Born Dolores Goodman in Columbus, Ohio, Goodman was notoriously secretive about her age, successfully shaving off 15 years (giving a birthyear of 1929) for many years before the discrepancy was publicly debunked.
Goodman gained a measure of newspaper column space for her dancing solos in such Broadway musicals as High Button Shoes (1947), and Wonderful Town (1953). In 1955, she stopped the show in Off Broadway's Shoestring Revue with the novelty song "Someone's Been Sending Me Flowers." She also headlined Off-Broadway in the Jerry Herman musical revue Parade in 1960 with Charles Nelson Reilly. She returned to Broadway in 1974 to appear in Lorelei with Carol Channing.
Adopting the guise of a fey airhead, Goodman was good for a few off-the-wall quotes whenever she submitted to an interview. She came to the attention of nighttime talkshow host Jack Paar who, after becoming enchanted with her ditzy persona and seemingly spontaneous malaprops, invited her to become a semi-regular on The Tonight Show.
As Goodman's fame grew, she became difficult to handle on the show, and Paar was not happy with her upstaging habits. Commenting on another guest one evening, Paar quipped "Give them enough rope." "And they'll skip!" ad-libbed Goodman brightly. Dropped summarily by Paar in 1958, Goodman spent the next decade showing up on other talk programs, game shows and summer stock as a "professional celebrity."
Following Mary Hartman, Goodman's career gained momentum with regular appearances on TV's Diff'rent Strokes and Texas, movie roles in Grease and Splash, and cartoon voiceover work on Alvin and the Chipmunks and it's movie The Chipmunk Adventure.
Goodman posed for photographs by Cris Alexander in the Patrick Dennis mock-biography First Lady, as Martha Dinwiddie's sister Clytie, who in the story married a European Count Przyzplätcki (pron. "splatsky") and perished on the RMS Titanic. She also helped produce another book with Alexander's photography entitled Women, Women, Women!
She died on June 22, 2008 at the Englewood, New Jersey Hospital and Medical Center, after having lived at Englewood's famed Lillian Booth Actors' Home since October 2007.