Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Whatever happened to Denis Mandel (Eugene Belvin on Happy Days)?

Denis Mandel was born on July 28, 1954.  Information about his personal life is scarce.  His references do not even list his place of birth, only that he was born in the United States.  He obviously wants to keep his private life private.

Denis is best known as the character actor who played Eugene Belvin in ten episodes of Happy Days from 1980 to 1982.  Eugene appeared in Seasons 8 and 9 of the show.  He and his twin brother, Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein), were nerdy classmates of Joanie (Eerin Moran) and Chachi (Scott Baio) at Jefferson High.  Eugene and Melvin frequently tagged along with Joanie and Chachi's circle of friends.  Eugene had a crush on Jenny Piccolo (Cathy Silvers)., Joanie's boy-crazy best friend.  He also attended Fonzie's auto shop class 

Below is a photo of Denis as Eugene Belvin on Happy Days, wearing turtle shell glasses and an argyle sweater.

After his stint on Happy Days, Denis appeared in a 1982 episode of the popular crime drama, CHiPs, starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox as motorcycle police.  Denis portrayed Morgan in an episode of the series entitled "Overload" (Season 5, Episode 25, Air Date (May 2, 1982).  He also played Josh in Mortuary. a 1983 feature horror film.

Denis had a minor role in the 1984 television movie, The Seduction of Gina.  He played a "resident" in this TV film about gambling, starring Valerie Bertinelli.  Bertinelli had the title role of Gina Breslin, a bored newlywed who discovers blackjack on a visit to Lake Tahoe, and becomes obsessed with gambling.

Denis appeared as Eddie in the 1990 feature film, Brush with Death, an action thriller.  He also portrayed Nick in a 1990 episode of the prime time soap Knot's Landing called "If I Die Before I Wake."  (Season 11, Episode 27, Air Date: May 3, 1990).

Denis Mandel's last television acting role was a 1992 guest-starring role in Home Front, a historical drama.  He played Striker Ted  in an episode called "If You Want it Done Right" Season 1, Episode 22, Air Date (April 1, 1992) in this series about the aftermath of World War II.

So, what happened to Denis after he stopped acting circa 1992?  It seems that he has done some writing.  According to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb), he was nominated for the James Kirkwood Writing Prize (1997) for Highway 56.  He also finished second in the Arizona Authors Association National Literary Contest (2000).  

 According to a 2018 post called "Happy Days, Where Did They Go?" on the Cleverst. website, Denis "retired from acting and is currently living in L.A."  Denis, if you so desire, I invite you to send me an email keeping fans about to date about yourself.  I would be very pleased if you would do so, and I would like to publish it for the readers of TV Banter.

- Joanne 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Y&R Report (September 18, 2021): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet.  Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance

Hi fans,

I'm back from my summer hiatus and raring to go.  I may have taken a break from writing this column, but I haven't taken a break from watching the show.  A lot has happened on Y&R this summer and I'm eager to discuss it. with you.  So, let's get started.

I'm beginning to think that Chance is never coming home.  An online spoiler reveals that "Abby's life will implode after she receives shocking news."  Could that be news of Chance's death or that he has gone missing.  I wouldn't rule out either scenario..  Would Mariah and Tessa then seek custody of baby Dominic, or "Bowie," as Mariah calls him?  That's a distinct possibility.  

There has been speculation that the role of Chance has been recast.  If so, then Y&R is certainly taking it's sweet timing in returning him home to Genoa City.  I know they want viewers to keep watching, but Chance has been gone too long.  I hope his fate is soon revealed.  We should know something soon because Victor Newman is becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated by his son-in-law's absence. and he is upset about how it has been affecting Abby and the baby.  That's why he suggested to Ashley that they put their heads together and figure out what to do about it.

Y&R viewers can't help but notice that little Dominic is being played by a blanket.  We haven't seen the face of a real baby yet.  The reason is probably related to COVID-19.protocol..  I must say that I'm glad that the child wasn't christened Philip Chancellor V.  He's going to be confused enough as it is, without having to bear such an aristocratic name.

It looks as if there's a new love triangle between Jack, and Phyllis and Nick.  Jack has never gotten over Phyllis.  As Jack himself admitted, he became attracted to Sally Spectra because she is feisty and red-haired like Phyllis. It didn't work because she's a younger imitation of Phyllis.  She's not Phyllis, though.  She's not the real thing deep down in Jack's heart.        

Billy Boy, Billy Boyt!  You can't have it both ways.  You seem to be content with Lily, but you are unwilling to to let go of Victoria.  It's understandable that you would be curious about Ashland's mysterious past, but your interest in the media tycoon goes beyond normal curiosity. It's an obsession.  Ashland and Lily are right to think you still have feelings for Victoria.  

Still, Billy is right that Ashland Locke is hiding something big.  In the previews, we saw that a man is trying to blackmail him.  He is demanding millions from Locke in return for not revealing his secret.  According to Soap Opera Digest, the man is a lawyer with information on Ashland's past.

Adam just had to call on Dr. Sharon, M.A. to talk to Connor about his separation from Chelsea.  The boy was very perceptive about Sharon.  He didn't really believe what he was told about the "professional therapist."  Of all people, Adam chose to bring Sharon into the volatile situation.  Even if Sharon were a qualified therapist, which she is not, she is too emotionally involved with Adam to be objective.  Of course, Adam had to choose her over many true professionals.  Adam can't stay away from her and she can't stay away from him.

Sharon does not like Sally Spectra and you can read the jealousy on her face whenever Sally shows up.  However, it won't be easy for Sally to capture Adam's heart, since he's so enraptured by Sharon.  Sally keep trying, though.  Connor really likes her.  In fact, he finds her quite amusing.  Sally may use that to her advantage in her quest to win over Adam.

Have you noticed how often Y&R character have been listening in to private conversations and spying?  They've always done than, but it seems they are doing it more often lately  The biggest culprits are Phyllis, Billy Abbott and Sally Spectra.



New actor to play Noah Newman

Rory Gibson

The role of Noah Newman has been recast.  Rory Gibson will take over the role from Robert Adamson.  Adamson last appeared as Noah in September of 2020.  Rory, a relative newcomer, has had roles in the films A Night to Regret (2018), Severed Road and Grace (2019).

Y&R wouldn't have recast Noah unless there is a big storyline waiting for him.  I wonder about whom he would become involved with when he returns to Genoa City.  The only ones who comes to mind are Sally Spectra or Lola Rosales. whenever she returns from Miami.  Truth be told, Lola didn't have much of a  storyline when she left.  We don't know who's doing the cooking at Society during her absence.  I'd love to try some of her famous chicken soup.  It seems to be a great cure for whatever ails you.  As for the opportunistic Sally Spectra, she would certainly be attracted to another Newman, if her attempts to become involved with Adam don't work out.  Victor, Nikki and Nick certainly wouldn't be happy if she attracted Noah.  It's entirely possible, especially if Noah takes a job with Neman Media, where Sally works.

No date has been revealed for Gibson's debut, but he is expected to make his soap debut "later this fall."

Kate Linder (Esther Valentine) injured

Kate Linder

Kate Linder, who has portrayed Esther Valentine on the Y&R since 1982, has sustained injuries while attending to her elderly mother.  Kate's publicist said that the actress is undergoing physical therapy in the hospital.  The good news is that she is expected to return to work soon.  In a recent statement, Kate thanked "my mon, my friends, and my Y&R family for their outgoing of good wishes and support."  


Janice Lynde

* Longtime Y&R viewers will be pleased to know that original cast member Janice Lynde will be returning to the show for multiple episodes this fall.  Janice played concert pianist Leslie Brooks.  Janice appeared in the very first episode of Y&R back in 1973.  She was a regular cast member until 1977.  She last appeared on the show in 2018 as part of Y&R's 45th anniversary celebration.

Since Nikki keeps mentioning Leslie Brooks concerts in Italy, that tells me that Victoria's family and friends will gather in Italy for her wedding to Ashland Locke despite any skeletons in Locke;s closet.  Who knows if the actual wedding will happen or if it will be disrupted.

* The recurring role of the lawyer with information on Ashland Locke's is being played by Jamison Jones, ex-Bill Brick, Days of Our Lives; ex-Dr. Warren Kirk/Brady Bevin, General Hospital.

* Congratulations to Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea Lawson) and her husband, Matt Katrosar,  on the birthday of their son, Cadem Robert Katrosar on August 21, 2021.

* Congratulations to Michael Graziadei, who played Phyillis'' son, Daniel Romalotti. Michael is the proud father of twin baby boys, Oliver Bear and Arlo Wilde, born on August 25, 2021.

