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Jean Carson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (5)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Charleston, West Virginia, USA
Died in Palm Springs, California, USA  (complications from a stroke)
Birth NameJean Leete Carson

Mini Bio (1)

All this shapely character "broad" had to do was open her mouth to induce laughter--and so she did, primarily on TV during the '50s and '60s. And although she milked that unmistakable rasp for all its worth, she also showed great comedy sense. Born Jean Leete on February 23, 1923, in Charleston, West Virginia, actress Jean Carson (not to be confused with pert British actress Jeannie Carson of Hey, Jeannie! (1956) TV fame) was trained in music and dance and started performing by age 12. With high aspirations of becoming an actress, she subsequently studied at Carnegie-Mellon University.

She was first discovered appearing on Broadway in 1948 in George S. Kaufman's "Bravo!" with a cast including Kevin McCarthy and Oskar Homolka. Set in New York, the show was a bust (running only 44 performances), but Jean made a wonderful comic impression and earned a Theatre World award in the process. She followed this with another Kaufman-staged play, "Metropole," in 1949 as well as "The Bird Cage" (1950) with Melvyn Douglas and Maureen Stapleton and "Men of Distinction" (1953) with Robert Preston, but these shows fared just as badly. A hit Broadway comedy finally came her way with "Anniversary Waltz" in 1954, which ran 544 performances. Jean stood out among the cast just for those inimitable deep tones alone.

She was typically on display throughout the '50s and '60s, gracing many of the popular shows of the day, including "The Red Buttons Show," "The Tom Ewell Show," "Wagon Train," "Sugarfoot," "Perry Mason," "The Untouchables" and "Gomer Pyle." Surprisingly, she never had her own TV sitcom, although she did appear as a regular on the short-lived The Betty Hutton Show (1959) playing a girlfriend to the star. A single standout episode of "The Twilight Zone" had Jean and Fred Clark as a pair of thieves who discover that a camera they've stolen takes pictures of the future. Jean essayed a number of bleached blonde floozies, jailbirds, party girls and gold diggers over the course of her career but was never better than as both convict Jalene Naomi and good time girl Daphne on The Andy Griffith Show (1960). In one classic episode, her character Jalene was partnered up with cohorts Jane Dulo and Reta Shaw as three dames hiding out from the law who hold both Deputy Barney and Floyd hostage while putting designs on them at the same time.

An unfortunate alcohol problem dogged Jean's career for many years. Active with Alcoholics Anonymous, she eventually retired from Hollywood in the early 1980s and moved to the Palm Springs area to be closer to family. There she appeared occasionally in such local theater productions as "The Elephant Man" and "Steel Magnolias." Jean had been in spiraling health since suffering a paralytic stroke in September of 2005. She died in a Palm Desert convalescent home on November 2, 2005, at age 82. Two sons survive.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Leonard S. Smith Jr. (1955 - 1968) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
? Parlan (? - ?) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

The catchphrase "Hello, doll."

Trivia (5)

The daughter of Alexander and Sadie Leete Carson - among her ancestors were William Leete, the first governor of the colony of Connecticut.
Had two sons: Tracy Alexander and Carson Parlan, both of whom lived in Palm Springs.
Studied drama at Carnegie Tech, which was also the training ground for fellow Mayberry resident Jack Dodson.
190 Sahara St., Palm Springs, CA. 92264 [April 2002]
Her ashes were sprinkled around the San Bernardino Mountains.

Personal Quotes (1)

I was always kind of typed. I'm what you call a 'second woman' or 'second tomato.' They never get the man.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

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