Suzanne Pleshette Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (28)  | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (respiratory failure)
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Suzanne Pleshette achieved television immortality in her role as Bob Newhart's wife in the 1970s classic situation comedy, The Bob Newhart Show (1972). For her role as "Emily Hartley", wife of psychologist "Bob Hartley" (played by Bob Newhart), Pleshette was nominated for the Emmy Award twice, in 1977 and 1978. She was also nominated for an Emmy in 1962 for a guest appearance on the TV series, Dr. Kildare (1961) and, in 1991, for playing the title role in Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean (1990) in a 1990 TV movie. Her acting career lasted almost 50 years.

Suzanne Pleshette was born on January 31, 1937, in New York, New York, to Gene Pleshette, a TV network executive who had managed the Paramount Theaters in Manhattan and Brooklyn during the Big Band era, and the former Geraldine Kaplan, a dancer who performed under the pseudonym Geraldine Rivers. Pleshette claims that she was not an acting natural, but just "found" herself attending New York City's High School of the Performing Arts. After graduating high school, she attended Syracuse University for a semester before returning to NYC to go to Finch College, an elite finishing school for well-to-do young ladies. After a semester at Finch, Pleshette dropped out of college to take lessons from famed acting teacher Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.

She made her Broadway debut in 1957 as part of the supporting cast for the play Compulsion (1959). Initially cast as "The Fourth Girl", she eventually took over the ingénue role during the play's run.

Blessed with beauty, a fine figure, and a husky voice that made her seem older than her years, she quickly achieved success on both the small and big screens. She made her TV debut, at age 20, in Harbormaster (1957), then was chosen as the female lead opposite superstar Jerry Lewis in his 1958 comedy, The Geisha Boy (1958). On Broadway, she replaced Anne Bancroft in the Broadway hit The Miracle Worker (1962).

Once Pleshette started acting, her career never lagged until she was afflicted with cancer.

Her most famous cinematic role was in Alfred Hitchcock's classic, The Birds (1963), as the brunette schoolteacher jilted by the hero of the film, "Mitch Brenner" (played by Rod Taylor). Pleshette's warm, earthy character was a perfect contrast to the icy blonde beauty, "Melanie Daniels" (Tippi Hedren).

Frankly, it is hard to understand how Taylor's Mitch would jilt Pleshette's Annie, other than to work out Hitchcock's dark vision of society and psychosexual relations between the sexes, in which amoral blondes triumph for aesthetic rather than moral reasons.

Still, it is for Emily Hartley she will always be remembered, for both the original show and her part in another show that had the most clever sign-off episode in TV series history. Bob Newhart had enjoyed a second success during the 1980s with his TV sitcom Newhart (1982), and when he decided to end that series, he asked Suzanne Pleshette to come back. She did, reprising her tole of Emily in a final episode of Newhart, where Newhart woke up as Bob Hartley from "The Bob Newhart Show" in the bedroom of the Hartley's Chicago apartment, Pleshette's Emily at his side. Bob Hartley then told his wife Emily of a crazy dream he'd just had, where he was the proprietor of a Vermont inn overrun with eccentrics, the premise of the second show.

After "The Bob Newhart Show" ceased production, Suzanne Pleshette worked regularly on television, mostly in TV movies. Although she was a talented dramatic actress, she had a flair for comedy and, in 1984, she headlined her own series at CBS. She helped develop the half-hour sitcom, and even had the rare honor of having her name in the title. Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs (1984), however, was not a success. She co-starred with Hal Linden in another short-lived CBS TV series, The Boys Are Back (1994), in the 1994-95 season, then had recurring roles in the TV series Good Morning, Miami (2002) and 8 Simple Rules (2002).

Pleshette was married three times: In 1964, she wed teen idol Troy Donahue, her co-star in the 1962 film Rome Adventure (1962) and in 1964's A Distant Trumpet (1964), but the marriage lasted less than a year. She was far more successful in her 1968 nuptials to Texas oil millionaire Tommy Gallagher, whom she remained married to until his death in 2000. After becoming a widow, she and widower Tom Poston (a Newhart regular) rekindled an old romance they had enjoyed when appearing together in "The Golden Fleecing", a 1959 Broadway comedy. They were married from 2001 until Poston's death, in April 2007.

Pleshette was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent chemotherapy in the summer of 2006; she rallied, but in late 2007, she barely survived a bout of pneumonia. She died of respiratory failure on January 19, 2008, a few days shy of her 71st birthday.

Suzanne Pleshette was remembered as a gregarious, down-to-earth person who loved to talk and often would regale her co-stars with a naughty story. Newhart and his producers had picked her for the role of Emily in "The Bob Newhart Show" after watching her appearances with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), where she showed herself to be a first-rate raconteuse. Because she could hold her own with Newhart's friend Carson, it was felt she would be a perfect foil as Newhart's TV wife.

