Irene Hervey

Irene Hervey (born Beulah Irene Herwick; July 11, 1909  December 20, 1998) was an American film, stage, and television actress who appeared in over fifty films and numerous television series spanning her five-decade career.[1]

Irene Hervey
Hervey in 1937
Beulah Irene Herwick

(1909-07-11)July 11, 1909
DiedDecember 20, 1998(1998-12-20) (aged 89)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeCremation
EducationVenice High School
Spouse(s)William Fenderson
(m. 1929; div. 193?)
Allan Jones
(m. 1936; div. 1957)
Children2, including Jack Jones

A native of Los Angeles, Hervey was trained in her youth by British stage and film actress Emma Dunn, a friend of her mother. She signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1933, appearing in several films for the studioincluding The Stranger's Return (1933), opposite Lionel Barrymorebefore landing a supporting role as Valentine de Villefort in United Artists' The Count of Monte Cristo (1934). She would subsequently sign a contract with Universal Pictures, appearing in numerous films for the studio, including the Western Destry Rides Again (1939) opposite Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich, the mystery The House of Fear (1939), and the musical The Boys from Syracuse (1940), the latter of which she appeared opposite her then-husband, Allan Jones.

She would continue to frequently appear in films throughout the 1940s into the 1950s, with roles in the horror film Night Monster (1942) opposite Bela Lugosi, the fantasy Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948), and the film noir A Cry in the Night (1956). Beginning in the mid-1950s, Hervey transitioned to television, appearing as a guest star on Perry Mason, Honey West, and My Three Sons, the latter of which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Single Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role. Hervey appeared in occasional minor film roles in her later career, such as Gene Saks's Cactus Flower (1969) and Clint Eastwood's thriller Play Misty for Me (1971).

Hervey died on December 20, 1998 of heart failure in Los Angeles. She had two children, one of whom is pop singer Jack Jones.

Early life

Hervey was born Beulah Irene Herwick on July 11, 1909 in Venice, Los Angeles, California.[lower-roman 1][5] Her father was a sign painter, and her mother a Christian Science practitioner whose pupil was English actress Emma Dunn.[6] Dunn agreed to become Hervey's acting coach during her childhood.[6] Hervey attended Venice High School in Venice, Los Angeles, where she appeared in school theater productions.[7]


Early films

She began her acting career after being introduced to a casting agent from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). After a successful screen test, she was signed by the studio and made her screen debut in the 1933 film The Stranger's Return, opposite Lionel Barrymore.[6]

Though signed by MGM, Hervey was loaned out by the studio and appeared in several films including United Artists' The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) and With Words and Music, released by Grand National Films Inc..[6] In 1934, she was cast as the murderess, Myra, in the thriller Rendezvous at Midnight, but was replaced by Irene Ware.[8]

In 1936, Hervey left MGM and signed with Universal Pictures.[6] While at Universal, Hervey appeared in The League of Frightened Men (1937) and Destry Rides Again (1939) with Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart.[9] She also intermittently freelanced at other studios, appearing in such films as Grand National Pictures' The Girl Said No (1937), a musical comedy featuring music by Gilbert and Sullivan.[10]

At Universal from 1940 to 1943, Hervey had the lead in 11 B pictures, one A (The Boys from Syracuse) and one serial (Gang Busters).

In 1943, Hervey was seriously injured in a car accident and was forced to retire from acting for five years.[6] Though she did briefly return to acting for the stage play No Way Out, where she played Dr. Enid Karley, in 1944.[11]

Later career

Hervey returned to acting in 1948 with the film Mickey, followed by Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid. By the early 1950s, she began appearing in the new medium of the era; television. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Hervey appeared in several television series, including the crime dramas Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Peter Gunn, and Hawaiian Eye. She also made three guest appearances on Perry Mason: in 1958 she played Helen Bartlett in "The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde"; in 1961 she played Grace Davies in "The Case of the Jealous Journalist", and in 1963 she played Jill Garson in "The Case of the Lawful Lazarus". She returned to theater with a role opposite Hans Conried in Take Her, She's Mine, a comedy written by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, which had regional performances in Massachusetts and Connecticut in the summer of 1963.[12] A reviewer from a local publication noted that Hervey "registers effectively" in her role.[12] In 1965, she landed a regular role on The Young Marrieds, followed by a stint on the short-lived Anne Francis series Honey West as the titular character's Aunt Meg.

