Jean Engstrom

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Jean Engstrom was an American actress active in regional theater, movies, and television in the 1950s and 1960s.

Background[edit]

Jean Engstrom was born Flora Jean Bovie, [1] in Michigan on July 25, 1920, [1] [2] the eldest of two children [3] born to Clarence Augustus Bovie (1892-1928), [2] [4] an artist [4] and commercial illustrator, [5] and Nona Iola Cochrun (1895-1976) [2] [6] After her father's death due to a cerebral hemorrhage in 1928,[4] 1930 census records show that she and her mother and younger brother were living with her father's mother (paternal grandmother) in Augusta, Michigan. [3] In 1935 they were living in Battle Creek, Michigan.[7] [8] When Flora Jean was 16 the family moved to Southern California [9] and lived for a while with her mother's mother (maternal grandmother), [7] and it is there that she completed high school. [8] On February 14, 1940, Flora Jean Bovie married Richard Harold Moon (1916-1989) in Baldwin Park, California. [10] On June 30, 1942, their only child, daughter Liana Jeanne Moon (later to be actress Jena Engstrom) was born. [11] Flora Jean and Richard Moon would divorce and in about 1947 she married her second husband, [9] Elliott E. Engstrom [2] (1920- ), who would later adopt her daughter. They would remain married until her death. In the mid-1980s she developed breast cancer, [2] had a mastectomy performed in July 1985, [2] and would die of breast cancer on March 20, 1997, in a convalescent hospital in Hemet, California. [2] She is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California. [12]

Career[edit]

Flora Jean Bovie originally wanted to become a singer, but a crushed breast plate suffered in an automobile accident affected her vocal chords and she turned to modeling. [9] A 1958 TV Guide article states that she began acting in 1940 [9] while a 1962 syndicated news articles states that she began acting in 1951. Whenever her acting career started, she began acting with little theater groups in and around the Hollywood area. [9] She later moved to work in movies and in television and during this time studied with Francis Lederer's improvisation group. [9] She used the name Jean Engstrom professionally and during her career she appeared in over 50 plays, in at least 8 movies, and in about 40 television programs before leaving acting.

Theatrical career (regional theater)[edit]

While it is not clear when Flora Jean Bovie, now known as Jean Engstrom, began acting in regional theater, it is clear that she spent a lot of time working in theater. By the time of the 1962 syndicated news article she told the interviewer that she had appeared in 52 plays. [13] Her most notable stage appearance may have come in January 1961 when she appeared in the title role of George Bernard Shaw's Candida co-starring Jeff Morrow and directed by John Newland. The play was produced by the Los Angeles-based acting, writing and directing group Projects '58 and televised by KNXT (now KCBS-TV) television in Los Angeles and shown by television stations across the country.[14]

Movie career[edit]

A theatrical appearance with a stock company in Tucson, Arizona led to a short-lived contract with Paramount Pictures. [15] Most of Jean Engstrom's movie appearances were in bit parts and her first recorded appearances begin in 1954 with roles as party guests in Drive a Crooked Road [16] [17] starring Mickey Rooney and in A Star Is Born[18][19] (1954 film) starring Judy Garland and James Mason. In 1956 she used the name Flora Jean Engstrom for the only time when she appeared in a small role in The Search for Bridey Murphy[20] starring Teresa Wright. Her larger roles came in more modest productions, receiving featured billing in the 1957 production Voodoo Island[21] and the 1958 production The Space Children which are now cult classics. Her character Claire Winter in Voodoo Island is presented as a lesbian with a crush on the leading lady played by Beverly Adams, a theme that was unusual for its time. She also appeared as a party guest in the 1958 film The Party Crashers[22] , Bobby Driscoll's last movie appearance. Her final movie appearance was a starring role in the 1965 Billy Graham produced The Restless Ones[23] in which she played Mrs. Harris, the alcoholic mother of the girl April played by Kim Darby.

