Wednesday, July 11, 2012

JEAN CARSON (1923 - 2005)

Jean Carson was an American stage, film and television actress best known for her work on the classic 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show as one of the "fun girls". Born February 28, 1923, in Charleston, West Virginia, she first became interested in show business as a child. At age 12 she got her first acting job, five dollars for a small part in a production of Carmen that traveled through Charleston. In high school she was voted Girl Most Likely to Succeed as an Actress. Carson told her mother she was going to be on Broadway and in 1948, after studies at Carnefie Mellon University, Carson made her Broadway debut in George S. Kaufman's's Bravo. Other Broadway work included Anniversary Waltz with Macdonald Carey, Two Blind Mice with Melvyn Douglas, and Bird Cage, which garnered her a Tony Award nomination.
Carson went on to appear in many pioneering television series, including Studio One, NBC Presents, The Twilight Zone, and The Ford Theatre Hour. She continued to make guest starring appearances throughout the 1950s, as well as a regular role on 1959's The Betty Hutton Show and roles in films such as The Phenix City Story in 1955 and I Married a Monster from Outer Space in 1958. Carson felt she was typecast by some of these roles as a “second woman” but that they helped her get work on The Andy Griffith Show. Carson had a brief role as Naomi in the 1962 episode “Convicts at Large”, but her most popular role was Daphne, one of the "fun girls", who appeared with Joyce Jameson on a recurring basis from 1962 to 1965. Daphne was a notorious flirt who greeted her objects of affection with a throaty "Hello Doll”. 
Carson earned fourth billing in the 1968 Peter Sellers comedy The Party, perhaps her best known film. Her last film role was 1977's Fun with Dick and Jane. She retired early in the next decade, save for some plays in the Palm Springs area (where she had moved to be close to her children). She associated herself with The Andy Griffith Show for many years, attending cast performances, conventions, and other meetings and writing back to fans personally until she suffered a severe stroke which left her incapacitated in September 2005. On November 2, 2005, Carson died from complications of the stroke; she was 82 years old. 

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