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