* Condolences to Jess Walton (Jill Abbott) on the death of her husband of 40 years, John James, who passed away of terminal liver cancer in August.

* Fans of Summer (Hunter King) and Kyle (Michael Mealor) will be able to watch the couple on screen one more time before they get married and head off into the sunset, at least for now.


Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott)

Now that Tara and Harrison have gone, Jack Abbott is a lonely man in that cavernous Abbott mansion.  He's still pining over Phyllis.  Fans, do you think Jack is better suited to Phyllis than she is with Nick Newman?  I think Phyllis has a better rapport with Jack than with Nick.  Do you agree or disagree?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you prefer Phyllis with Nick or with Phyllis?
Phyllis and Nick sizzle together as a couple. I want them to be together.
Phyllis and Jack have good communication and they understand each other.  I prefer her with Jack.
I really don't care. I don't like Phyllis.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Create polls here


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  I really need your input.  I really need to hear your opinion.  I want to know if you agree or disagree with me. 

My email address:

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, October 2, 2021.   

Take care,


Thursday, September 2, 2021

More Jeopardy! upheaval: Mike Richards is out as producer

Jeopardy!search for a host to replace the late Alex Trebek has been long, sloppy and unsavoury.  I doubt that Alex would be very pleased at how poorly it was handled. and how messy it has become.  The show's fans can only hope that Mike Richards' resignation as host, and his subsequent firing as executive producer, will finally end all the upheaval.   As regular TV Banter readers know, I am a huge fan of Jeopardy! and I am quite disappointed at how the choice of a new host has been handled.  You'd think they would have found a better way.

I originally thought that Mike Richards would make a fine successor to Alex.  I wasn't the only one.  He received a mostly favourable response for this two-week performance as guest host.  That's because he appears quite charming before a camera and he has a pleasing speaking voice.  

On August 11, 2021, Mike Richards was chosen host of the daily syndicated show, with Mayim Bialik presiding over prime time specials.  Then came the revelation that Richards was named in wrongful termination and pregnancy discrimination lawsuits regarding two models at The Price is Right, where he was executive producer. 

Mike Richards' gig as host of Jeopardy! only lasted for about a week.  He had already taped five episodes of the show when more damaging revelations came to light.  Reporter Claire McNear released a report about a 2013 podcast, hosted by Richards, in which he made offensive comments about women, Jews and Haitians.  Richards apologized, but it was not enough to save his new job.  The following week, under increasing pressure, he stepped down as host of Jeopardy!  Sony Pictures Television stated that he would remain as the show's executive producer, although he would be required to take sensitivity training.  

Mike Richards

However, the controversy wasn't over yet.  McNear issued details indicating that there was low morale among some members of the Jeopardy! staff's during Mike Richards' time in office.  The New York Times reported that Richards had directed the search for a host in his own favour.  It was all too much. Richards was immediately fired and Mayim Bialik was asked to step in as temporary host.  It became painfully obvious that not enough due diligence had been before appointing Richards host.  He was not vetted thoroughly enough.  

It is clear to me now that the selection process was far from kosher.  Something was not right about an executive producer being chosen as host.  Even if untrue, it appeared that Mike Richards' status as executive director had influenced the show's choice of host and that the fix was in.  Something was very rotten in the state of Jeopardy! and it left quite a stench.  For the sake of the loyal viewers of the show, let's hope that the stench is removed and that an appropriate host is to replace Alex Trebek, a host that will be worthy of carrying on Alex's legacy.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE(September 17, 2021):  Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will share Jeopardy! hosting duties for the remainder of 2021.  After the Mike Richards fiasco, it's no surprise that the powers that be want to be very careful.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Whatever happened to Angie Dickinson?

"Actress Angie Dickinson proved strong woman have a place on the small screen and the American workplace when she stepped into the iconic role of Pepper Anderson, an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department, in the groundbreaking show, Police Woman . . . Her strong-willed, competent character helped demonstrate to America that men and women could work together without romantic entanglements.", Pioneers of Television

Believe it or not, Angie Dickinson is approaching her 90th birthday.  Angie was born Angeline Brown on September 30, 1931, in Kulm, North Dakota, a small American town with a population of about 740.  She is the daughter of Leo H. Brown, and his wife, Frederica.  Her parents published the town's weekly newspaper, The Kalm Messenger, and later The Edgeley Mail in Edgeley, North Dakota.

Angie grew up going to movies. "My daddy was the projectionist, so we got in for free.  And I loved movies," she told CBS Sunday Morning in a 2019 interview..  The town only had one movie theatre, and, according to Angie, they "cried for a week" when the theatre burned down.  In 1942, when Angie was ten years old, the Brown family moved to Southern California.  Angie attended Bellamine-Jefferson High School, a private Roman Catholic school in Burbank, where she graduated at the age of 15.  She later  continued her studies at Glendale Community College and then graduated in 1954 with a degree in business from Immaculate Heat College in Los Angeles.  

While a student, Angie found employment as a secretary at Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank (now Bob e Hope Airport) and at an airplane parts factory.  She also competed in beauty contests, which led to to an appearance as a commercial model on The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1954.  That show made quite an impression on her.  "Jimmy Durante was singing with Frank Sinatra," she explained to CBS News.  "That was it," I said.  "This is for me."  She decided to go into show business.

In 1954, Angie began her television acting career with bit parts as a party guest on Lucky Me and as a receptionist on The Mickey Rooney Show.  That same year, he had a bigger role as Comrade Margaret in an episode of the Emmy-nominated spy drama I Had Three Lives (Season 2, Episode 20).

During the 1950s, Angie appeared in episodes of  several popular TV Westerns such as Death Valley Days (1954), The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1956), Gunsmoke (1957),, Cheyenne (1957) and Have Gun-Will Travel (1957) and Wagon Train (1959).

Below is a 1957 photo of Angie in Cheyenne with Clint Walker.

Angie had her big screen breakthrough role as Janice in the Western movie Gun the Man Down (1956 with James Arness.  She enjoyed even greater success when she was cast in another Western,  Howard Hawks' 1959 film, Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, her childhood idol, and Dean Martin.  Angie portrayed a flirtatious saloon girl named Feathers in Rio Bravo, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1960.

Angie also appeared in episodes of many TV series in the 1950s.that were not Westerns, including The Millionaire (1956), two episodes of The Bob Cummings Show (1957, 1958) and Perry Mason (1958),  as Marian Fargo in "The Case of the One-Eyed Witness" (Season 1, Episode 23, Air Date: February 22, 1958).

In 1960, Angie co-starred with the Rat Pack in Oceans 11, a crime caper film in which she played Frank Sinatra's wife.  Angie dated the famed crooner.  "We got very close to getting married in 1964," she said in her interview with CBS News correspondent Mo Rocca..  However, according to Angie, Sinatra's lifestyle was not what she wanted, and he told her that he was not going to marry an actress. (Frank married actress Mia Farrow in 1966).  In the interview, Angie also denied persistent rumours that she had an affair with President John F. Kennedy.  "There was no reason or grounds for thinking that I was seeing him, and I wasn't." she stated.

In the 1960s, Angie made guest appearance in episodes of such series as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962, 1965), The Fugitive (1965), Dr. Kildare (1965), The Jack Benny Program (1965) and The Virginian (1966).  In the early 1970s, she had roles in TV movies such as The Love War (1979), The Resurrection of Zachery Wheeler (1971), See the Man Run (1971) and The Norliss Tapes (1973).

Despite her six decades in show business. Angie Dickinson is best known for her portrayal of Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson on the NBC crime series Police Woman.  Angie played Pepper Anderson from 1974 to 1978 , a role for which she received three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe in the category of  Best Actress in a Drama Series.  She actually hesitated about taking the role until producer David Gerber asked, "Don't you wanna be a household name?"

Angie's character, Sergeant Anderson, was an undercover agent for the criminal conspiracy department of the Los Angeles Police Department.  She worked on a vice-squad team with two other undercover cop and posed as everything from a prostitute to the girlfriend of a mobster.  Police Woman is notable because it was one of the earliest American weekly network TV dramas with a female lead.  Until Police Woman came along in 1974, women weren't seen as top cops.

Angie in Police Woman 1975
Angie Dickinson received much attention for her role in Brian De Palma's 1980 crime thriller, Dressed to Kill.  In the film, she portrayed the ill-fated Kate Miller., an unhappily married woman who decides to have an affair with a mysterious stranger.  She ends up being gruesomely murdered.