She accepted the part, and TV history was made.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood & ziopaulie@aol.com

Spouse (3)

Tom Poston (11 May 2001 - 30 April 2007) ( his death)
Thomas J Gallagher III (16 March 1968 - 21 January 2000) ( his death)
Troy Donahue (4 January 1964 - 8 September 1964) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Husky voice

Trivia (28)

Cousin of John Pleshette.
Announced her engagement to Tom Poston in December 2000. Each had co-starred on a Bob Newhart show, but different versions--she was in The Bob Newhart Show (1972), he was in Newhart (1982). However, Poston appeared in a recurring role on the '70s version as Bob Hartley's old friend Cliff "The Peeper" Murdock. Pleshette also appeared on the '80s version finale that is one of the best series finales of all time--a segue between the two shows.
Was the producers' original choice for the role of Catwoman on the Batman (1966) TV show. When negotiations broke down, the part went to Julie Newmar, who made it her own.
Stepmother of Francesca Poston and Jason Poston.
She was the childhood friend of Faye Michael Nuell (aka Faye Mayo) and Karla Champion (widow of Gower Champion).
Underwent chemotherapy treatment at Los Angeles' Cedar-Sinai Medical Center for lung cancer. [August 2006]
Met her future husband, Tom Poston, when they appeared together in the 1959 Broadway comedy "The Golden Fleecing". However, they didn't marry for more than 40 years.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, posthumously, on her birthday, January 31, 2008. Ceremony attendees included Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Marcia Wallace, Nancy Sinatra and Tina Sinatra, who accepted the honor on Suzanne's behalf.
Is buried in a family plot at Hillside Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California; between her two late husbands, Tom Gallagher and Tom Poston.
Born to Geraldine (née Kaplan; 1913-1987), a dancer and artist who gave up work upon marrying, and Gene Pleshette, manager of the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, NY. She was an only child.
Both she and Veronica Cartwright appeared together in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), as well as on episodes of Will & Grace (1998). Each played mothers. Pleshette playing Karen Walker's mom and Cartwright playing Jack's mom.
Started out in theater before moving onto film.
One time, while on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), she told the story of her near involvement with the movie Palm Springs Weekend (1963). At the time she was a contract performer at Warner Brothers and was cast in the movie. She adamantly refused to do it, fearing that it might hurt her career (a studio executive, annoyed by her attitude, told her that the sign outside read "Warner Brothers" not "Pleshette Brothers"!) She eventually got her way (and was forced to appear in Wall of Noise (1963) instead) and the role went to Stefanie Powers. She jokingly said that Powers was so upset that she had to take her place in the movie that she refused to speak to her for years afterward.
Both she and husband Tom Poston died of the same cause, respiratory failure.
Gave the eulogy at David Janssen's funeral. [February 1980]
Passed away less than one year after the death of her husband, Tom Poston.
Turned down the role of Lil Mainwaring in Marnie (1964) that went to Diane Baker.
She and Anne Bancroft started trying to get pregnant at the same time. Anne eventually had Max Brooks but Suzanne, despite being six years younger, was unable to carry a child to term.
Favorite cigarette brand was Pall Mall; reputedly smoked two packs a day for 40 years until quitting around 1997.
Turned down The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1971).
Auditioned for Faye Dunaway's role in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).
Went against the advice of her agents by accepting television roles when she was a burgeoning movie star. After 1980, her career was exclusively in TV.
Was considered for the role of Jennifer Hart on Hart to Hart (1979).
Her parents married two weeks after they met.
Was originally announced for the lead in Sex and the Single Girl (1964), which later went to Natalie Wood. Pleshette had previously replaced Wood in Rome Adventure (1962) after Wood dropped out of that film.
During the filming of her guest spot on The Fugitive (1963), Suzanne fell fiercely in love with the show's star David Janssen, who was having marital problems with his then-wife Ellie. They ended up having a three-month affair, but Suzanne broke it off when Janssen delayed filing for divorce.
Designed linens for J.P. Stevens & Co. from 1969 to 1980.
First and only female non-singing, non-comic guest host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962).

Personal Quotes (8)

I don't sit around and wait for great parts. I'm an actress, and I love being one, and I'll probably be doing it until I'm 72, standing around the back lot doing Gunsmoke (1955).
[on her "girl next door" image] "When Warren Beatty called a girl up, it was usually to try to get her into the sack. But he called me to find out what kind of bologna I used. I just don't have what it takes, I guess. Raquel Welch has what it takes. She's so sexy and gorgeous, even I want to jump on her!
I'm an actress, and that's why I'm still here. Anybody who has the illusion that you can have a career as long as I have and be a star is kidding themselves. (From a 1999 interview)
David Janssen was one of the great loves of my life.
[on David Janssen] Our love for each other grew out of friendship, you know, and then love, and then friendship again, and loving friends.
I've never liked being single. I like to have a man around to wait on.
[September 2007] This has been so ludicrous. First, I get cancer. Tom gets sick. Then Tom dies, and I keep getting sick.
I have a great range. They can come to me with a comedy, a drama, a period piece, a character piece and know I can do it. And I bring in the ratings. I have the ability to bring a script to its full potential.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed