Wednesday, July 11, 2012

JOYCE JAMESON (1932 - 1987)

Joyce Jameson, born September 26, 1932, in Chicago was an American actress best remembered for her blonde bimbo roles during the Marilyn Monroe period. She was known for many television roles including recurring guest appearances as “Skippy” one of the "fun girls" in the 1960s television series The Andy Griffith Show.

Jameson began work in the early 1950s with numerous uncredited roles in films and television. She made her film debut in 1951 playing a chorus girl dancer in the motion picture Show Boat. Her other notable film credits of that early period included Problem Girls (1953), Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) and The Apartment (1960). In 1962, she starred alongside Vincent Price and Peter Lorre in the Roger Corman horror film Tales of Terror. One year later, she again starred alongside Lorre and Price in the raucous comedy The Comedy of Terrors (1964), where she was more typically cast as she had been in the 1950s. In 1964, she appeared as a hotel hooker in the comedy Good Neighbor Sam, starring Jack Lemmon. In 1966, she appeared in the Elvis Presley film Frankie and Johnny and in Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! featuring Bob Hope and Elke Sommer. In the 1970s, Jameson had notable roles in films such as Death Race 2000 (1975) and in the 1976 Clint Eastwood western The Outlaw Josey Wales. She also appeared in Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and one of her last roles was in Hardbodies in 1984.

Jameson was also well credited as a television actress. She appeared in guest roles in numerous television series including Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, McHale's Navy, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, F-Troop, Hogan's Heroes, Alias Smith and Jones, Emergency!, and Barney Miller. Towards the late 1970s she appeared in Charlie's Angels and in the early 1980s in The Love Boat. Her ongoing role as Skippy paired with Daphne (played by Jean Carson) in the The Andy Griffith Show established "The Fun Girls", and inspired the characters for the later series Laverne & Shirley.

Contrary to her onscreen stereotype, off screen Jameson was said to be the direct opposite of her screen persona. She was reportedly intelligent, sensitive, and extremely well read. She was married to actor/songwriter Billy Barnes for much of her earlier life and was a longtime girlfriend of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. star Robert Vaughn.  Joyce Jameson suffered from depression and was an insomniac who regularly took pills to help her sleep. On January 16, 1987, she committed suicide by overdosing on pills at the age of 54. Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered at sea.

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