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".
|Died||November 2, 2005 82) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Leonard S. Smith, Jr. (1955–1968) (divorced) 1 child|
? Parlan (? – ?) (divorced) 1 child
Carson was born in Charleston, West Virginia, 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. She made her Broadway debut in George S. Kaufman's Bravo (1958). 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", 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 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." ).
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.
On November 2, 2005, Carson died in Palm Springs, California, from complications of the stroke; she was 82 years old. She was survived by two sons.
|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|
|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|
|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)|
- 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.
- "Home Again for Jean Carson". The Charleston Daily Mail. West Virginia, Charleston. November 20, 1955. p. 20. Retrieved February 28, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Interview with Mayberry Fun Girl Jean Carson," "Christian Activities," June 21, 2004
- "Father Of Actress Jean Carson Dies". The Raleigh Register. West Virginia, Beckley. Associated Press. December 17, 1959. p. 2. Retrieved February 28, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Winchell, Walter (March 14, 1956). "Broadway and Elsewhere". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Indiana, Logansport. p. 4. Retrieved February 28, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Obituaries in the News". The Washington Post. 2005-11-08. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
- Willis, John; Monush, Barry (2006). Screen World Film Annual. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 390. ISBN 9781557837066. Retrieved 1 March 2017.