Jean Byron

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Jean Byron
BornImogene Burkhart
(1925-12-10)December 10, 1925
Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedFebruary 3, 2006(2006-02-03) (aged 80)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
Other namesJeane Byron
OccupationActress
Years active1952 – 1999
Spouse(s)Michael Ansara (m. 1955–56)
 
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Jean Byron
BornImogene Burkhart
(1925-12-10)December 10, 1925
Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedFebruary 3, 2006(2006-02-03) (aged 80)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
Other namesJeane Byron
OccupationActress
Years active1952 – 1999
Spouse(s)Michael Ansara (m. 1955–56)

Jean Byron (December 10, 1925 – February 3, 2006) was an American film, television, and stage actress. She is best known for the role of Natalie Lane, Patty Lane's mother in The Patty Duke Show.

Early life and career[edit]

Jean Byron, (given name Imogene Burkhart) was born on December 10, 1925 in Paducah in western Kentucky, and her family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, when she was still quite young, and then to California when she was nineteen during World War II. She appeared briefly as a singer on radio, first with Tommy Dorsey's band, followed by a stint with Jan Savitt's group. She then studied drama from 1947 to 1950, followed by a run with the Players Ring, a theatre group that did not pay well, but offered the performers needed exposure. It was here in a play titled Merrily We Roll Along, that she came to the attention of Harry Sauber, elderly talent adviser for Sam Katzman. She was asked to read from the script and imitate a British accent, which she did. And right then and there she got her union card. When asked her name, she replied Imogene Burkhart. Katzman rejected that name; so she volunteered the stage name, Jean Byron, which she had already been using and which the Columbia Pictures brass found more palatable.[1]

In the 1950s, Byron appeared in several B-movies, including The Magnetic Monster and Serpent of the Nile, in addition to guest roles on The Millionaire, The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, and Science Fiction Theatre, Fury, and Bourbon Street Beat. Byron also served as spokeswoman for Revlon and Lux products on NBC's The Rosemary Clooney Show.[2]

In 1959, Byron landed a semiregular spot on CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis playing Dr. Imogene Burkhart, her real name. During her time on the show, she was cast in a spinoff pilot about Dobie Gillis' girlfriend, Zelda, where she would have played the girl's mother. However, the pilot was not picked up. In the show's final season, Byron convinced producers to allow her character to discard the plain, repressed appearance she presented, and show a more modern version of a schoolteacher.

The following year, she starred in the short-lived soap opera Full Circle, which also co-starred Dyan Cannon. In 1963, she won the role of Natalie Lane on The Patty Duke Show. After the series ended in 1966, she continued appearing in guest roles on Batman, Marcus Welby, M.D., Maude, and Hotel.[2]

Byron's last on-screen role was in the 1999 television movie The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights.

In addition to film and television roles, Byron also worked in regional theater. She portrayed Mama Rose in Gypsy and appeared in a production of Guys and Dolls.[2]

Personal life and death[edit]

Byron was married to actor Michael Ansara from 1955 to 1956. Some sources have it as 1949 to 1956. The couple had no children and Byron never remarried.[3]

On February 3, 2006, Byron died in Mobile, Alabama, of complications following hip replacement surgery.[2]

Selected filmography[edit]

Film
YearFilmRoleNotes
1952Voodoo TigerPhyllis Bruce
1953The Magnetic MonsterConnie Stewart
Serpent of the NileCharmion (Cleopatra's handmaiden)
1955Jungle Moon MenEllen Marsten
1956There's Always TomorrowMiss Byron, saleswomanUncredited
Johnny ConchoPearl Lang
1959Invisible InvadersPhyllis Penner
1963Wall of NoiseMrs. Harrington
1972Where Does It Hurt?Dr. Kincaid
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1954City DetectiveReesa
Jean
2 episodes
1955The MillionaireBetty Jane Ryan/Bea Ryan1 episode
The Adventures of Rin Tin TinIrene Larrimore1 episode
You Are ThereCaroline Lucas1 episode
1956My Friend FlickaBarbara Schuyler1 episode
Tales of the 77th Bengal LancersKatherine Cheney1 episode
State TrooperClaire Walden, Jean Burton, Beverly, Millie Marvin, and Stella Bender (1956-1959)5 episodes
1957The 20th Century Fox HourWilma Standish1 episode
CheyenneFay Kirby, newspaperwomanEpisode: "The Broken Pledge"
1958Mickey Spillane's Mike HammerMiss Lewis1 episode
Jefferson DrumAngela1 episode
Yancy DerringerDorinda Ashton1 episode
1959The Dennis O'Keefe ShowMiss Diffendorf1 episode
1959-1960Bourbon Street BeatMartha Delastone, Grace Carvay2 episodes, "The Taste of Ashes" and "Find My Face!"
1959–1963The Many Loves of Dobie GillisDr. Imogene Burkhart18 episodes
196077 Sunset StripClaire Donaldson1 episode
Hawaiian EyeKaren Ward1 episode
TightropeMarla Keel1 episode
1961HenneseyGloria Grayson1 episode
Bus StopHelen Adamson1 episode
1962The Detectives Starring Robert TaylorLivona Hart1 episode
1963–1966The Patty Duke ShowNatalie Lane105 episodes
1968BatmanMrs. Lindseed, Mayor's Wife1 episode
1971ColumboPat1 episode
Marcus Welby, M.D.Dr. Koerner1 episode
1972McCloudEvelyn Reinhart1 episode
MannixHelen1 episode
1974MaudeHousekeeper Applicant1 episode
1975S.W.A.T.Nurse Marlowe1 episode
1987HotelDorothy Anderson1 episode
1999The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn HeightsNatalie LaneTelevision movie

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]