Bethel Leslie

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Bethel Leslie
The Rifleman
Born Bethel Leslie
(1929-08-03)August 3, 1929
New York City, New York, USA
Died November 28, 1999(1999-11-28) (aged 70)
New York City
Nationality United States
Occupation Actress, screenwriter

Bethel Leslie (August 3, 1929 - November 28, 1999) was an American theatre, film, and television actress and a screenwriter.

Born in New York, New York, Leslie was discovered by George Abbott, who cast her in the play Snafu in 1944. Over the next four decades she appeared in a number of Broadway productions, including Goodbye, My Fancy (1948), The Time of the Cuckoo (1952), Inherit the Wind (1955), Catch Me If You Can (1965), and Long Day's Journey Into Night (1986), for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.

In 1950, Leslie was cast as Cornelia Otis Skinner in The Girls, a television series based on the author's Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. She departed the show after two months to appear with Helen Hayes in the play The Wisteria Trees, adapted from Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard by Joshua Logan. She frequently guested on the many anthology series popular in the early to mid-1950s, such as Studio One and Playhouse 90. She appeared with Ronald W. Reagan and Stafford Repp in the 1960 episode "The Way Home" of CBS's The DuPont Show with June Allyson.

Leslie made three guest appearances on Perry Mason, and was featured as Perry's client in all three episodes. In 1958 she played Janet Morris in "The Case of the Fugitive Nurse," and Evelyn Girard in "The Case of the Purple Woman." In 1960 she played Sylvia Sutton in "The Case of the Wayward Wife."

In 1962, she portrayed the part of Martha Hastings in the episode, "The Long Count", on CBS's Rawhide.

Leslie also guest starred in many western television series, including The Texan,[1] Mackenzie's Raiders (episode as Lucinda Cabot in "The Lucinda Cabot Affair"), Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, The Man from Blackhawk, Riverboat, Wanted: Dead or Alive (episode "Secret Ballot"), Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, Maverick, Pony Express, Bonanza, and Have Gun - Will Travel with Richard Boone, prior to her having been cast as a regular on NBC's The Richard Boone Show, which garnered her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

Her other credits were on drama series, such as Richard Diamond, Private Detective and The Fugitive, both starring David Janssen; The Eleventh Hour, The Lloyd Bridges Show, Mannix, Route 66 (TV series) (episode "The Layout at Glen Canyon"), Straightaway, Bus Stop, Target: The Corruptors!, The Investigators, The Man and the Challenge, Adventures in Paradise, Ben Casey, One Step Beyond, Thriller, Empire, and a later western, The High Chaparral.

Miss Leslie became a regular on the NBC soap, The Doctors, when she took over the role of "Maggie Powers" after Ann Williams left the part. Leslie was also featured in the 1964 episode "The Fluellen Family" in the NBC western Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker. She had recurring roles on Another World and All My Children and was featured in the television adaptations of In Cold Blood and Saint Maybe.

Leslie was the head writer for The Secret Storm in 1954. She also scripted episodes for Gunsmoke, Bracken's World, Barnaby Jones, McCloud, The New Land, Matt Helm, and Falcon Crest.

Leslie's feature film credits include A Rage to Live (1965), The Molly Maguires (1970), with Sean Connery, Ironweed (1987), and Message in a Bottle (1999).

Bethel Leslie died of cancer at 70, in her Manhattan apartment. Her brother was the writer Warren Leslie.


  1. ^ "The Texan". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 

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