Brenda Benet

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Brenda Benet
BornBrenda Ann Nelson
(1945-08-14)August 14, 1945
Hollywood, California, U.S.
DiedApril 7, 1982(1982-04-07) (aged 36)
West Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesBrenda Benét
OccupationActress
Years active1964–1982
SpousePaul Petersen (1967–1970)
Bill Bixby (1971–1979)
 
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Brenda Benet
BornBrenda Ann Nelson
(1945-08-14)August 14, 1945
Hollywood, California, U.S.
DiedApril 7, 1982(1982-04-07) (aged 36)
West Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesBrenda Benét
OccupationActress
Years active1964–1982
SpousePaul Petersen (1967–1970)
Bill Bixby (1971–1979)

Brenda Benet (August 14, 1945 – April 7, 1982) was an American television and film actress. Benet was best known for her roles on the soap operas The Young Marrieds and Days of our Lives.

Contents

Early life and career

Benet was born Brenda Ann Nelson in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. She attended UCLA for a time. Her first acting roles were in 1964, with appearances on Shindig! and The Young Marrieds. She eventually became an actress very much in demand for roles in episodic prime time television in the 1960s and 1970s, including I Dream of Jeannie, Mannix, My Three Sons, Hogan's Heroes, Love, American Style, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father. She also had a major feature role in the film Walking Tall (1973).

Although many of the characters she portrayed seemed to be either sweet or seductive, she became perhaps best known for her role as scheming villainess Lee Dumonde on the daytime serial Days of our Lives, a role she played from 1979 until her death in 1982.

Personal life

Benet's first marriage was to The Donna Reed Show actor Paul Petersen in 1967. In 1969, Benet left Petersen for actor Bill Bixby.[1] After her divorce from Peterson became final, she married Bixby in 1971. The couple had a child, Christopher, in 1974, and then divorced in 1980.[2] After the divorce and up until her death, Benet was in a relationship with pundit Tammy Bruce, who was 20 years old during that time period.[3]

Benet experienced a number of personal and professional challenges after her divorce from Bixby. Her role on Days of our Lives made her extremely unpopular with fans; Benet's character was breaking up one of the show's popular couples, Doug and Julie, and fans were outraged. In the book Like Sands through the Hourglass, actress Susan Seaforth Hayes, who played Julie, recalled conflict between her and Benet that intensified as the storyline progressed.

However, Benet's most personal challenge occurred when her son Christopher died in 1981. While on a skiing vacation, he experienced a sudden illness and went into cardiac arrest after doctors attempted to insert a breathing tube. Benet was devastated by her son's death and sank into a severe depression. On April 7, 1982, Benet took her own life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was 36.

In her book The Death of Right and Wrong, talk radio host Tammy Bruce writes of her personal involvement with Bixby and Benet. Benet and Bruce were romantically involved for a time, and Benet killed herself in a home she had previously shared with Bruce. Bruce had moved out two weeks prior to the suicide. On the day of Benet's suicide, Bruce thought that she would be meeting Benet for lunch. According to Bruce, Benet was locked inside the bathroom of her home when she arrived. Bruce sensed something was wrong and went to get help. After Bruce stepped outside, Benet shot herself.[4] The book Soap Opera Babylon said that Benet was actually involved with a male costar on Days of our Lives that ended right before she killed herself.

Filmography

Film
YearFilmRoleNotes
1965Beach BallSamantha
Harum ScarumEmeraldAlternative title: Harum Holiday
1967Track of ThunderShelly Newman
1973Walking TallLuan Paxton
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1964Wendy and MeShamir1 episode
1965McHale's NavyKarema1 episode
1965–1966The Young MarriedsJill McComb #2Unknown episodes
1966The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.Gizelle1 episode
Daniel BoonePrincess Wild Flower1 episode
1966–1970My Three SonsElyse
Maureen
2 episodes
1967The Iron HorseKitty Clayborne1 episode
The Green HornetGirl1 episode
I Dream of JeannieEleanor1 episode
1968–1969It Takes a ThiefNicole
Angela Peters
2 episodes
1968–1970Hogan's HeroesJanine Robinet
Marie Bizet
3 episodes
1969The High ChaparralAnita de Santiago y Amistad1 episode
To Rome With LoveTina1 episode
The F.B.I.Stewardess1 episode
Where the Heart IsSally MooreUnknown episodes
1969–1972Love, American Style3 episodes
1970Death Valley DaysChela1 episode
Paris 70001 episode
1971The Most Deadly GameMindy1 episode
The Courtship of Eddie's FatherBrenda1 episode
The VirginianSusan Masters1 episode
1971–1975MannixEllen Parrish
Edie
2 episodes
1972Wednesday Night OutTelevision movie
SearchCarol Lesko1 episode
1973The Horror at 37,000 FeetSallyTelevision movie
The MagicianJoanna Marsh/Osborne1 episode
1977The Love BoatMaureen Mitchell1 episode
1978Wonder WomanMorgana1 episode
Fantasy IslandGinny Winthrop1 episode
1979Carter CountryNatalya1 episode
1979–1982Days of Our LivesLee DuMonde Carmichael Williams255 episodes
1980The Incredible HulkAnnie Caplan1 episode
1982Father MurphyRachel Hansen1 episode

References

  1. ^ Kubey, Robert William (2003). Creating Television: The First 50 Years. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 384–385. ISBN 0-8058-1077-3. 
  2. ^ Lisanti, Tom; Wells, Carole (2003). Drive-in Dream Girls: A Galaxy of B-movie Starlets of the Xixties. McFarland. pp. 219–220. ISBN 0-7864-1575-4. 
  3. ^ Bruce, Tammy (2004-08-22). The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left's Assault on Our Culture and Values. Three Rivers Press. pp. 2. ISBN 1-4000-5294-7. 
  4. ^ Bruce, Tammy (2004-08-22). The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left's Assault on Our Culture and Values. Three Rivers Press. pp. 3. ISBN 1-4000-5294-7. 

External links