Karen Carlson

Karen Carlson (born January 15, 1945) is an American actress.

Karen Carlson
Born (1945-01-15) January 15, 1945
Alma materUniversity of Arkansas
Years active1967–present
David Soul (m. 19681977)
Devin Payne (? - ?)
Parent(s)Mr. and Mrs. M.W. Carlson

Life and career

Carlson was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Carlson,[1] and educated at C.E. Byrd High School[2] and at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and represented the university and state of Arkansas in the 1964 Miss America Pageant, finishing first runner up to Vonda Kay Van Dyke.[3]

Carlson started her career in Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller variety shows, Laugh In, and The Hollywood Palace. She also appeared in television series and films, including The Candidate (1972) with Robert Redford and The Octagon (1980) with Chuck Norris.

On television, Carlson played Nancy Scotfield in ten episodes of the soap opera Dallas[2] (1986) and Sarah Hallisey in twelve episodes of In the Heat of the Night. She was also a series regular in American Dream with Stephen Macht,[4] The Yellow Rose with her first husband, David Soul, and Cybill Shepherd,[4]:1202 and Two Marriages with Michael Murphy.[4]:1121

Carlson was cast as Sarah Ewing in the 1970 episode "The Mezcla Man", one of the last segments of the syndicated Western series Death Valley Days, hosted by Dale Robertson. Jesse Pearson played Jess Ivy, a young man who wants to propose marriage to Sarah, but hesitates because of his lack of financial footing. He decides to look for hidden gold.[5] In another 1970 Death Valley Days episode, "Pioneer Pluck", Carlson was cast as Anabelle Colvin, who is awaiting a proposal of marriage from her beau, Frank Harris (Roger Ewing). But ranch hand Winn Kinkead (Robert Yuro) mistakes Anabelle's intentions when she flirts with him and vows revenge when she marries.[6]

Carlson was cast as Mary Ellen in ABC's Here Come the Brides.[4]:452

Carlson also guest-starred in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1967), Mission: Impossible (1971), Bonanza (1973), Starsky and Hutch (1976–77) with David Soul, Centennial (1978), The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1979), Hill Street Blues (1983), and Hotel (1987). Her last appearance was in the film Out of Ashes (2013). She has since turned her focus from acting to directing and screenwriting.

Personal life

Carlson was married to actor David Soul and later married musician Devin Payne. She had one child with Soul and two children with Payne.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1969Shame, Shame, Everybody Knows Her NameSusan Barton
1970The Student NursesPhred
1972The CandidateNancy McKay
1973The Streets of San FranciscoCathy CullenEpisode: "Legion of the Lost"
1975Cage Without a KeyBetty HolianTV movie
1976-1977Starsky and HutchChristine D. Phelps / Gillian Ingrahm2 episodes
1977Black Oak ConspiracyLucy Metcalf
1977It Happened One ChristmasVioletTV movie
1978MatildaKathleen Smith
1978CentennialLisette Mercy3 episodes
1979Buck Rogers in the 25th CenturyStella WardenEpisode: "Planet of the Slave Girls"
1980The Incredible HulkLorraineEpisode: "Broken Image"
1980The OctagonJustine
1984FleshburnShirley Pinter
1985Brotherly LoveDonna RyderTV movie
1986DallasNancy Scotfield7 episodes
1988Teen VampMrs. Murphy
1990In the Heat of the NightAtty. Sarah Hallisey12 episodes
1997The Man Next DoorGrace
2008A Father's RightsMs. Little


  1. "Actress Karen Carlson Returns to Byrd High". The Times. Louisiana, Shreveport. March 2, 1973. p. 3. Retrieved July 28, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  2. Crockett, Lane (August 7, 1987). "Home base: Karen Carlson back in town". The Times. Louisiana, Shreveport. p. 47. Retrieved July 28, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  3. Montgomery, Jim (July 16, 1972). "Karen Carlson: A Beauty Queen No More". The Times. Louisiana, Shreveport. p. 18 - F. Retrieved July 28, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  4. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  5. "The Mezcla Man on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. January 2, 1970. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  6. "Pioneer Pluck on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Pam Jackson
Miss Arkansas
Succeeded by
Rhonda Oglesby

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