Television career[edit]

Jean Engstrom began appearing in television in 1953[9] although her earliest TV appearances have not been confirmed. Her first TV appearances recorded in current databases are in three 1955 episodes of Medic[24][25][26] starring Richard Boone. Between 1953 and 1965 she appeared in about 40 TV programs, mostly in supporting roles. She appeared in westerns, crime dramas, comedies, and contemporary dramas in which she often played mothers (including an unwed mother who gives birth during an episode of Have Gun - Will Travel), but she also played wives and widows, a school psychologist, a social secretary, and even a deputy sheriff and a psychotic killer. In addition to her three appearances on Medic[24][25][26] she appeared twice more with Richard Boone in episodes of Have Gun, Will Travel.[27][28] She also made multiple appearances on other shows, including three appearances on Perry Mason[29][30][31] starring Raymond Burr and two appearances each on Peter Gunn[32][33] starring Craig Stevens (actor), two on Thriller (U.S. TV series)[34][35] starring Boris Karloff, and two on Hazel[36][37] starring Shirley Booth.

Mother and daughter[edit]

Jean Engstrom's daughter Liana was also an actress and appeared as Jena Engstrom in at least 37 television episodes between 1960 and 1964 (when it appears that she left acting in for health reasons). Mother and daughter appeared twice together in television dramas. The first time was in April 1961 when they appeared as mother and daughter in the "Incident of the Lost Idol" [38] episode of Rawhide (TV series) starring Eric Fleming. They had only one brief scene together as the story did not center on their relationship. The second program was the January 1962 episode "To Sell Another Human Being" of The New Breed (TV series) starring Leslie Nielsen[39] in which mother Jean played a wealthy woman who with her husband (played by Richard Arlen) adopt a baby through an adoption mill. The police get involved when the baby's natural mother, played by daughter Jena, tries to get her child back.

Confused credits[edit]

The acting credits of mother Jean and daughter Jena were confused at the time they were active together in the business resulting in mixed credits in newspapers and problems with pay checks.[40] The mixed credits appear in some Internet databases, but the situation is improving as site managers are posting corrections as the errors are discovered.

DVDs[edit]

Several of the television series listed below have been released by their studios on DVD that are available for sale or for rent. Those marked "Yes" include sets with the episodes featuring Jean Engstrom.

Television roles[edit]

[15] [41][42]

Note: "Episode" column: 2.9 indicates Season 2, Episode 9, etc.