In 1982, Angie starred in a detective drama called Cassie & Co.  She played Cassie Holland, a feisty former police officer- turned private investigator.  The series was cancelled after only 13 episodes.  
In the 1980s, Angie appeared in a number of TV movies including One Shoe Makes It Murder (1982), Jealousy (1984), A Touch of Scandal (1984), Once Upon a Texas Train (1988), Fire and Rain (1989), Prime Target (1989) and Kojak: Fatal Flaw (1989)..  In Touch of Scandal, Angie played Katherine Gilvey, a California councilwoman whose campaign for attorney general is jeopardized by some scandalous photos that turn up.
In the 1990s, Angie made guest appearances on such television series as Empty Nest (1991), The Larry Sanders Show (1997), Diagnosis Murder (1997)  and Ellen (1997).  She also played Josie Ito in the 1993 TV mini series Wild Palms. Wild Palms was a drama about a multi-national corporation's attempt to take control of the United Stated amid small pockets of resistance to rampant technology.  The five-part series had an ensemble cast featuring Jim Belushi, Kim Catrall, Robert Loggia  and Robert Morse.  

Angie Dickinson guest-starred as Evelyn Worth in a 2004 episode of the family drama Judging Amy.  The episode is entitled "Catching It Early" (Season 6, Episode 6, Air Date: November 30, 2004).  She also co-starred with Laura Leighton in a 2009 Hallmark Channel television film called Mending Fences, her last television acting role.  She played the mother of Leighton's character.  

Angie has been married twice.  On June 2, 1952, she married Gene Dickinson, whom she met at Glendale College.  Gene was a star on Glendale's football team and he later became involved in the electronics business.  The couple divorced in 1959.  After their divorce, she retained his last name.

On May 15, 1965, Angie Dickinson wed American composer and songwriter Burt Bacharach.  She and Bacharach separated in 1976 and divorced in 1981.  Angie had some unflattering things to say about her former husband in her 2019 CBS interview.   When asked why she fell for Bacharach, Angie replied, "Well, that's very hard to summarize.  He was so different."  She said that their separation was an unhappy time and that he "should never have been married."  She claimed that Burt "never really loved me, I can tell you right now, the way one loves."  She added, "He loved in his own way, which is not too good.  And so, he had no respect for me."

Below is a photo of Angie and Burt two weeks after they married.

Angie and Burt had a daughter, Leah Nikki, known as Nikki.  Nikki was born three months prematurely on July 12, 1966. She battled Asperger's Disorder. a form of autism.  Angie and Burt eventually placed their daughter in a psychiatric treatment facility for adolescents in Minnesota, where she remained for about nine years.  Nikki later studied geology at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, a city in Ventura County, California.  However, her poor vision prevented her from pursuing a career as a geologist.

Angie and Burt with baby Nikki in 1966

Sadly, on January 4, 2007, Nikki Bacharach committed suicide in her apartment in Ventura County, California.  She was 40 years old.

Angie Dickinson lives by herself now in Beverly Hills.  In a 2011 interview with AARP, she said, "I'm not looking for work.  I've had my day in the sun, and I am very content."


* Angie had two sisters, Mary Lou Belmont and Janet Lee Brown.  Mary Lou (born 1929) suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died in 2005.  According to a 1990 article in Deseret News, Angie Dickinson and her sisters were never close while growing up in North Dakota with an alcoholic father.  The article stated, however, that Angie was overseeing the case of he sister, Mary Lou, who was no longer able to bathe, dress and feed herself.  

* Angie is a Democrat and she supported John F. Kennedy in his 1960 presidential campaign.  Angie's political views made her feel awkward around John Wayne, who was a staunch Republican.

* In 1973, Angie was a guest performer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.

* In November of 1989, Angie refused  to take part in a NBC This is Your Life special, a surprise tribute to herself.  When announcer Ralph Edwards announced backstage , "This is your life, Angie Dickinson!!" Angie replied "No!.It's NOT.!!  She then fled the scene, leaving behind host Pat Sajak and the guests, including her family and a group of her celebrity and hometown friends.  When asked the reason why she would not allow herself to be honoured," she declared, "All these people are supposed to come around and rave about you.  I think they should have organized it the other way around, so I could have talked about their importance."

* Angie made a cameo appearance in the 2001 remake of Oceans 11, which starred Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

* Angie was a natural brunette.  She lightened her hair to a honey colour, and then became a blonde for Police Woman.

* Angie is an avid poker player.  She was taught how to play by stuntmen and is still playing.  She had a small part as a poker player in the 2000 film The Last Producer, a comedy directed by Burt Reynolds.

SOURCES: CBS News (, "Frank Talk with Angie Dickinson," February 24, 2019; Vanity Fair, "A Legend With Legs," by Sam Kashner, January 2008); Notable Names Database (NNDB); Deseret News (, "Dickinson Comes to Sister's Aid," November 6, 1990; AARP (, "A Pioneering Police Woman," by Jack Curry, January 27, 2011;, Pioneers of TelevisionWikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

- Joanne

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Keeping up with Cindy Sampson of Private Eyes

Fans have been watching the fifth and final season of the Canadian detective series Private Eyes, which debuted in 2015 on Global TV.  The show stars Vancouver-born Jason Priestly and Cindy Sampson.  Cindy portrays Angie Everett, a private investigator, who takes on a former hockey player, Matt Shade (Priestly) as her junior business partner.  I enjoy the series, as well as the romantic chemistry between Shade and Angie (fans have nicknamed them "Shangie.").  Private Eyes is set in Toronto, Ontario, my hometown, so I have fun identifying the city's landmarks.

Cindy Sampson and Jason Priestly of Private Eyes

Cindy Marie Sampson was born on May 27, 1978 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was raised in the province.  She attended Randolph Academy of the Performing Arts (now the Randolph College of the Performing Arts) in Toronto, where she was trained in dance and musical theatre.

While in high school, Cindy appeared in Street Cents, the award-winning Canadian consumer show for teens.  The show won several Gemini Awards  in Canada, as well as an International Emmy Award.  For Cindy Sampson, it was a stepping stone to a television career.

Cindy won critical acclaim for her performance as Zoe Ravena in the drama thriller Live Once, Die Twice, a 2006 Canadian television film.

From 2006 to 2007, Cindy portrayed Sandra MacLaren in eight episodes of the short-lived CBC comedy-drama Rumours.  The show focused on the co-editors of Rumours, a struggling women's magazine in Toronto.

From 2007 until 2011, Cindy had the recurring role of Lisa Braeden in 11 episodes of Supernatural, an American fantasy-horror TV series about two brothers who fight demons and monsters and all sorts of other evil beings.

Cindy starred in the 2010 Canadian television horror film The Shrine.  The film is about some journalists who travel to a remote village in Poland to investigate a string of mysterious disappearances.  To prepare for her her role in The Shrine, Cindy was required to view a number of horror films from a prepared list.

Cindy played Molly Crocker in five 2009 episodes of the Canadian crime-drama series Durham County.  She also guest-starred as Jaime Toth in three 2015 episodes of Rookie Blue, a Canadian police drama.  From 2015 to 2016, Cindy had the recurring role of Sophie Hale in eight episodes of The Rogue, a crime-drama.  The Rogue was a Canadian-British-American co-production, filmed in Vancouver and set in Northern California.

In 2019, Cindy appeared in two episodes of the crime-drama series Hudson and Rex.

Cindy is married to Ryan Wickel, a Canadian home decorator and refurbisher, who is based in Toronto.  From 2002 to 2006, Ryan attended Wilfrid Laurier in Waterloo, Ontario.  In 2011, he attended Lakeland College in Alberta.  

Ryan Wickel

Cindy and Ryan tied the knot in a small, private ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada  on July 7, 2016,  They later invited close relatives and friends to a wedding reception party at a seashore club in Hubbards, Nova Scotia, on August 12, 2016.


* Cindy Sampson appeared in a TV commercial for Crest toothpaste in which she "flexed" her arm muscles.

* After five season, Global cancelled Private Eyes.  Tony Reeb, the executive vice-president of  broadcast  networks at Corus Entertainment, stated that the company had spoken with producers and they decided that the show "had hit its creative arc" and "wanted the show to go out on top."  Jason Priestly, however, described the cancellation as a "great surprise" to the cast and crew of the series.  He opined that Private Eyes had more life left in it.  "I'm very sad to see the show coming to an end.  I wasn't ready to be done with the show. I don't think any of us were," he said.

Jason was one of the producers who developed Private Eyes from the novel The Code by G.B. Joyce.  He also directed some of the episodes of the series.

* In February of 2012, Cindy Sampson travelled to Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean, an uninhabited subantarctic volcanic island, which also happens to be the most remote island in the world.  She climbed the island's summit while filming the "docu-fiction" movie Expedition for the Future."

