|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 & email@example.com
|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)|