In 1969, Hervey was nominated for an Emmy Award For Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her appearance on My Three Sons.[13] After her roles as Mrs. Durant in the comedy Cactus Flower and as Madge in the 1971 thriller film Play Misty for Me with Clint Eastwood, Hervey retired from acting. She took a job working at a travel agency in Sherman Oaks, California and briefly returned to acting in 1978 with a role in Charlie's Angels. In 1981, she made her last on-screen appearance in the television film Goliath Awaits, which centers on a community of survivors from a World War II shipwreck who have survived decades living underwater.[14]

Personal life

As a teenager, Hervey married her first husband William Fenderson in 1929 and had a daughter, Gail, before they divorced.[9] In the mid-1930s, she was romantically linked,[15] and subsequently engaged to, Robert Taylor. In 1936, she met and married actor Allan Jones. The couple had a son, singer Jack Jones, born in 1938.[16] They divorced in 1957.[6][9]

Hervey died on December 20, 1998 at the age of 89 from heart failure[17] at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.[1] She was later cremated and her ashes returned to her surviving daughter.[18]


For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Hervey has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6336 Hollywood Boulevard.[1]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1933The Stranger's ReturnNettie Crane[19]
1933Turn Back the ClockUncredited[20]
1933The Women in His LifeDoris Worthing[19]
1934Three on a HoneymoonMillicent Wells[19]
1934Hollywood PartyShow GirlUncredited[19]
1934Let's Try AgainMarge Phelps[19]
1934The Count of Monte CristoValentine de Villefort[19]
1934The Dude RangerAnne Hepburn[19]
1935The Winning TicketMary Tomasello[19]
1935Motive for RevengeMuriel Webster King[19]
1935Honeymoon LimitedJudy Randall[19]
1935Hard Rock Harrigan'Andy' Anderson[19]
1935His Night OutPeggy Taylor[19]
1935Charlie Chan in ShanghaiDiana Woodland[19]
1935A Thrill for ThelmaThelma BlackShort film; uncredited[21]
1935White LiesMary Mallory[19]
1936Three GodfathersMollyAlso known as: Miracle in the Sand[19]
1936Absolute QuietLaura Tait[19]
1936Along Came LoveEmmy Grant[19]
1937Woman in DistressIrene Donovan[19]
1937The League of Frightened MenEvelyn Hibbard[19]
1937The Girl Said NoPearl Proctor / Peep-Bo[19]
1937The Lady Fights BackHeather McHale[19]
1938Say It in FrenchAuriol Marsden[19]
1938Society SmugglersJoan Martin[19]
1939East Side of HeavenMona Barrett[19]
1939The House of FearAlice Tabor[19]
1939Missing EvidenceLinda Parker[19]
1939Destry Rides AgainJanice Tyndall[19]
1940Three Cheers for the IrishHeloise Casey[19]
1940The Crooked RoadLouise Dalton[19]
1940The Boys from SyracuseAdriana[19]
1940The San Francisco DocksKitty Tracy[19]
1941Mr. DynamiteVicki Martin[19]
1942Bombay ClipperFrankie Gilroy Wilson[19]
1942Frisco LilLillian Grayson / Frisco Lil[19]
1942Unseen EnemyGen Rand[19]
1942Gang BustersVicki Logan[22]
1942Half Way to ShanghaiVicky Neilson[19]
1942Destination UnknownElena Varnoff[19]
1942Night MonsterDr. Lynn Harper[19]
1942Keeping FitIrene - Dick's WifeShort film[23]
1943He's My GuyTerry Allen[19]
1946Studio Visit[24]
1948MickeyLouise Williams[19]
1948Mr. Peabody and the MermaidMrs. Polly Peabody[19]
1949The Lucky StiffMrs. Eve Childers[19]
1949ManhandledRuth / Mrs. Alton Bennet[19]
1949Chicago DeadlineBelle Dorset[19]
1956A Cry in the NightHelen Taggart[19]
1956Teenage RebelHelen Sheldon McGowan[19]
1958Going SteadyGrace Turner[19]
1958Crash LandingBernice Willouby[19]
1960O'Conner's OceanVictoria ArdenTelevision film[25]
1969Cactus FlowerMrs. Durant[26]
1969RobertaMrs. TealeTelevision film[27]
1971Play Misty for MeMadge[19]
1981Goliath AwaitsCarrieTelevision film[28]


