Sunday, December 7, 2008

Actress Beverly Garland Passes On

Actress Beverly Garland, who was a regular or semi-regular on shows ranging from Decoy to 7th Heaven, passed Friday at the age of 82.

Garland was born on October 17, 1926 in Santa Cruz, California as Beverly Lucy Fessenden. She was raised in Glendale, California. She studied drama under Anita Arliss, sister of movie star George Arliss. She made her acting debut in in local theatre in Glendale. After her family moved to Arizona, she also acted on stage in Phoenix.

Garland made her screen debut under the name Beverly Campbell in the film noir D.O.A.. She made her television debut that same year as a regular on the short lived series Mama Rosa (1950). After marrying actor Richard Garland in 1951, she became "Beverly Garland," the stage name she used for the rest of her career, even though she and Garland divorced in 1953. Except for a guest appearance on The Lone Ranger, Garland spent the next several years playing in B-movies and exploitation movies. She appeared in Problem Girls, The Rocket Man, Killer Leopard, and Swamp Women. With 1955 she began appearing more often on television, starting with guest shots on the series The Lone Wolf and Medic. She guested on such series as Damon Runyon Theatre, Lux Video Theatre, Studio 57, Science Fiction Theatre, Climax, and Yancy Derringer. She also starred in such films as Swamp Women, New Orleans Uncensored, Gunslinger, and the classic It Conquered the World.

In 1957 Garland debuted in her breakthrough role as a regular on the series Decoy (1957 to 1959), as female detective Casey Jones. This began her long career in television. Through the late Fifties and Sixties she guested on such shows as The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Wanted Dead or Alive, Thriller, Dr. Kildare, Rawhide, The Fugitive, The Wild Wild West, Gunsmoke, and Then Came Bronson. In 1969 she was cast in the recurring role of Steve Douglas's second wife on My Three Sons. She appeared on the series until its demise in 1972.

The Seventies saw Garland continue to make appearances on television. She guested on such shows as Mannix, Cannon, Ironside, Kung Fu, and Mary Tyler Moore. She was a regular on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She also appeared in the films Where the Red Fern Grows, Airport 1975, and Sixth and Main. Garland's career on TV continued unabated in the Eighties, during which she guested on such shows as Remington Steele, Hotel, and Crazy Like a Fox. She was a regular on the series The Scarecrow and Mrs. King from 1983 to 1987. The Nineties and Naughts saw Garland appear on the shows Friends and Diagnosis Murder. She was a recurring character on both Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and 7th Heaven (her last appearance on screen).

Beverly Garland had an extraordinarily long career, working nearly until her death. She was also a fairly talented actress, playing everything from hard as nails female convicts to female sheriffs in the old West to rather strong willed mothers. She had a gift for comedy, able to deliver her lines with a timing and panache that few other TV actresses possessed. Although best perhaps best remembered for her role on My Three Sons, she did so much more.


Squirrel said...

didn't she have the weird daughter Dodi on My 3 sons? I was reading an article about shows jumping the shark-- Dodi was blamed fot he demise of m3s

Terence Towles Canote said...

Yep. She played Dodi's mother. A sure sign that a show has jumped the shark is when they add a little kid...