SOURCES: Amo Mama (, "Glimpse into 'Private Eyes' Cindy Sampson's Personal Life with Her Husband of 3 years," by Oyin Balogun, December 10, 2019; "The Canadian Press, "Jason Priestly says 'Private Eyes' demise came 'a great surprise'," by Victoria Ahearn, July 8, 2021; Ryan Wickel's Linked In page; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Keeping up with Ann Marshall

Ann Marshall was born Joann Marshall on July 17, 1946.  I haven't been able to find Ann's birthplace online.  Sources only say that she was born in the United States and that she lived in Illinois during her early childhood.  Ann began her show business career at the age of four at a local television station in Springfield.  She also sang regularly on a children's radio program in Peoria, Illinois called Juvenile Theatre.  

In the 1960s, Ann moved to Hollywood, California.  She had a bit part in a 1960 episode of The Ann Sothern Show, in which she played "the daughter."  From 1961 to 1971, Ann made nine appearances in episodes of My Three Sons. For the final four of those episodes, she portrayed a character named Cynthia Wright.  Ann also guest-starred in episodes of Hazel (1962) and Vacation Playhouse (1963).  

 In 1963, Ann played the role of Angela Brown in three episodes of My Favorite Martian, including the very first episode of the series.  Her character, Angela, was the daughter of Mrs. Lorelei Brown (Panela Briton), the landlady of reporter Tim O'Hara (Bill Bixby).  Angela was a sweet teen who had a crush on Bill Bixby's character.  However, she was dropped from the show after only appearing in three episodes.  Her last episode was "Man or Amoeba" (Season 1, Episode 5, Air Date: October 27, 1963).

Ann Marshall as Angela on My Favorite Martian

Ann Marshall also played Sissy Brennan a 1963 TV movie called Mickey and the Contessa.  Her co-stars were Mickey Shaughnessy and Eva Gabor. In this comedy of manners, Gabor portrayed a noblewoman, who after escaping from behind the Iron Curtain, can only find a job as a maid for the family of a high school gym teacher.

In the 1970s, Ann had guest roles in episodes of such series as Marcus Welby, M.D. (1970) and The Smith Family, starring Henry Fonda and Ron Howard (1971).,  In 1982, Ann appeared as a reporter in an episode of The Fall Guy, starring Lee Majors.  

Ann married Edward Stephen "Eddy" Medora on January 16, 1971.  Eddy Medora, born in Los Angeles in 1945, was a guitarist, saxophone-player, singer and songwriter.  He played guitar for the Sunrays, a band from Pacific Palisades, California, with a close association to the Beach Boys.  The Sunrays broke up in 1967 and Medora moved on to a successful career as Director of National Sales for Walt Disney Records.  He retired in 2002 and began to paint portraits, which were very popular in Beverly Hills.

Ann's marriage to Eddy lasted until his death on October 27, 2006.  The couple had two children, a son, Christopher and a daughter., Nicole.    

On her official website, Ann Marshall says that she "still goes out for interviews for voice-overs and on-camera jobs."  She plays a lot of tennis and has participated in many celebrity tournaments (She won the Steve Garvey Celebrity Tennis Tournament twice in a row).  Ann also does some travelling.


* Ann became the first female newscaster in Los Angeles when she wrote and broadcast the news on KHJ TV Channel 9.  

* Ann has appeared in more than 150 American commercials and she served as the spokesperson for Carrow's Restaurants for over five years.  She has also done over 200 voice-overs.

* Ann was the lead singer for a group called Heaven Bound, which had three charted records.

Below is a more recent photo of Ann Marshall.

SOURCES: Ann Marshall's Official Site (; Independent; Obituary, Eddy Medora: Guitarist with the Sunrays, November 16, 2006; Wikipedia; IMDb (Internet Movie Database)


Thursday, August 12, 2021

Jeopardy! finally chooses

Well, Jeopardy! fans, the suspense is over.  The show has finally chosen a new host to replace the beloved Alex Trebek - excuse me, let's make that two new hosts.  Alex's shoes are hard to fill.

Yesterday, it was announced that executive producer Mike Richards and former Big Bang Theory star and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik will share the duties.  Richards will host the daily syndicated program, while Bialik will preside over prime time and spinoff versions, including the upcoming Jeopardy! National College Championship, scheduled to air on ABC in 2022.  

Mike Richards will be the primary host and continue as executive producer for both the prime time and syndicated series of Jeopardy!  He will remain executive producer of Wheel of Fortune as well.  The choice of Richards is not surprising, but it is also not without controversy.  A decade ago, Richares was involved in a discrimination lawsuit concerning the decision to fire a Price is Right model who became pregnant.  He addressed the issue with a memo to Jeopardy! staff in which he wrote the following: "There were allegations made in employment disputes against the show.  I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right.  I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent.  It is the most important thing in the world to me.  I would not say anything to disrespect anyone's pregnancy and  have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys."

That's fair enough.  Richards certainly has a perfect right to defend himself against allegations relating to the lawsuits.  Here's what bothers me and some other Jeopardy! fans.  There is little doubt that Mike Richards is a good game show host and that he does the job very well.  There was the appearance, that Richards, as executive assistant, chose himself as the host of Jeopardy!  Sony Pictures, of course, immediately assured everybody that that was not true.  According to CNN Business, he production company stated: "We knew early on that we wanted to divide the hosting responsibilities, and it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices.  They were both at the top of our research and analysis."

Still, something does not seem entirely kosher.  One can't help but wonder if a second co-host, a woman, was chosen to deflect some of the criticism off Mike Richards.  Of course, the choice of Richards and Bialik could never have pleased everyone.  As always, with such matters, there is disappointment and dissatisfaction in some circles.  Some Jeopardy! watchers had hoped that The Greatest of All Time winner, Ken Jennings, would get the gig.  If it's any consolation, Jennings will return as consulting producer of the show. Meanwhile, other Jeopardy! viewers were disappointed that actor and television host LeVar Burton was not chosen.  It was impossible to please everyone and every candidate had flaws.  

* On yesterday's show, current Jeopardy! champion Matt Amodio surpassed $500,000 in earnings.

- Joanne

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Update on Jeopardy!

 As regular readers of TV Banter know, Jeopardy! is my favourite game show.  Here's the latest Jeopardy! news as fans wait for a new host to replace the last Alex Trebek.  The show has been without a permanent host since Trebek died of pancreatic cancer last November.

* According to Variety, Jeopardy!'s executive producer, Mike Richards, has been in advanced negotiations for the prestigious job.  However, the show declined to comment on whether Richards, who guest-hosted the show from late February to early March, is in negotiations.  Variety reported that Sony Pictures Television, which produces Jeopardy!, was impressed with Richards' style and his on-air comportment.  Nevertheless, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures said that there were ongoing discussions with other potential candidates for the position.

Mike Richards

After watching Mike Richards' performance as guest host, I was also impressed with him.  In fact, on January 24, 2921, I posted an entry on my blog saying that he would make an excellent permanent host for the show.  Since then, certain factors have come to light which have altered my opinion.  Variety reported that Richards was named among the defendants in multiple discrimination lawsuits filed during decade-long run as producer of The Price is Right, including one in 2010, from Price is Right model Brandi Cochran.  Cochran accused Richards of firing her because of a difficult pregnancy.  In 2011, another Price is Right model, Lanisha Cole, stated that she was wrongfully fired and that she had been the victim of sexual harassment on the set of the popular game show.  In 2013, Richards was removed as a plaintiff in Cole's suit.  The case was eventually settled outside of court.  

There isn't a great deal of information available about Mike's personal life.  He appears to be a very private person.  According to Wikipedia,  however,. Mike and his wife, Stephanie, have two sons.  Although I am still quite impressed with Richards' on-air manner and the way he conducts game shows, I think Jeopardy! should take a very careful look at his character and his personal integrity, as well as the past allegations against him, before naming him the successor of Alex Trebek.  It's time to hold back before announcing a final decision.  What if more allegations arise.  The last thing Jeopardy! needs is a huge scandal involving its new host.  There are certainly other excellent candidates to consider if Richards is not a suitable choice.

* Jeopardy! contestant Matt Amodio is making waves and he definitely has fans' tongues wagging.  Matt seems unbeatable right now.  He appears to be the best player in years, another Ken Jennings in the making.  The Yale University Computer Science Ph.D student from New Haven, Connecticut has already ensured a spot for himself on the quiz show's all-time winnings list and a place in the game show's Hall of Fame.

Matt said that his first win was the sweetest of them all.  He stated, "Once you [win] once, that's just such a great accomplishment.  Nobody can ever take that away from you."

