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 former American character actress who worked in American network dramatic television series between 1960 and 1966.

Willard's first performance was in the supporting role of the somewhat playful, and subtly impudent Deidre Waugh, visiting teenage English niece of actor, Ray Milland's lead (title) character in the 1960 episode of the CBS detective series, Markham which was entitled, "The Bad Spell." In contrast to that first performance she was then cast in what turned out to be the only lead position starring role of her career, portraying the non-fiction character of Emily MacDougall, a young English woman who sees in a vision-like dream the dying moments of her then unmet future husband in an episode of the fact-based ABC supernatural-themed anthology series, Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond[1]entitled, "To Know The End." Willard then guest starred as Sue Ellen McKim opposite Jack Mullaney in an episode of the western series, The Outlaws, entitled "The Last Chance," which is the story of repentance for one young drifter/outlaw gang member down on his luck as played by Mullaney who on the advice of his mortally wounded gang leader to do what he, the gang leader, had failed to do in life (to find himself a good woman, stop being an outlaw, marry the woman, then settle down, and have a family) seeks out, then finds a strikingly beautiful dark-haired young lady played by Willard he very briefly encountered at the beginning of the story whom he in spite of later initially discovering appears on the surface to be just a worldly saloon girl, sees right from that first brief encounter through the young lady's veneer, completely winning her heart over in the process. In spite of an ultimately tragic ending for both characters, hope, and faith, but above all, true, selfless love, in the face of impossible obstacles is the underlying theme of the entire story. On November 16, 1960, Willard appeared as Belle Bleymier in the "The Bleymier Story" episode of NBC's western series, Wagon Train, which was broadcast just days after the death of series' lead Ward Bond. Co-star, Robert Horton portrays the scout, Flint McCullough, who in the story struggles to get a wagon train through a Sioux indian 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 starring role of the western series, The Virginian. The foreboding episode is filmed mostly during heavy rains, high winds, and a cyclone.[2] Following that performance, in the episode entitled, "And The Beast" on NBC's The Tall Man, starring Barry Sullivan, and Clu Gulager.[1] Willard then appeared as a young woman by the name of Agatha Evans whom it is quickly learned is the ongoing focus of an unseen apparent giant of a man who has already murdered two friends of the town doctor--a married couple Willard's character had been serving as a maid to while living at the couple's ranch. Her final 1960 performance was as the young, distraught Ann Farwell in the episode entitled, "The Case Of The Red Riding Boots" on CBS's murder/mystery legal series, Perry Mason, which starred Raymond Burr.

Beginning in 1961 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. Willard was then cast as the character of 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 Willard portrayed the ultimately pivotal character of Ione Sykes in the gothic-themed western episode "The Grave" of CBS' The Twilight Zone fantasy/horror anthology series which also included 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. Willard's 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.

For 1962 Willard first appeared in a second medical series, NBC's Dr. Kildare, in the role of Joan Prentiss, who becomes the love interest of the series' title character as played by actor, Richard Chamberlain. The episode is entitled "The Horn Of Plenty." Then in an episode of ABC's World War II based dramatic series Combat! entitled, "Any Second Now," Willard was cast in the prominent supporting role of young British army nurse Anne Farell opposite guest star, Alex Davion who had formerly appeared opposite her in the previously referenced Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond[1]episode entitled, "To Know The End." Afterwards she guest starred in CBS's western series, Gunsmoke starring James Arness, portraying the character of Althea, a young woman who was being emotionally, and physically battered by her abusive, selfish father in the series' episode entitled, "The Hunger." Willard then was 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." She appeared a second time in the series during 1963 (which was her only performance for that year) where she played the schemingly vengeful, self-loathing, tragic character of Mollie Dean in an episode directed by Boone entitled "The Walking Years."

In 1964 Willard portrayed Professor Pelas Delcort in "Memory Of A Firing Squad" on the ABC college drama, Channing, starring Jason Evers. Then she 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 based series Twelve O'Clock High. That first episode was entitled, "Pressure Point," where she is featured in the supporting role of the unmarried, pregnant English civilian/US Army Air Force base employee, April Barrett. For 1965, she appeared in the second, and third of those episodes. Earl Holliman, was cast opposite her in the second one which was entitled "The Ticket." She played the part of Myra Bentley, the encouraging, selfless, level-headed love interest of Mr. Holliman's character. Holliman is quoted in "The Twelve O' Clock High Logbook" (a book published about that particular television series) as stating that he had heard some years after working with Willard that she "had left acting because she found it too emotionally taxing."[1]Willard's final performance of the year was as the heart broken, initially lonely character of German national/English widow, Elizabeth Hoffman opposite William Shatner, in the third of those four Twelve O'Clock High episodes which was entitled, "I Am The Enemy."

In 1966, as in 1964, and 1965, Willard again only appeared twice. The first of those two performances was the last of her four roles for the Twelve O'Clock High TV series where she was seen in the episode entitled, "To Seek And Destroy," portraying the minor supporting character of Katy Henshaw. Willard was then cast as compassionate Salvation Army worker, Priscilla Worth in an episode of the NBC adventure/espionage series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.[1] starring Robert Vaughn, and David McCallum. A Christmas-themed episode for the series entitled, "The Jingle Bells Affair," which aired on December 23, 1966, her role in it became the final acting performance of her career. One strictly technical fact of minor importance at best: according to a very careful review of each of her 24 acting credits as provsided on her IMDB.com webpage these last two performances of Willard's are the only ones to have been filmed in color.

References[edit]

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