San Tanco [pop.3,956]
 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sister Bertrille is a novice nun. Known as Elsie Ethrington in her civilian life, Elsie became Sister Bertrille and devoted herself to a new life in the Catholic Church helping others. She was assigned to a small hilltop convent near the town of San Juan, Puerto Rico which is run by the Sisters of San Tanco. The convent was built in 1572 under the auspices of the King of Spain. Its annual rent is but one dollar (during a 99 year lease).

Sally Field as Sister Bertrille
Sister Bertrille, The Flying Nun

Sister Bertrille's new family of Sisters included the stern but understanding Reverend Mother Superior Plaseato, Sister Jacqueline (a former advertising clerk and sidekick to Sister Bertrille), Sister Ana, Sister Sixto (a Puerto Rican nun who had trouble with English phraseology), and Sister Theresa.

Other visitors to Sister Bertrille's day-to-day existence were Brother Paul Bernardi, whom the nuns consider a jinx; Marcello, an orphan boy; Police Captain Gaspar Formento; and the charming playboy, Carlos Ramirez, the owner of a discotheque (Casino Carlos a-Go-Go) and patron of the convent. Carlos' Jewish niece, Linda Shapiro aspired to become a nun. They call her "The Little Nun."

During Sister Bertrille's stay in this beautiful tropical environment, she earned the nickname of "The Flying Nun." Why? Because, one day, her petite 5' 2" 90 pound body was lifted off the ground by a gust from the trade winds - courtesy of the aerodynamic design of her Order's stiff, starched cornette. ("When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, objects fly.") Sister Bertrille soon learned to use the wind and her Order's headgear to travel about the town of San Tanco and other destinations. Sometimes, she crash-landed into the ocean or a tree, but the perky young nun took these misfortunes in stride and was soon back into the air.

Sister Bertrille's ability to fly came in handy on many occasions. But sometimes, it got her into trouble. Like the time, she was mistaken for an enemy aircraft and almost shot down. And another time a pelican fell in love with her. Then there was the time a boy was convinced that "The Flying Nun" was his mother returned from heaven. And the worst, was the time Sister Bertrille disrupted a meeting of mobsters when she inadvertently made a landing in their midst.

But, perhaps, her most memorable adventure was during the Christmas season when an ailing Norwegian nun, Sister Olaf, wished for snow. So like Santa Claus, Sister Bertrille soared up, up and away into the clouds to seed them with chemicals which produced the desired effect - a wonderful holiday snow shower for Sister Olaf.

A Gaggle of Nuns (Plaseato, Jacqueline and Bertrille)

Before her stint as a nun, Sister Bertrille (Elsie) lived a quiet suburban middle-class upbringing in Chicago. Elsie was voted “Most Far-Out of 1965“ in high school. She also worked as a counselor at Camp Laughing Water in 1966, played in a rock band called “The Gorries,“ and had an adolescent romance with a young man named Randy Putnam.

Elsie’s family members included her father, a doctor; her mother, a surgical nurse; her brother, a second year medical school student; and Elsie's older sister, Jennifer, an obstetrician working for the Peace Corp. Once during a visit to Puerto Rico to see her little sister, Jennifer met Carlos Ramirez. He became infatuated with Jennifer for a time.

Besides Jennifer, Carlos was also quite fond of Sister Bertrille and admired her from afar. He did what ever he could to help Sister Bertrille and the convent, offering his money and connections to get things done.

And what did Carlos want in return for his generosity? Well, nothing, except perhaps, finding a way to keep Sister Bertrille from interrupting his social activities. You see, our little Flying Nun had the uncanny ability to solicit Carlos' help each and every time he was in the middle of a romantic encounter with a beautiful woman.

Sister Bertrille and Carlos Ramirez

Sister Bertrille and Carlos Ramirez

Sister Bertrille and her friend Carlos Ramirez

Continued next page >


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