Matt Amodio

As of this writing, Matt Amodio is the fourth-highest champion in Jeopardy! history.  He had his 14th consecutive victory yesterday (August 9, 2021) and has amassed winnings of $440,600 so far.  There is no doubt that Amodio is a very highly skilled Jeopardy! contestant.  His mind is a treasure trove of knowledge.  However, he does have one bizarre quirk that has driven some Jeopardy! fans crazy.  When an answer is a person, he uses "what" instead of "who."  This caused one Twitter user to asked, "Is Matt the most annoying contestant ever?  Is it so hard to say "who is" or "make it a true daily double."  

Matt's weird quirk doesn't bother some Jeopardy! fans, but I have to admit that it bothers me.  I admire Matt's talent as a player, but I also find Matt's quirk rather annoying.  For some reason, it gnaws at me, like the scratching of a chalkboard.  Nevertheless, he's already one of the most dominant Jeopardy! contestants ever.  It will be fascinating to watch how far he can go.

- Joanne

Friday, July 30, 2021

TV Look-alikes


There are many look-alike television actors.  Number 16 has compiled some who are dead ringers and others who resemble each other:


Courtney Cox, who starred in Friends, looks like actress Demi Moore. 

Courtney Cox

Demi Moore


Jan Smithers, who played Bailey Qurrters on the CBS sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, resembles the late Marcia Strassman (1948-2014), who portrayed Nurse Margie Cutler on M*A*S*H and Julie Kotter on Welcome Back, Kotter.

Jan Smithers

Marcia Strassman


Comedic actor Herbie Faye (1899-1980), appeared on both of Phil Silvers' CBS television shows: Sgt, Bilko (1955-1959) and The New Phil Silvers Show (1963-1964).  Faye looked like Ned Glass (1906-1984), a Polish-born American character actor.  Glass appeared in numerous films on on television, often portraying cowardly or deceitful characters.

Herbie Faye

Ned Glass


Marlo Thomas, who starred in That Girl, looks like the late actress/singer Phyllis Newman (1933-2019).  Newman was a frequent TV game show panelist.

Marlo Thomas

Phyllis Newman


Television host Ryan Seacrest (born 1974), of  and actor/ TV host Joel McHale (born 1971) resemble each other.

Ryan Seacrest

John McHale
PHOTO ATTRIBUTION: Gage Skidmore | Flickr


Bruce Gordon (1916-2011) was an American actor best known for his role as gangster Frank Nitti on the ABC television series The Untouchables.  Gordon's look-alike was character actor Anthony Caruso (1916-2003).  Caruso usually played villains and gangsters in films.

Bruce Gordon

Anthony Carisp

- Joanne

Monday, July 19, 2021

Keeping Up With Lesley Ann Warren

Actor Stuart Damon's recent death made me think about Lesley Ann Warren.  Although Damon was widely known for his role as Dr. Alan Quartermaine on General Hospital, he also played the Prince opposite Lesley Ann Warren in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1965 TV musical version of Cinderella.  

Lesley Ann Warren was born in New York City on August 16, 1946.  She comes from a Jewish family with some Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Bulgarian ancestry.  Her New Yorker father, William Warren, was a World War II veteran and a real estate agent.  Her mother, Margot (née Verblow),  was a British-born nightclub singer.  Lesley a has younger brother named Robert Lewis Warren.  As a six-year-old, she attended the Professional Children's School.  In her early teens, she was a student at the High School of Music and Art.  

Lesley started out as ballerina.  At the age of 14, she trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York.  In 1963, at the age if 16, she made her Broadway debut in in 110 in the Shade.  At 17, she studied acting under Lee Strasberg at his Actors Studio in Manhattan  Lesley made an unbilled appearance as Shelley Winters' daughter in the 1962 film The Chapman Report.  She was also given a bit part in the daytime drama The Doctors.  It was her work on Broadway however, that led to her breakout role as Cinderella.  In 1963, she won Broadway's "Most Promising Newcomer" Award.  She also won the Theatre World Award in 1965 for her work as a "cat burglar" alongside Elliott Gould in the musical Drat! The Cat!, which only lasted for eight performances.

Lesley enjoyed her first major television success in the title role in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1965 classic, Cinderella.  She and Sturt Damon were accompanied by a stellar cast, which included Walter Pidgeon and Ginger Rogers as the King and Queen, and Celeste Holm as the Fairy Godmother.

Below is a photo of Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon in Cinderella.

After Cinderella, Lesley made appearances in episodes of a number of  TV series in the 1960s, such as Dr. Kildare (1966), Gunsmoke (1966), Run for Your Life (1966), Mod Squad (1969) and Love, American Style (1969).  She also had leading reading roles in Disney musical films such as The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).

From 1970 to 1971, Lesley Ann Warren had the recurring role of Dana Lambert in 23 episodes of Mission Impossible.  She was hired to replace Barbara Bain after Bain left the show over a contract dispute. Audiences were lukewarm in their response to her as a replacement for Bain, and she departed after only one season.  Nevertheless, Lesley was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role on Mission Impossible.

 Below is a photo of Lesley with the Mission Impossible cast in 1970.  

Ryan O'Neal co-starred with Lesley in the 1971 TV movie, Love Hate Love.  O'Neal who had just enjoyed box-office success in the 1970 tearjerker film, Love Story, played Russ Emery, an engineer who captures the heart of fashion model Sheila Blunden (Lesley), whose fiancé turns out to be psychotic.

Below is a photo of Lesley with Ryan O'Neal in a scene from Love Hate Love.

Lesley has played an impressive array of characters in television miniseries.  She received a Golden Globe Award for her 1977 performance in Harold Robbins' 79 Park Avenue, a rag-to-riches story, in which she played a madam.  Lesley won acclaim for starring role in the 1980 Civil War miniseries Beulah Land and also for her portrayal of Anna Friedman, a Polish-Jewish immigrant, in the 1985 miniseries Evergreen.  In 1990, Lesley played the role of Barbara Walker in Family of Spies, a television movie based on the espionage exploits of John  A. Walker, a cryptologist with the United States Navy on a submarine. In 1995, she co-starred with Ben Kingsley, who played Potiphar, in the Biblical miniseries, Joseph. She played Potiphar's wife.

In the 21st century, Lesley Ann Warren has been as active as ever.  From 2001 to 2006, Lesley appeared as Tina, Will Truman's father's mistress, in five episodes of Will & Grace.  She also portrayed Sophie Bremmer, Susan Mayer's mother, in seven episodes of the ABC comedy/drama Desperate Housewives (six episodes in 2005 and one in 2011),   In 2019, she co-starred in a short-lived comedy/drama TV series on Lifetime entitled American Princess.  From 2008 until 2012, Lesley played Jinx Shannon in the crime/mystery series In Plain Sight.  She also had guest spots in episodes of Losing Grace (2001), Touched by an Angel (2003)I and The Practice (2003). 

Lesley has been married twice.  On May 13, 1967, she wed film producer Jon Peters, who was originally a makeup artist and hair stylist.  The couple had a son, actor/producer Christopher Peters (born September 23, 1968).  After a two-year separation, they divorced in 1975 and Peters moved on with Barbra Streisand.  However, Lesley didn't blame Streisand for the divorce.  In 1982, she told People magazine that "Barbra was not the reason we split.  Jon and I had severe problems."

From 1977 to 1985, Lesley co-habited with  choreographer and film director Jeffrey Hornaday.  She and Hornaday met while working on a television special.

Since January 16, 2000, Lesley has been married to Ron Taft, an advertising executive, whom she met at a hair salon.  In a 2019 interview with Closer Weekly, she was asked how her current marriage with Taft differed from her previous one to Peters, she replied, "It couldn't be more diametrically opposed.  I am not who I was when I got married at 20, and there's so much that I don't want in my life that my marriage encapsulated."

Lesley and husband Ron


* As a teenager, Lesley Ann Warren had anorexia.  "The epitome of a ballet dancer was to be super thin," she told Closer Weekly, "and all of us were starving ourselves."  A therapist eventually helped Lesley heal and made her realize how her demons were ruining her life.

* Lesley's former husband, Jon Peters, and Barbra Streisand stayed together until the early 1980s.

* In 1983, Lesley was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1982 film Victor/Victoria, a musical comedy starring Julie Andrews and directed by Julie's late husband, Blake Edwards.  Lesley portrayed Norma Cassidy, the annoying peroxide-blonde girlfriend of a gangster, played by James Garner.

* In 1986, Lesley was featured in a Bob Seager music video of his song "American Storm."  She also appeared in music videos by Aerosmith ("Jane's Got a Gun," 1989) and the Eagles ("Life in the Fast Lane").  

* Lesley's brother, Richard Lewis Warren (born in New York City on February 29, 1952) is a composer of music for television and an actor.

