Jean Carson

Jean Carson (February 28, 1923 – November 2, 2005) 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".

Jean Carson
Carson as Daphne, one of "The Fun Girls" on The Andy Griffith Show in her most well-known acting role (from right to left) Jean Carson and Skippy played by Joyce Jameson
Born(1923-02-28)February 28, 1923
DiedNovember 2, 2005(2005-11-02) (aged 82)
Spouse(s)Leonard S. Smith, Jr. (1955–1968) (divorced) 1 child
? Parlan (? – ?) (divorced) 1 child

Early life

Carson was born in Charleston, West Virginia,[1] to Alexander W. Carson and Sadie (nėe Leete; a descendant of William Leete, first governor of the Colony of Connecticut). She first became interested in show business as a child, playing a "bad little Indian girl". At the age of 12, she got her first acting job, earning $5 for a small part in a production of Carmen that traveled through her hometown of Charleston, West Virginia.

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. Before she achieved that goal, she attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,


Carson's early theatrical work included acting in productions of the Kanawha Players.[2] She made her Broadway debut in George S. Kaufman's Bravo (1958).[1] Her 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 (as Paula in "A Most Unusual Camera", a part written especially for her by Rod Serling) and The Ford Theatre Hour. She continued to make guest starring appearances throughout the 1950s, including Paula in Peter Gunn in 1958 as well as a regular role on 1959's The Betty Hutton Show. (Carson described Hutton as a "foulmouthed old biddy" and said that was the only acting experience she did not enjoy.)

On The Andy Griffith Show, Carson had a brief role as Naomi in a 1962 episode, but her most popular role was Daphne, one of the "fun girls",[1] 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".[3]


Carson had roles in films such as 1955's The Phenix City Story and 1958's I Married a Monster from Outer Space. Carson felt she was typecast by some of these roles ("I'm what you call a 'second woman' or 'second tomato.' They never get the man." ).

She 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.

Personal life

For the first half of the 1970s Carson had a drinking problem which limited her acting career. She retired early in the 1980s, save for some plays in the Palm Springs area (where she had moved to be close to her children), mentoring community theater actors. She later became sober. 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.

Carson was married to Leonard Smith, Jr.,[4] who was the assistant manager of the Roxy Theater.[5]


On November 2, 2005, Carson died in Palm Springs, California,[1] from complications of the stroke; she was 82 years old.[6] She was survived by two sons.[7]


Year Title Role Other notes
1949 NBC Presents TV, 1 episode
The Philco Television Playhouse TV, 1 episode
1949–1952 Studio One Mary Warren TV, 3 episodes
1950 The Ford Theatre Hour TV, 1 episode
The Trap TV, 1 episode
Robert Montgomery Presents TV, 1 episode
1951 The Adventures of Ellery Queen TV, 2 episodes
1952 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Model TV, 1 episode
1953 Eye Witness TV, 1 episode
1954 Inner Sanctum Vera Craig TV, 1 episode
The Mask TV, 1 episode
The Man Behind the Badge TV, 1 episode
1955 The Phenix City Story Cassie
1957 The 20th Century Fox Hour Ethel Marzack TV, 1 episode
The Gale Storm Show Josephine TV, 1 episode
The Court of Last Resort Myra North TV, 1 episode
M Squad Doris Colby TV, 1 episode
1958 Sugarfoot Lilly TV, 1 episode
Bachelor Father TV, 1 episode
The Phil Silvers Show Bidgett Hepperwhite TV, 1 episode
I Married a Monster from Outer Space Helen Rhodes
Death Valley Days Della Allison TV, 1 episode
Peter Gunn Pearl TV, 1 episode
1959 Frontier Doctor Flo Warren TV, 1 episode
The Sound and the Fury Mary Ellen Uncredited
General Electric Theater Dorris Krosky TV, 1 episode
Here Come the Jets Jean
The Walter Winchell File Florrie TV, 1 episode
The Millionaire Marie TV, 1 episode
1959–1960 The Betty Hutton Show Rosemary TV, unknown episodes
1960 The Chevy Mystery Show Donna TV, 1 episode
Lock-Up TV, 1 episode
The Twilight Zone Paula Diedrich TV, 1 episode
1961 Ripcord Blanche Telford TV, 1 episode
Dante Ginny Kane TV, 1 episodes
Sanctuary Norma
The Tom Ewell Show Diane TV, 1 episodes
Coronado 9 Lois Dixon TV, 1 episode
The Untouchables Sylvia Orkins TV, 1 episode
1962 The Joey Bishop Show TV, 1 episode
Stoney Burke Merle TV, 1 episode
1963 77 Sunset Strip Viola Dorn TV, 1 episode
1962–1965 The Andy Griffith Show "fun girl" Daphne (3x) escaped convict Naomi (1x) TV, 4 episodes
1964 Perry Mason Mrs. Mitchell TV, 1 episode
One Man's Way Woman Who Shoots Husband
Burke's Law Eagle Eye TV, 1 episode
Wendy and Me Mrs. Talbot TV, 1 episode
1966 Chamber of Horrors Uncredited
1967 Warning Shot Cocktail Waitress Uncredited
Gunn Waitress Uncredited
1968 The Party Nanny
The Outsider Mary Potter TV, 1 episode
1969 Anatomy of a Crime Mary Potter Television movie
1977 Fun with Dick and Jane Paula (final film role)


  1. Lentz, Harris M. III (2006). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2005: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. p. 63. ISBN 9780786424894. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  2. "Home Again for Jean Carson". The Charleston Daily Mail. West Virginia, Charleston. November 20, 1955. p. 20. Retrieved February 28, 2017 via
  3. "Interview with Mayberry Fun Girl Jean Carson," "Christian Activities," June 21, 2004
  4. "Father Of Actress Jean Carson Dies". The Raleigh Register. West Virginia, Beckley. Associated Press. December 17, 1959. p. 2. Retrieved February 28, 2017 via
  5. Winchell, Walter (March 14, 1956). "Broadway and Elsewhere". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Indiana, Logansport. p. 4. Retrieved February 28, 2017 via
  6. "Obituaries in the News". The Washington Post. 2005-11-08. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  7. Willis, John; Monush, Barry (2006). Screen World Film Annual. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 390. ISBN 9781557837066. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
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