Joan Shawlee

Joan Shawlee (March 5, 1926[2] – March 22, 1987), also credited as Joan Fulton,[3] was an American film and television actress.

Joan Shawlee
Born(1926-03-05)March 5, 1926
DiedMarch 22, 1987(1987-03-22) (aged 61)
Other namesJoan Fulton
Joyce Ring
Years active1945-1986
Spouse(s)Walter Shawlee[1]
Eddie Barchet

Early years

Shawlee was born in Forest Hills, New York, but moved to the West Coast when she was five years old.[4]


Dancing and modeling

Shawlee was a student of Ernest Belcher, studying ballet. At age 14, she went to New York, where she worked as a model for the John Robert Powers agency and as a showgirl.[4] Billed as Joyce Ring, she performed in the Broadway productions By Jupiter (1942) and A Connecticut Yankee (1943).[5]


A tall woman (5'9"), she was known for small parts in Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder films. She is probably best remembered for her role as "Sweet Sue" in Some Like It Hot (1959) starring Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis, as well as Lemmon. She appeared as "Sylvia" in The Apartment (1960), and as "Amazon Annie" in Irma la Douce, both of which starred Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. She also appeared in Billy Wilder's final film Buddy Buddy (1981) starring Lemmon and Walter Matthau.


She had a recurring role on TV in The Dick Van Dyke Show as "Pickles Sorrell",[6] She played the lead in The Adventures of Aggie (1956–57), which only ran for one season.[7]:20 She played Lorna Peterson on Betty Hutton's short-lived series[7]:94 Goldie, Margo on the 1976-77 crime drama The Feather and Father Gang,[7]:338 and Tessie on Joe's World.[7]:537-538 She was also a regular on The Abbott and Costello Show.[7] Her final acting appearance was in an episode of Crazy Like a Fox in 1985. This was the final chapter of a remarkable career in film and television acting that spanned over 40 years. She also appeared in Nov. 17, 1957 episode of Maverick as a saloon owner named Madame Pompey.

Comedy team

In the early 1960s, Shawlee and actress Mitzi McCall formed a team to perform as a night club act.[4] They debuted their act at the Club Robaire in Cleveland.[8] In January 1961, syndicated newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen reported that the team was "causing quite a stir", and she cited the partners' discrepancy in height — "Joan being six feet, three inches tall and Mitzi four feet, 10 inches short."[9]

Personal life

Shawlee was married twice, her first husband was Walter Shawlee, a printing executive whom she divorced in 1956 and her second husband was Eddie Barchet, a resort hotel manager whom she met when she was in England. She and Shawlee had a son, Walter. She and Barchet had a daughter, Angela.[4]

Shawlee was a Democrat who was supportive of Adlai Stevenson's campaign during the 1952 presidential election[10].


Shawlee died of breast cancer,[11] in Hollywood, California, on March 22, 1987, aged 61.[1] She was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea[12].

Selected filmography and television


  1. FOLKART, BURT A. (31 March 1987). "Joan Shawlee; Busy Actress in Zany Comedies" via LA Times.
  2. Joan Shawlee's date of birth,; accessed February 14, 2016.
  3. "Actress Joan Shawlee Dies of Cancer at 58 [sic]". The Associated Press. March 31, 1987. Miss Shawlee, who also had acted under the name of Joan Fulton ... changed her professional name after her marriage to businessman Walter Shawlee.
  4. "Joan Shawlee Sparkles Like a Spring Tonic". The Boston Globe. Massachusetts, Boston. April 30, 1961. p. 65. Retrieved September 21, 2018 via
  5. "Joyce Ring". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 22 September 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  6. Heffernan, Harold. "12 New Film Beauties Selected For Musical", Toledo Blade, November 9, 1950.
  7. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  8. "They're Back". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. October 20, 1960. p. 54. Retrieved September 22, 2018 via
  9. Kilgallen, Dorothy (January 7, 1961). "The Voice of Broadway". The Mercury. Pennsylvania, Pottstown. p. 4. Retrieved September 22, 2018 via
  10. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  11. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 681. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  12. Wilson, Scott (19 August 2016). "Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed". McFarland via Google Books.
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