Elen Willard

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Elen Willard
Born(1941-09-01) September 1, 1941 (age 72)
USA
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
Other namesEllen Willard
OccupationCharacter Actress
Years active19601966
 
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Elen Willard
Born(1941-09-01) September 1, 1941 (age 72)
USA
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
Other namesEllen Willard
OccupationCharacter Actress
Years active19601966

Elen Willard (born September 1, 1941) is a uniquely gifted, insightfully talented former American character actress who brought exceptional believability, and depth to each and every one of the dramatic roles in which she was cast in American network television series between 1960 and 1966.

Miss Willard's first television appearance was as the somewhat playful, and subtly impudent Deidre Waugh, visiting teenage English niece of actor, Ray Milland's lead character in the 1960 episode of his short-lived CBS detective series, Markham which was entitled, "The Bad Spell." In contrast to that first role of her career, Miss Willard then went on to portray a non-fictional character: a serious, no nonsense young English librarian by the name of Emily MacDougall in an episode of the fact-based ABC dramatic supernatural anthology series, Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond.[1]She appeared in the production opposite actor, Alex Davion. The true story it depicts took place in the late 1930's to early 1940'a in England, shortly before, and then during the early portion of World War ll. The episode is entitled, "To Know The End." An astonishingly exceptional early performance in her career, it turned out to ultimately be Miss Willard's only full-on lead-position starring role of her six year tenure as a dramatic television character actress. On the 10th of November Miss Willard guest starred as Sue Ellen McKim opposite Jack Mullaney in an ultimately quite tragic, and heart-breaking episode of the western series, "The Outlaws," entitled "The Last Chance," which also starred series' regulars, Don Collier, Barton MacLane, and Jock Gaynor. On November 16, 1960, Miss Willard appeared as Belle Bleymier in the "The Bleymier Story" episode of the NBC western series, Wagon Train, which was broadcast just days after the death of series lead Ward Bond. The series' second lead performer, co-star, Robert Horton as the scout Flint McCullough struggles to get a wagon train through a Sioux burial ground. Dan Duryea plays the mentally unstable Samuel Bleymier, Belle's father — one obsessed by demons, and superstitions. Bleymier opposes the interest shown in Belle by Justin Claiborne, as played by James Drury. (This was just two years before NBC launched Drury in the lead cast position of the western series, The Virginian.) The foreboding episode is filmed mostly during heavy rains, high winds, and a cyclone.[2]Miss Willard then appeared as Agatha Evans in "And the Beast" on NBC's The Tall Man, starring Barry Sullivan, and Clu Gulager.[1] Her final 1960 performance was as the ultimately pivotal character of the young Miss Ann Farwell in the episode entitled, "The Case of the Red Riding Boots" on CBS's renowned murder/mystery/legal series, Perry Mason, which starred actor, Raymond Burr.

Beginning in 1961 Miss Willard played the role of Mrs. Madera in the episode entitled, "Suitable for Framing" on Rod Taylor's Hong Kong series which aired on ABC. Her next performance was as Jane Marsden in an episode of the CBS detective series, Checkmate, entitled, "Laugh Until I Die," with series regulars Anthony George, and Doug McClure. Miss Willard was then cast as Charlotte Laughlin in the episode entitled "The Quest" of NBC's western detective series, Whispering Smith, starring Audie Murphy. Afterwards, on the 26th of October of that year Miss Willard's exceptional acting talents, and subtle, yet profound chameleon-like natural abilities in being able to so completely, and believably transform her persona in portraying divergent roles were seen being employed to great effect in her captivating depiction of the unexpected pivotal character, Ione Sykes in the uniquely crafted, atmospheric gothic-themed western episode "The Grave" of CBS' '"The Twilight Zone" science fiction/fantasy/horror anthology series which included equally substantive, soon-to-be well known guest stars Lee Marvin, Lee Van Cleef, Strother Martin, James Best, and Stafford Repp.[1] Her next appearance was as Caroline Lord in the episode entitled "The Lords of Darkness" on the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Lawman," starring John Russell, and Peter Brown. Her final performance that year was as the character of Lorie Harris in the episode entitled, "A Dark Night for Billy Harris" on the ABC medical drama, Ben Casey, starring Vince Edwards.

