December 10, 1925
Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||February 3, 2006
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
|Other names||Jeane Byron|
|Years active||1952 – 1999|
|Spouse(s)||Michael Ansara (m. 1955–56)|
Early life and career
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.
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.
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.
Byron's last on-screen role was in the 1999 television movie The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights.
Personal life and death
|1952||Voodoo Tiger||Phyllis Bruce|
|1953||The Magnetic Monster||Connie Stewart|
|Serpent of the Nile||Charmion (Cleopatra's handmaiden)|
|1955||Jungle Moon Men||Ellen Marsten|
|1956||There's Always Tomorrow||Miss Byron, saleswoman||Uncredited|
|Johnny Concho||Pearl Lang|
|1959||Invisible Invaders||Phyllis Penner|
|1963||Wall of Noise||Mrs. Harrington|
|1972||Where Does It Hurt?||Dr. Kincaid|
|1955||The Millionaire||Betty Jane Ryan/Bea Ryan||1 episode|
|The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin||Irene Larrimore||1 episode|
|You Are There||Caroline Lucas||1 episode|
|1956||My Friend Flicka||Barbara Schuyler||1 episode|
|Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers||Katherine Cheney||1 episode|
|State Trooper||Claire Walden, Jean Burton, Beverly, Millie Marvin, and Stella Bender (1956-1959)||5 episodes|
|1957||The 20th Century Fox Hour||Wilma Standish||1 episode|
|Cheyenne||Fay Kirby, newspaperwoman||Episode: "The Broken Pledge"|
|1958||Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer||Miss Lewis||1 episode|
|Jefferson Drum||Angela||1 episode|
|Yancy Derringer||Dorinda Ashton||1 episode|
|1959||The Dennis O'Keefe Show||Miss Diffendorf||1 episode|
|1959-1960||Bourbon Street Beat||Martha Delastone, Grace Carvay||2 episodes, "The Taste of Ashes" and "Find My Face!"|
|1959–1963||The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis||Dr. Imogene Burkhart||18 episodes|
|1960||77 Sunset Strip||Claire Donaldson||1 episode|
|Hawaiian Eye||Karen Ward||1 episode|
|Tightrope||Marla Keel||1 episode|
|1961||Hennesey||Gloria Grayson||1 episode|
|Bus Stop||Helen Adamson||1 episode|
|1962||The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor||Livona Hart||1 episode|
|1963–1966||The Patty Duke Show||Natalie Lane||105 episodes|
|1968||Batman||Mrs. Lindseed, Mayor's Wife||1 episode|
|Marcus Welby, M.D.||Dr. Koerner||1 episode|
|1972||McCloud||Evelyn Reinhart||1 episode|
|1974||Maude||Housekeeper Applicant||1 episode|
|1975||S.W.A.T.||Nurse Marlowe||1 episode|
|1987||Hotel||Dorothy Anderson||1 episode|
|1999||The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights||Natalie Lane||Television movie|
- Parla, Paul; Charles P. Mitchell (2000). "Jean Byron: The Byronic Heroine". Screen Sirens Scream! Interviews with 20 Actresses from Science Fiction, Horror, Film Noir and Mystery Movies, 1930s to 1960s. Jefferson, N.C. and London: McFarland. pp. 21–34. ISBN 0-7864-0701-8.
- The Official Jean Byron Site
- Jean Byron at the Internet Movie Database
- Jean Byron at AllMovie
- Jean Byron at Find a Grave