Year Title Role Notes
1952The Gulf PlayhouseEpisode: "Our Two Hundred Children"
1953–55The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse2 episodes
1953–56Lux Video TheatreSusan Arnold / Lucille / Patricia4 episodes
1954–55Fireside TheatreMiss Vickers / Louise2 episodes
1954Stage 7Fran AbbelardEpisode: "The Time of Day"
1954The Lone WolfMae EastEpisode: "The Runaway Story (a.k.a. Death of a Lawyer)"
1955Studio 57Ann Randall2 episodes
1955The Public DefenderMrs. HarrisEpisode: "Mama's Boy"
1955–57Climax!Nancy Blount2 episodes
1955–58The George Burns and Gracie Allen ShowClara Bagley / Florence Henderson5 episodes
1955–58Matinee TheatreMargaret March / Stella Martyn / Myra Gordon8 episodes
1955Damon Runyon TheaterEpisode: "Small Town Caper"
1956The MillionaireMaxineEpisode:"The Candy Caldwell Story"
1956The Charles Farrell ShowMrs. AndrewsEpisode: "Charlie's Love Secret"
1957Circus BoyMartha NeilsonEpisode: "Farewell to the Circus"
1957Panic!Gretchen BeresfordEpisode: "Two Martinis"
1958Studio OneBeth ByrnesEpisode: "The Lonely Stage"
1958–63Perry MasonJill Garson / Grace Davies / Helen Bartlett3 episodes
1959Playhouse 90Mrs. McBurnieEpisode: "A Quiet Game of Cards"
1959Richard Diamond, Private DetectiveMary ForsytheEpisode: "The Sport"
1959The Ann Sothern ShowLorraineEpisode: "The Ugly Bonnet"
1959The Donna Reed ShowLouise CollierEpisode: "A Penny Earned"
1960Bourbon Street BeatAlice NicholsEpisode: "False Identity"
1960MarkhamMrs. FranklinEpisode: "The Silken Cord"
1960ThrillerMrs. Edith PettitEpisode: "The Watcher"
1960The Case of the Dangerous RobinThelma HendersonEpisode: "Temporary Window"
1961Peter GunnMadelon RidgelyEpisode: "Blind Item"
1961The DuPont Show with June AllysonGladysEpisode: "The Guilty Heart"
1961Shirley Temple's StorybookEsperanzaEpisode: "The Princess and the Goblins"
1961Surfside 6Mrs. GardnerEpisode: "Little Mister Kelly"
1961–62Hawaiian EyeMary Kirk / Marjorie Lloyd / Harriet Regan3 episodes
1962Target: The CorruptorsNora TremaineEpisode: "One for the Road"
1962Follow the SunJeanetteEpisode: "The Last of the Big Spenders"
196277 Sunset StripEllen GilmoreEpisode: "Framework for the Badge"
1962The Wide CountryDorothy StannardEpisode: "Our Ernie Kills People"
1962Dr. KildareMartha KildareEpisode: "An Ancient Office"
1963The Eleventh HourValerie PrenticeEpisode: "The Wings of Morning"
1964The Twilight ZoneMartha TillmanEpisode: "Black Leather Jackets"
1964Burke's LawMrs. TilsonEpisode: "Who Killed April?"
1964The Baileys of BalboaMarieEpisode: "Won't You Come Home, Sam Bailey"
1964–65The Young MarriedsIrene Forsythe #1
1965–66Honey WestAunt Meg16 episodes
1967Love on a RooftopHelen CavendishEpisode: "One Too Many Cooks"
1968IronsideMargaret WhitfieldEpisode: "Reprise"
1968The Mod SquadMrs. SandersonEpisode: "A Quiet Weekend in the Country"
1968–70Family AffairMrs. Eldridge / Miss Scranton2 episodes
1969–72My Three SonsSylvia Anderson / Beatrice Brady2 episodes
Nominated  Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding
Single Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role[13]
1976Most WantedMrs. MorrisonEpisode: "The Ten-Percenter"
1978Charlie's AngelsSamantha McKendrickEpisode: "The Jade Trap"
1979Delta HouseTrusteeEpisode: "The Fall of Dean Wormer"

