September 13, 1920 |
Montgomery, Illinois, USA
|Occupation||Film and television actress|
|Years active||c. 1940 - c. 1966|
|Spouse(s)||John Arthur Stockton (1942-1944, annulled)|
Carole Mathews (born September 13, 1920) is a retired American actress of film and television. Her longest running role was as the 37-year-old widow Wilma Fansler in the second season from 1958 to 1959 on the NBC western television series, The Californians.
Born Jean Deifel in Montgomery, near Chicago, Illinois, Mathews went to live with a grandmother after her mother divorced her father. She attended Roman Catholic schools and after graduation from high school entered a nunnery. She was named "Miss Chicago" in 1938 and soon left the nunnery. Instead, she joined the Earl Carroll Follies and hosted a WGN radio program, Breakfast Time with Carole Mathews. Soon she was engaging in modeling. 
In 1942, she conducted a screen test for Samuel Goldwyn of MGM Studios. That same night, she married radio writer John Arthur Stockton in Tijuana, Mexico, the scion of a wealthy Chicago family. Goldwyn immediately canceled her contract. In late January 1944, she had the marriage annulled, and she never remarried though she was associated with several other men, including a considerably younger Don Durant, two years before he was cast in his own CBS western series, Johnny Ringo, according to a report from Walter Winchell.
In November 1958, Dick Meyers, her then fiancé, announced that he hoped within two years to salvage the sunken Italian liner, the Andrea Doria. From 1971 to 1986, Mathews operated a travel agency in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley of California. In March 1977, Mathews took over the Hidden Valley Ranch in nearby Reseda, California, where she raised pygmy goats, rabbits, chickens, Muscovy ducks, and worms. She also produced audio/visual travelogues and television dramas. In 1982, she was cited for her success in raising miniature horses.
In 1958-1959, Mathews was cast in The Californians in a romantic role opposite Richard Coogan as the fictional 1850s Marshal Matthew Wayne of San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. Coogan's character was the only one to appear in both seasons of the series. Her co-star in the second season was Art Fleming, later the first host of the quiz show, Jeopardy!; Fleming played the character Jeremy Pitt. The female role on the first season had been Nan Leslie, who as the character Martha McGivern was cast opposite Sean McClory. Prior to the series, she was known for her roles in the film Swamp Women (1955), one of the first pictures directed by Roger Corman and also starring Beverly Garland and Mike Connors. Mathews was also cast in Betrayed Women (1956). Even during the late 1930s, when she will still in her teens, she was appearing in uncredited roles in various films.
One of her first television guest-starring roles were as Miss Jennings in the 1951 episode "The Slocum Family" and Anne Hardy in "Blacksmith Story" (1952) of the syndicated western series, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, starring Guy Madison and Andy Devine. The Anne Hardy role was used in 1954 in the film The Two Gun Teacher, with Mathews, Madison, and Devine. She also played Alice Miller in the 1952 episode "Big Trap" of the CBS police drama series, Racket Squad, starring Reed Hadley. That same year, she appeared twice in another syndicated western series, The Cisco Kid.
Other Mathews roles were on three CBS western series: as Dellie Hartford in "The General's Disgrace" (1957) on The Adventures of Jim Bowie, starring Scott Forbes, as Millie Gwyn in "The Farrand Story" (1958) on Trackdown, starring Robert Culp, and as Libby on "This Man Must Die" (1958) on Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater. She appeared in two episodes of CBS's anthology drama series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, as Clara Nash in "The Baby Sitter" (1956) and Faye Slovak in "The Percentage" (1958).
Mathews played Lola in the 1958 episode "The Pickpocket" of the NBC western series, Tales of Wells Fargo, starring Dale Robertson. She had also appeared with Robertson five years earlier in the film City of Bad Men. In 1958, she was cast as Jill Crane in the film, Showdown at Boot Hill and as Bess Corbin in "No Tears for the Dead" on Rory Calhoun's CBS western series, The Texan.
On January 9, 1959, she played Mrs. Elaine Lamson in the episode "Not an Enemy in the World" on the ABC/Warner Brothers drama series, 77 Sunset Strip, starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Roger Smith. About this time she was cast on two episodes of the CBS legal drama, Perry Mason. Other 1959 roles were as Jan Van Pelt in "The Glass Diamond" of the Ray Milland CBS drama series Markham and as Rita Kirk in "No Laughing Matter" in the last season of the NBC crime drama, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, starring David Janssen. She appeared twice in 1959 on NBC's police drama M Squad, starring Lee Marvin.
In 1960, Mathews was cast as Phyllis Brady in "Babs Meets Phyllis Brady", an episode of the ABC sitcom, Guestward Ho!, set on a dude ranch in New Mexico. In the story line, Phyllis Brady, the childhood sweetheart of Bill Hooten (Mark Miller), the husband of Babs Hooten (Joanne Dru), has become an accomplished horsewoman and comes to the ranch to visit the Hootens. Her appearance upsets the jealous Babs.
Mathews played the western bandit Belle Starr in "A Bullet for the D.A", a 1961 episode of the syndicated western anthology series, Death Valley Days, then hosted by Stanley Andrews. In 1962, she played Mrs. Hoyt in the film Tender Is the Night, based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the same name. Her many co-stars included Jennifer Jones, Jason Robards, Jr., and Joan Fontaine
Her last television roles were on the CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys (1962), starring Harry Morgan and Cara Williams, the CBS western Rawhide (1964), starring Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood, and the ABC medical drama, Ben Casey (1966), starring Vince Edwards. Twelve years later in 1978, she was cast as a woman in a restaurant in her final acting role on the television movie, Fame, about a waiter who becomes an overnight success as a playwright.