Beginning in 1962 Miss Willard appeared in a second medical series, NBC's Dr. Kildare, as a woman named Joan Prentiss, who becomes the love interest of that series' title character, played by the program's lead actor, Richard Chamberlain. The episode is entitled "The Horn of Plenty." Miss Willard followed that performance by portraying the character of young British army nurse Anne Farell, again opposite actor, Alex Davion in "Any Second Now," an episode of ABC's World War II American military based dramatic series Combat!. Afterwards Miss Willard appeared in CBS's western series, Gunsmoke starring James Arness. She beautifully portrays an innocent, love-starved young woman by the name of Althea whom it is soon learned is being life-threateningly brutalized--both physically as well as emotionally, by a viciously cruel, completely unfeeling father in the series' episode entitled, "The Hunger." Miss Willard then went on to be cast in the role of Jennifer Cook in the "Alcoa Premiere" anthology series episode entitled, "The Contenders." She finished the year in the episode of Richard Boone's CBS western series, Have Gun - Will Travel, which was entitled, "The Predators." Her character had no name, being simply listed as "Girl."

Miss Willard only appeared once in 1963; it was again in Richard Boone's CBS western series, Have Gun - Will Travel, this time in a powerfully riveting guest starring role as an initially very mysterious, but soon revealed profoundly vengeful, horribly abused, and deeply shattered young woman by the name of Mollie Dean. The episode is entitled, "The Walking Years."

Miss Willard began 1964 portraying Pelas Delcort in "Memory of a Firing squad" on the ABC college drama, Channing, starring Jason Evers. For her second, and final performance of that year Miss Willard was cast in the first of four successive different roles for four different episodes from 1964 to 1966 of the ABC/Quinn Martin World War II dramatic American Army/Airforce series Twelve O'Clock High. That first episode was entitled, "Pressure Point," and her character was that of a young, pregnant unmarried English woman by the name of April Barrett.

As in the previous year Miss Willard only appeared twice in 1965, and those two appearances were in the second, and third of her four successive episode performances for the "Twelve O'Clock High" TV series. Earl Holliman, who appeared opposite her in the first of those two episodes entitled "The Ticket," (in which Miss Willard was cast in the integral supportive role of a young English woman by the name of Myra Bentley who was the love interest of Mr. Holliman's character) is quoted in "The Twelve O' Clock High Logbook" (a book about that particular television series) that he had heard some years after working with her in that specific production that Miss Willard "had left acting because she found it too emotionally taxing."[1]Miss Willard's second, and final performance of 1965 was as English educated, German national/English widow, Elizabeth Hoffman opposite William Shatner, in the captivatingly moving episode of Twelve O'Clock High entitled, "I Am The Enemy."

The first of Miss Willard's omly two performances for 1966 was her last appearance on the Twelve O'Clock High TV series. The episode is entitled, "Any Second Now" in which her talents are employed in the all-too-brief, but still unforgettably effective, yet once again diverse portrayal of a young English woman by the name of Katie Henshaw who is the girlfriend of one of the series' supporting regular characters. That episode along with the one that is next cited are the only performances of her career which happened to be filmed in color instead of black, and white. Miss Willard then appeared in an episode of the NBC adventure/espionage series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.[1] starring Robert Vaughn, and David McCallum. The episode was a Christmas-themed production for the series entitled, "The Jingle Bells Affair," and it aired on December 23, 1966. In it Miss Willard deftly, and memorably portrays the spiritually inspirational, prominent character of Salvation Army worker, Priscilla Worth. The episode not only turned out to be her final television appearance for 1966, but also to contain what has remained up to the present the final acting role of her career. Miss Willard's personal history, whereabouts and/or disposition currently remain obscured to all readily available public internet means of inquiry. The absolute only personal information of any kind about this exceptionally gifted, precious lady that can be ascertained at present is her date of birth, and the earlier cited statement regarding her quiting her chosen profession made by fellow actor, Earl Holliman.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Elen Willard". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ ""The Bleymier Story"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved May 21, 2012.