SOURCES: Closer Weekly, "Lesley Ann Warren Recalls Meeting Husband Ron Taft at a Hair Salon: 'It Was Love at First Sight!,'" by Closer Staff, October 13, 2019; People, "The Real Victor in 'victor/Victoria' Is a Newly Confident Lesley Ann Warren," by Gail Buchalter, April 19, 1982; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne

Friday, July 9, 2021

Whatever happened to the cast of Petticoat Junction?

Remember the catchy theme song and the steam engine? "Come ride the little train that is rolling down the tracks to the junction, Forget about your cares, it is time to relax at the junction . . . Petticoat Junction . . . .whooo whooo whistle stop).  The rural comedy Petticoat Junction originally aired on CBS from 1963 to 1970.  Petticoat Junction and its spinoff, Green Acres, were produced by Paul Henning (1911-2005), who was also the creator of The Beverly HillbilliesPetticoat Junction was set in the farming community of Hooterville.  Widowed Kate Bradley was the proprietor of The Shady Rest Hotel, assisted by her three lovely daughters, blonde Billie Jo, brunette Bobbie Jo and red-haired Betty Jo, as well as her uncle, Joe Carson. The show was also focused on the Hooterville Cannonfall, a steam driven train, vintage 1887, run by engineer Charley Pratt and fireman/conductor Floyd Smoot. The single-tracked secondary line ran from Hooterville to Pixy and was operated like a taxi service, frequently making unscheduled stops.  Railroad executive Homer Bedloe, played by veteran character actor Charles Lane, tried to shut the Cannonball down, but never succeeded.

Paul Henning

Below is a 1964 photo of the original Bradley sisters: L to R - Pat Woodell (Bobbie Jo), Jeannine Riley (Billie Jo) and Linda Kaye Henning (Betty Jo).

Petticoat Junction had a large cast turnover.  Three different actresses played the role of Billie Jo Bradley and two actresses portrayed Bobbie Jo Bradley.  The show's star, Bea Benaderet, who portrayed Kate, passed away in 1968 and new characters were added to fill the void.  Petticoat Junction was never really the same without Bea.


BEA BENADERET (KATE BRADLEY): Bea Benaderet enjoyed a noteworthy career in radio and television.  She had prominent roles in four TV sitcoms, beginning with The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show from 1950 to 1958 (In the 1940s, Bea became friends with Paul Henning, who was then a script writer on the radio production of Burns & Allen). 
Bea played, Cousin Pearl Bodine, Jethro's mother, on the Beverly Hillbillies and Henning made Pearl a recurring character in the 1962-63 first season of the show.  Henning had always admired Bea's talent and believed she was worthy of starring in her own series.  After the ratings success of The Beverly Hillbillies, CBS granted Paul Henning a time slot for which he created another successful rural comedy, Petticoat Junction, around Bea's character, Kate Bradley.

Bea's final episode on Petticoat Junction is entitled "The Valley Has a Baby" (Season Six, Episode 4,  Air Date: October 26, 1968).  She is not shown in the episode, but her voice can be heard.  Her last physical appearance on the show is the previous episode called "Only a Husband" (Season 6, Episode 3, Air Date: October 19, 1968).  Both episodes were aired after Bea's death.  Bea Benaderet died of lung cancer and pneumonia on October 13, 1968.  She was 62 years old at the time of her passing,

EDGAR BUCHANAN (UNCLE JOE CARSON): Veteran actor Edgar Buchanan appeared in over 100 films during his career, but he is probably best remember for his role as Uncle Joe Carson, Kate Bradley's uncle on Petticoat Junction. Edgar played sleepy, slow-moving Uncle Joe in all 222 episodes of the show, as well as in 17 episodes of Green Acres and three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies.  Joe was often seen lounging on his favourite porch chair. "And that;s Uncle Joe, he's a-movin' kinda slow at the junction . . ."

After the death of Bea Benaderet, who played Kate, Joe Carson took over as proprietor of the Shady Rest Hotel.  Following the cancellation of Petticoat Junction in 1970, Buchanan took on a major role in the short-lived crime-drama Cade's County.   From 1971 to 1972, he played  J.J. Jackson, alongside Glenn Ford as Sheriff Sam Cade, in all 24 of the show's episodes.  He also guest-starred in episodes of TV shows such as The Partridge Family (1972) and Love, American Style (1973).  Edgar Buchanan's last film role was in the 1974 movie, Benji, along with Higgins the Dog, his Petticoat Junction canine co-star.  On April 4, 1979, Buchanan died of a stroke complicated by pneumonia.  He was 76 years old at the time of his passing.

: Jeannine Brooke Riley was born in Fresno, California on October 1, 1940.  She moved with her family to nearby Madera when her father left the Army and was eventually schooled in acting at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena.  Jeannine portrayed Billie Joe Bradley on Petticoat Junction from 1963 to 1965.  Prior to her role as Billie Joe, she had guest roles in episodes of series such as Dr. Kildare (1962), Route 66 (1966), My Three Sons (1962), Wagon Train (1963) and The Virginian (1963).  On March 22, 1964, Jeannine appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with her TV sisters, Pat Woodell, Linda Kaye Henning and guest actress Sheila James Kuehl.  They called themselves The Ladybugs, after the name of their band in an episode of Petticoat Junction, which parodied The Beatles (Season 1, Episode 27, Air Date March 24, 1964) and was shown just two days after the Fab Four's much-heralded appearance on the Sullivan show.

In 1965,Jeannine left her role on Petticoat Junction to pursue a movie career..  She appeared in a few feature films such as The Mouth (1967), Fever Heat (1968), The Comic (1969) and Electra Glide in Blue (1973).  After Petticoat Junction, she also appeared in episodes of a number of TV series including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1966), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1966, 1967), The Wild Wild West (1967), Gomer Pyle, USMC (1969), Love, American Style (1969, 1970, 1971) and James at 16 (1976).  From 1973 to 1974, Jeannine had the recurring role of Lulu McQueen, in 26 episodes of Dusty's Trail, a comic Western starring Bob Denver and Forrest Tucker.  Jeannine's last screen appearance was as a landlady in the 1991 science fiction drama Timebomb.  Her last TV role was as Marge Russell in a 1988 episode of High Mountain Rangers entitled "Ambassador."  In 2020, Jeannine released a self-help book called The Bolder Woman: It's About Time, which she wrote to advise women on how they can fulfill their dreams at any age.

Gunilla Hutton was born in Gothenburg, Sweden on May 15, 1944, and raised in Fort Worth, Texas,.  An actress, singer and dancer, Gunilla was the second Billie Jo Bradley and she played the role in over 30 episodes from 1965 to 1966,  She also appeared on popular game shows such as Password, Match Game and Family Feud.

In 1964, Gunilla toured with Nate "King" Cole's stage show.  The legendary singer fill recklessly in love with her and the two began an extramarital romance.  Gunilla urged Cole's wife, Maria, to divorce him.  Maria then confronted her husband about the affair with Hutton and he ended it after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer..  Nat "King: Cole died on February 15, 1965.  Prior to her stint on Petticoat Junction, Gunilla appeared in episodes of  Perry Mason (1965) and Burkes's Law (1965).  After Petticoat Junction, she guest-starred in two 1979 episodes of The Love Boat and two episodes of Fantasy Island (1980, 1981). She also played Raquel in the made-for-TV film Murder Can Hurt You, a spoof of television crime dramas, featuring Marty Allen, Tony Danza, Jamie Farr, Gavin MacLeod, Buck Owen, Connie Stevens and Buck Owens.  Gunilla was a regular cast member of the country music variety show Hee Haw until 1992, when she retired.

On January 10, 1970, Gunilla wed Allan L. Freeman, an American real estate developer.  The couple had three children: Christian, Amber and Erik.  They divorced after a marriage of 43 years and Allan died in Palm Desert California on August 30, 2014.  He was 80 years old at the time of his passing.

Gunilla appeared in Country's Family Reunion: Salute to the Kornfield, a 2015 documentary series involving the original Hee Haw cast.  In 2015 she also appeared in a MeTV commercial promoting Petticoat Junction, along with Linda Kaye Henning and Lori Sanuders.

: Meredith Lynn MacRae was born on May 30, 1944 in Houston, Texas, the daughter of actors Gordon and Sheila MacRae.  At eight years old, Meredith appeared in the film By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953), starring her father.
She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.  

From 1963 to 1965,  Meredith played Sally Ann Morrison ,on My Three Sons.  In an episode entitled "The First Marriage" (Season 6, Episode 1, Air Date, September 16, 1965), Sally marries eldest son Mike Douglas, played by Tim Considine, and the newlyweds leave town for Mike's new job out of state.  Meredith and Tim both left My Three Sons after their TV wedding.

In 1966, Meredith MacRae became the third and final Billie Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction, taking over the role from Gunilla Hutton.  Meredith remained with the series until its cancellation in 1970.  She also played Billie Jo in three 1968 episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies.