Stage credits

Year Title Role Venue(s) Notes Ref(s).
1944 No Way Out Dr. Enid Karley Cort Theatre Broadway production [11]
1963 Take Her, She's Mine Anne Michaelson Westport Country Playhouse
The Cape Playhouse (Cape Cod)
Regional touring production [12][29]


  1. Obituaries in the Performing Arts cites Hervey's birthdate as July 11, 1909;[2] this is corroborated by California Vital Statistics' Birth Index, which lists Beulah Irene Herwick's birthdate as July 11, 1909.[3] Hervey's birth name is corroborated by a 1936 article in the Oakland Tribune.[4]


  1. "Irene Hervey". Los Angeles Times. L.A. Times Hollywood Star Walk. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  2. Lentz 1999, p. 102.
  3. "The Birth of Beulah I. Herwick". California Birth Index. California Vital Statistics. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  4. "Allen [sic] Jones Too Busy, So Bride-to-Be Gets License". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. United Press. July 23, 1936. p. 17. Retrieved July 13, 2016 via
  5. "Irene Hervey". The Swedish Film Database (in Swedish). Swedish Film Institute. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  6. Vallance, Tom (December 29, 1998). "Obituary: Irene Hervey". The Independent. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  7. Oliver, Myrna (December 23, 1998). "Irene Hervey; Film and Television Actress". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  8. "Cutting Room Floor". Motion Picture Herald: 45, 48. November 17, 1934.
  9. New York Times Staff (December 26, 1998). "Irene Hervey, 89, Film Actress Hailed in 'Destry Rides Again'". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  10. "The Girl Said No" (PDF) (Press release). Al Greenstone. 1937. pp. 1–16. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 7, 2010 via William K. Everson Collection (New York University).
  11. "No Way Out". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  12. "Passing show". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, Connecticut. August 6, 1963. p. 8 via
  13. "Awards Search ("Irene Hervey")". Television Academy: Emmys. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  14. "Goliath Awaits (1981)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  15. "Seeing Stars with Mitzi". Photoplay: 98. July 1935 via Internet Archive.
  16. "Allan Jones Adopts Stepchild as Heir". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press. February 16, 1937. p. 17. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  17. "Irene Hervey". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  18. Wilson, Scott (August 17, 2016). "Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed". McFarland via Google Books.
  19. "Irene Hervey filmography". American Film Institute Catalog. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  20. American Film Institute. American Film Institute Catalog: Feature Films 1931-1940, Volumes 1–3. University of California Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-520-07908-3.
  21. Halliwell 1996, p. 259.
  22. Mayer 2017, p. 134.
  23. "Keeping Fit". Films in Review. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 24: 529. 1973. ISSN 0015-1688.
  24. "Studio Visit (1946)". British Film Institute. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  25. "Civil War Drama Planned For NBC". The Daily Reporter. Dover, Ohio. December 10, 1960. p. 18 via
  26. Roberts 2003, p. 89.
  27. Roberts 2003, p. 219.
  28. "Goliath Awaits". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  29. "Production history". The Cape Playhouse. Retrieved April 15, 2018.

Works cited

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