After Petticoat Junction ended its run, Meredith appeared in episodes of numerous TV shows such as The Interns (1971), Alias Smith and Jones (1971), Love, American Style (1970, 1971), The F.B,I, (1973), The Rockford Files (1977), CHiPs (1980), The Fall Guy (1983, 1984), Webster (1985), Magnum, P.I (1986).  In 1995, she appeared as herself as a talk show host in the film The Killers Within

Meredith was married three times.  In 1964, she wed Richard Berger (1939-2004), a film and television executive, as well as a theatrical producer.  The couple divorced four years later and Meredith went on to marry actor Greg Mulavey on April 19, 1969.  Mulavey, who starred in Marry Hartman, Mary Hartman, and Meredith had one child, a daughter named Allison (born 1974), and divorced in 1987.  In 1995, Meredith married her third husband, Philip Mark Neal,  Chairman and CEO of Avery Dennison Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of office products.

In 1999, Meredith MacCrae was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She died of complications from the disease on July 14, 2000 at her home in Manhattan Beach, California.  She was 56 years old.  

PAT WOODELL (BOBBIE JO BRADLEY): Pat played brunette middle sister Bobbie Joe Bradley from 1963 to 1965.  She left Petticoat Junction in order to pursue a singing career.  Singing was her first love and she performed musical numbers on the show.  Pat's final television acting role was in a 1973 episode of The New Perry Mason. as Jenny in "The Case of the Murdered Murderer" (Season 1, Episode 7, Air Date: October 28, 1973).  When her acting career ended, she worked for self-improvement guru Werner Erhard in his est seminar organization.  She later confounded a consulting firm.  Pat Woodell retired in 2013.  She passed away on September 29, 2015 at the age of 71 after having battled cancer for more than 20 years.

  Lori Saunders was born Linda Marie Hines on October 4, 1941 in Kansas City, Missouri.  From 1960 to 1962, she appeared in five episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (under the name Linda Hines).  She also had a bit part as a "brunette at a party" in a 1964 episode of Burke's Law.  Lori portrayed Bobbie Jo Bradley in over 145 episodes of Petticoat Junction, taking over the role from Pat Woodell, in 1965 and remaining until the show's run ended in 1970.  In the last season of The Beverly Hillbillies, Lori played her Bobbie Jo character in four episodes of Green Acres and two episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, one in 1968 and the other in 1969.  In 1971, after the cancellation of Petticoat Junction, she portrayed secretary Elizabeth Gordon in three episodes of The Hillbillies' final season.

After Petticoat Junction, Lori guest-starred in episodes of Daniel Boone (1970), The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1970) and Love, American Style (1973).  In 1976, she played Cynthia Harris on the daytime soap The Young and the Restless.  From 1973 to 1974, she had the role of Betsy McGuire in all 26 episodes of the short-lived comic Western, Dusty's Trail.  Lori has been married to Bernard Sandler since 1961 and they have two grown children, son Ronald Sandler and daughter Stacy Sandler. Lori is retired from acting and focuses on photography and art.  She is a vegan and works with several charities.

LINDA KAYE HENNING (BETTY JO BRADLEY): Linda Kaye Henning was born on September 16, 1944 in Los Angeles, California.  An actress and singer, Linda is the daughter of TV producer Paul Henning and his wife, Ruth.  She began acting in stage musicals in the 1950s

Linda portrayed Betty Jo, the youngest Bradley sister, for the entire run of Petticoat Junction, from 1963 to 1970.  She also played Betty Jo in five episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies from 1968 to 1970 and in a 1966 episode of Green Acres.  For the first five seasons of Petticoat Junction, Linda  billed herself as "Linda Kaye," as she didn't want to be accused of nepotism.  

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Linda made guest appearances on several television programs, including Mister Ed (1962), The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1963), The Ed Sullivan Show (1964), Family Affair (1970),  Adam-12 (1971), Love, American Style (1973), Barnaby Jones (1976), Happy Days (1977, 1984), Mork and Mindy (twice in 1979), The Facts of Life (1987) and Mad About You (1988).  From 1995 to 2000, she played the role of Mrs. Mallory in the pilot and four other episodes of the fantasy/science fiction series Sliders.  Linda also appeared on game shows such as Password, Hollywood Squares and 3 for the Money.  She was the substitute host for the 1974-1976 daytime edition of NBC's High Rollers.

In 1968, Linda Kaye Henning married Mike Minor, who played Steve Elliot, her castmate on Petticoat Junction.  Linda's character, Betty Jo, had married Mike's character, Steve on the show a year previously.  Steve and Betty Jo had a daughter named Kathy Joe and were very happy.  Linda and Mike, however, divorced in 1973 and Linda married actor Ashby Adams in 1994. 

In some later episodes of Petticoat Junction, Linda sang in a trio with her television sisters (played by Lori Saunders).  She also sang duets with Mike Minor.

MIKE MINOR (STEVE ELLIOTT): Mike Minor was born Michael Fedderson in San Francisco, California, on December 7, 1940 (Minor was his mother's maiden name).  Mike's father, Don Fedderson, was a prominent television producer.  As a child, Mike's goal was to become  a professional baseball player, but he later switched his sport to golf.  

As a teenager, Mike began taking singing lessons and he had his first gig at Ye Little Club in Beverly Hills.  After attending University High School in Los Angeles and Brown Military Academy in San Diego, Mike performed at a number of clubs in a number of cities.

From 1962 until 1971, Mike made guest appearances as various characters in nine episodes of My Three Sons, a show which his father created and produced.  

Mike is best known for portrayal of Steve Elliott in 111 episodes Petticoat Junction and five episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies from 1966 to 1970.  The dashing pilot was introduced to audiences when he crashed his plane outside Hooterville.  The Bradley sisters nursed Steve back to health and after his accident, he remained in town and married Betty Jo.

After Petticoat Junction ended, Mike guest-starred in episodes of such series as CHiPs (1979), Vega$ (1979, 1980) and L.A. Law (1993).  In the 1970s and 1980s, he appeared in daytime soap operas such as The Edge of Night (as Lennie Small), As the World Turns (as Norman Garrison) and All My Children (as Brandon Kingsley).

Mike Minor became romantically involved with Linda Kaye Henning after meeting her on the set of Petticoat Junction.  They married on September 7, 1968, a year after their characters, Steve and Betty Jo, married on the show.  According to IMDb, Mike's character was intended to fall in love and marry older sister Billie Jo.  When Mike and Linda became a real life couple, it was decided to have Steve and Betty Jo get romantically involved.  After his divorce from Linda Kaye Henning, Mike married Marilyn Minor in 1981.

Mike died of cancer in New York City on January 28, 2016.  He was 75 years old at the time of his passing.

FRANK CADY (SAM DRUCKER): Frank Cady portrayed storekeeper Sam Drucker for the entire run of Petticoat Junction, from 1963 to 1970.  He appeared in 152 of  the show's 222 episodes.  From to 1968 to 1969, Frank played his Drucker role in three CBS sitcoms simultaneously.  He also appeared as Sam in 142 Green Acres episodes during its six-year run and ten episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies from 1968 to 1970.  Drucker's Store was a local hangout and Uncle Joe could be found there playing checkers with Sam.  Sam's telephone was widely used by Joe and the Bradley clan.  Sam was also the postmaster.

Frank died on June 8, 2012 at his home in Wilsonville, Oregon.  He was 96 years old at the time of his passing.  


JUNE LOCKHART (DR. JANET CRAIG): Actress June Lockhart recently celebrated her 96th birthday.  She was born in New York City on June 25, 1925.  June had two major starring TV roles as mother figures Ruth Martin on Lassie (1958 to 1964) and Dr. Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space (1965 to 1968).  After the death of Bea Benaderet in 1968, June joined the cast of Petticoat Junction as "lady doctor" Janet Craig, a role she played until the series ended in 1970,  Not much was known about Janet Craig's  background when she arrived in Hooterville and rented a room at the Shady Rest Holel.  Dr. Craig became the town physician when elderly Dr. Stuart retired.

June Lockhart has remained active in recent years.  In 2016, she played the role of Irene O'Connor in the 2015 comedy/drama Remake, alongside Sally Kellerman and Timothy Carthart.  She also provided the voice for Mindy the Owl in the 2019 animated film Bongee Bear and the Kingdom of Rhythm.

: Rufe Davis was born Rufus Davidson on December 2, 1908.  One of 12 children, Rufe, was raised on a farm in Oklahoma.  At an early age, he began imitating animal sounds and he proved to be a talented mimic.  He later taught himself some guitar chords and won a local talent contest.  After dropping out of high school, Rufe left home to launch a show business career.  By 1932, he had his own radio show, Rufe Davis and the Radio Rubes, featuring a quartet who performed musical numbers and comedy sketches.  In the 1930s, Rufe participated in the radio broadcast National Barn Dance, which included his future Petticoat Junction colleague Smiley Burnette among its players,  Smiley and Rufe became lifelong friends.

Rufe appeared in over 30 films between 1937 and 1969.  He made his motion picture debut in Warner Brothers' 1936 short The City's Slicker.  In 1937, Rufe signed a contract with Paramount after a talent scout saw him perform in New York's Hollywood Restaurant.  In 1940, he was signed by Republic Pictures and was soon cast as Lullaby Jones in their Three Mesquiteers films, a series of Western B-movies.  Rufe played the role of Lullaby Jones in 14 films.

During a post-World War II United Services Overseas (USO) tour of the South Pacific, Rufe became acquainted with singing cowboy star Gene Autry, who invited him to join his touring company.  Rufe made repeated torus with Autry's group and he continued to enjoy performing live throughout his life.

From 1963 to 1970, Rufe Davis played Floyd Smoot, the happy-go-lucky conductor of the Cannonball train in 131 episodes of Petticoat Junction. He also portrayed Floyd in ten episodes of Green Acres from 1965 to 1967.  Rufe left Petticoat Junction in 1968 due to a dispute with producers over their refusal to grant him a minimum number of episodes.  However,  he did return to the show twice in 1970.  His final appearance was in an episode entitled "Last Train to Pixley" (Season 7, Episode 23, Air Date: March 7, 1970), in which his character, Floyd, retires.  

Rufe was married twice.  He married former ballerina Hermoine Hawkinson Davidson in 1940.  They had four children (Susan, James, Richard and Vivian) and divorced in 1956.  Rufus then wed Nettie Jane Scott on May 17, 1969,  Nettie was Petticoat Junction's wardrobe manager.  In the fall of 1974, Rufe Davis suffered a heart attack and underwent open heart surgery.  He died on December 13, 1974 at the age of 66.

: Smiley Bunette was born Lester Alvin Burnett in Summum, Illinois on March 18, 1911.  Smiley was a country music singer, a cowboy movie star and a comedic actor.  As a teen, he performed in vaudeville,  In the late 1920s, began working at WDZ, an Illinois radio station.  During his career, he appeared in almost almost 200 Westerns, sometimes with his friend Gene Autry and with Roy Rogers.  By 1940, Smiley Burnette ranked second only to Autry in Box Office popularity among Western stars.  In 1944, he became a sidekick to Charles Starett in the Columbia Pictures Durango Kid movie series, and he appeared with Starett in over 50 films.  Smiley was able to talk and sing in a "frog" voice and he would often play characters called Frog Millhouse.  He was a talented musician and he had the ability to play a wide variety of instruments by ear.  Smiley was a prolific songwriter who composed hundreds of songs and sang many of them on screen, but never learned to read music.  In 1971, he was  inducted posthumously into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

From 1963 to 1967, Smiley played railway engineer Charley Prat, Floyd Smoot's sidekick in over 100 episodes of Petticoat Junction. Just after the filming of the fourth season of the show, Smiley became ill.  On February 16, 1967, he died from leukemia, in Encino, California.  He was 55 years the time of his passing.  After Smiley's death, his Charley character was retired and Floyd became both conductor and engineer of the Cannonball.  Floyd (Rufe Davis) was eventually replaced by Wendell Gilbbs, played by Byron Foulger, but returned for two more episodes.

: During the seventh and final season of Petticoat Junction, Jonathan Daly was added to the cast as the bumbling, but earnest game warden, Orin Pike.  He portrayed Orin Pike in 11 episodes of the series from 1969 to 1970.  He was the love interest of Bobbie Jo Bradley, played by Lori Saunders.

Jonathan Daley was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 14, 1942.  Prior to Petticoat Junction, Jonathan had guest roles in episodes of such series as The Flying Nun (1968),and The Ghost & Mrs. Muri (1968).  He also appeared in two episodes of Bewitched (1965, 1969).  After Petticoat Junction, he played the role of Peter Howard from 1971 to 1972 on The Jimmy Stewart Show.  From 1976 to 1978, he portrayed Lt. Whipple in CPO Sharkey, a comedy starring Don Rickles.  His last TV acting credit is a 2005 episode of Law & Order: Trial By Jury entitled "Bang & Blame" (Season 1, Episode 7, Air Date: April 8, 2005).

In Australia, Jonathan Daly is known as part of the comedy team of Delo and Daly,  Jonathan and Ken Delo (1928-2016), became friends while serving in the U.S, Army and they performed in military shows.  From 1963 to 1964, they hosted their own Australian variety show, The Delo and Daly Show, which spotlighted both American and Australian entertainers,  Ken Delo later joined The Lawrence Welk Show.

Jonathan Daly is the father of a son, actor Rad Daly (born Robert Anthony Daly on January 18, 1966) and a daughter, Jules Daly.

DONALD WASHBROOK (HERBY BATES): Don Washbrook was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on March 15, 1945.  He died on May 15, 2000, at the age of 59, in Los Angeles, California (The cause of his death does not seem to have been made public).  From 1963 to 1964 Don portrayed Herby Bates in eight episodes of Petticoat Junction.  Herby was sweet on Billie Joe Bradley.  Prior to Petticoat Junction, Don appeared in episodes of Playhouse 90 (1956), The DuPont Show of the Month (1957), Outlaws (1962) and My Three Sons (1963.  He also appeared in two episodes of Bonanza (1963, 1964), Perry Mason (1964), Gidget (1965) and My Favorite Martian (1966).  From 1965 to 1966, he played the role of Ralph in three episodes of the sitcom Hank, his last television acting credit.  Don was one of three brother.  Former child actor Johnny Washbrook, who starred in My Fried Flick in the mid-1950s is Don's older brother.  Jazz musician Rick Washbrook is the youngest brother.

RUSSELL HORTON (JUNIOR HOCKER)Russell Horton was born  on November 11, 1941 in Los Angelis, California, USA.  He portrayed Junior Hocker in four episodes of Petticoat Junction from 1963 5o 1964.  Russell also appeared in Woody Allen's 1977 film,  Annie Hall and in the 1985 horror film Cat's Eye.  He guest-starred in a 1989 episode of Miami Vice and a 1990 episode of Law & Order.  Russell is an accomplished voice actor and he is known for providing the voice of Trix Rabbit in the cereal commercials. 

HIGGINS THE DOG: Higgins the Dog was born on December 12, 1957.  He was discovered by renowned animal trainer Frank Inn in the Burbank Animal Shelter in California.  Inn felt that the mixed-breed canine had the potential to be an animal actor.  Higgins started his acting career on television as the nameless pet on Petticoat Junction.  He appeared in over 140 episodes of the series  from 1965 to 1970.  The characters on the show just referred to him as "Dog."  In addition to Petticoat Junction, Higgins showed up on Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies.  

Higgins later appeared in the 1971 TV movie Mooch Goes to Hollywood with Vincent Price and Zsa Zsa Gabor.,  Higgins also starred as the original Benji in the 1974 feature film of the same name.  It was the dog's final role as he died at age 17 on November 11,1975.


* In the 1970s, CBS decided to focus on urban-based TV comedies such as All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  The network's "Rural Age" came to an end when all three Paul Henning shows were cancelled, Petticoat Junction in 1970 and The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres in 1971.

* In 1967, Higgins the Dog received a PATSY (Performing Animal Television Star of the Year).  That same year, he appeared on the cover of TV Guide.  Two episodes of Petticoat Junction revolve around Higgins: "The Dog Turns Playboy" (Season 3, Episode 3, Air Date: September 28, 1965) and "Come Home Higgins (Season 5, Episode 21, Air Date: January 27, 1968)

* Hugh Beaumont, who played Ward Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, appeared in three episodes of Petticoat Junction, once as Ronnie Beckman in a 1966 episode and twice in 1967 as Donald Elliott, Steve Elliott's father.

* Charles Lane, who portrayed railroad executive Charles Bedloe, died on July 9, 2007 at the age of 102.  

Charles Lane

* The idea for Petticoat Junction came from Paul Henning's wife, Ruth.  The Shady Rest was based on am actual hotel in Eldon Missouri, run by Ruth;s grandmother.

SOURCES: The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network Shows 1946- Present; New York Times book review "Unforgettable: A biography of the balladeer whose mellifluous voice serenaded two generations of lovers," by Margo Jeffereson, December 26, 1999; Los Angeles Times obituary for Allan L. Freeman; Wikipedia, IMDb (Internet Movie Database)

- Joanne