AIR DATE SHOW EPISODE EPISODE TITLE CHARACTER NOTES DVD
1953-1955 My Favorite Husband[9] No other information available about this appearance.
Jan. 24, 1955 Medic 1.15 “Breath of Life”[24] Nurse Blakeny 1st of 3 appearances on this show. Yes
Sep. 15, 1955 Medic 2.1 "All the Lonely Nights"[25] Marian Castle 2nd of 3 appearances on this show. Yes
Oct. 31, 1955 Medic 2.7 "When Mama Says Jump"[26] Mrs. Dixon 3rd of 3 appearances on this show. Yes
Nov. 15, 1955 Big Town 6.6 "Prison Riot"[43]
1956-1957 The West Point Story (TV series)[9] No other information available about this appearance.
May 1, 1957 State Trooper 1.32 "Diamonds Come High"[44] Deputy Sheriff Lili Haskell Yes
Dec. 24, 1957 Telephone Time 3.16 "A Picture of the Magi"[45][46][47] Elga Yes
Jan. 6, 1958 Highway Patrol 3.14 "Hideout"”[48] Flo Durfee Yes
Jul. 15, 1958 Shirley Temple Theatre 1.9 "The Little Lame Prince"[49] Snow Maiden
Apr. 6, 1959 Peter Gunn 1.28 "Pay Now, Kill Later"[32] Lady Customer 1st of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Dec. 6, 1960 Thriller (U.S. TV series) 1.12 "The Big Blackout"[34] Nurse Sue 1st of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Jan. 17, 1961 Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond 3.17 "Dead Man's Tale"[50] Jan Werris
Feb. 13, 1961 Peter Gunn 3.19 "I Know It's Murder"[33] Helene Eustis 2nd of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Feb. 16, 1961 Gunslinger 1.2 "The Hostage Fort"[51] Mrs. Barnes
Mar. 18, 1961 Have Gun, Will Travel 4.26 "The Gold Bar"[27] Leah 1st of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Apr. 16, 1961 Rawhide 3.24 "Incident of the Lost Idol"[38] Mrs. Manson Daughter Jean Engstrom also appears in this episode. Yes
Oct. 16, 1961 87th Precinct 1.4 "The Modus Man"[52] Mrs. Renfew Yes
Dec. 7, 1961 The Investigators 1.10 "Panic Wagon"[53] Frieda Gregory
Jan 16,1962 The New Breed 1.16 "To Sell Another Human Being"[39][54] Carol Willets Daughter Jena Engstrom also appears in this episode.
Feb. 1, 1962 Hazel 1.18 "Hazel's Secret Wish"[36] Mrs. Camden 1st of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Feb 9, 1962 Route 66 2.18 "How Much a Pound Is Albatross?"[55] Dr. Bell Yes
Apr. 9, 1962 Thriller (U.S. TV series) 2.28 "The Innocent Bystanders"[35] Anne Grant 2nd of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Sep. 20, 1962 Hazel 2.1 "Hazel's Cousin"[37] June Lowell 2nd of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Oct. 4, 1962 Perry Mason 6.2 "The Case of the Capricious Corpse"[29] Claudia Demming 1st of 3 appearances on this show. Yes
Oct. 6, 1962 Have Gun, Will Travel 6.4 "A Place for Abel Hix"[28] Mrs. Hix 2nd of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Mar. 24, 1963 This Is the Life "Side By Side"[56] Laura Blair
Apr. 23, 1963 Empire 1.29 "65 Miles Is a Long, Long Way"[57] Mrs. Sangster
Oct. 3, 1963 The Donna Reed Show 6.3 "Whatever You Wish"[58] Ellen Farrell
Nov. 15, 1963 The Farmer's Daughter 1.9 "Miss Cheese"[59] Saleslady
Dec. 20, 1963 The Great Adventure 1.11 "A Boy at War"[60] Elizabeth
Jan 9, 1964 Perry Mason 7.14 "The Case of the Accosted Accountant"[30] Vera Hillman 2nd of 2 appearances on this show. Yes
Oct. 20, 1964 Mr. Novak 2.4 "Little Girl Lost"[61] Mrs. Currie
Apr. 22, 1965 Dr. Kildare 4.30 "Believe and Live"[62] Dr. Larson's Nurse
Nov. 14, 1965 Bonanza 7.10 "The Strange One" Francine
Dec. 19, 1965 Perry Mason 9.14 "The Case of the Golden Girls"[31] Corinne Richland 3rd of 3 appearances on this show. Yes
Dec. 23, 1965 My Three Sons 6.14 "Douglas a Go-Go"[63] Mrs. Hargrove
Feb. 2, 1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre 3.12 "When Hell Froze"[64][65] Hattie House
Oct. 5, 1966 Death Valley Days 15.4 "Brute Angel"[66] Esther McBain
Nov 14, 1966 Family Affair 1.9 "A Matter for Experts"[67] Edith Morse, Phd. Yes

Movie roles[15][41][edit]

RELEASE TITLE CHARACTER COMMENTS DVD
Mar. 10, 1954 Drive a Crooked Road[16][17] party guest Uncredited
Oct. 16, 1954 A Star Is Born[18][19] Malibu party guest Uncredited Yes
Oct. 1, 1956 The Search for Bridey Murphy[20] hysterical woman As Flora Jean Engstrom, Uncredited
Feb. 1957 Voodoo Island[21] Claire Winter Yes
Jun. 1958 The Space Children[68] Peg Gamble Yes
Sep. 1958 The Party Crashers[22] May
Nov. 28, 1961 The Errand Boy[69] bit role Uncredited Yes
Dec. 2, 1965 The Restless Ones[23] Mrs. Harris (April's Mother) Yes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Flora Jean Engstrom: California Death Index, 1940-1997". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g State of California, Certificate of Death. State of California, Department of Public Health. Flora Jean Engstrom, State File Number 3 051997 037076, Local Registration Number 3199733002702. 
  3. ^ a b "Michigan, 1930 United States Federal Census". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Nona I. Segers: California, Death Index, 1940-1997". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "California, 1940 United States Federal Census". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "California, 1940 United States Federal Census". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Jean Engstrom: No Time for Stardom". TV Guide. September 6–12, 1958. pp. 28–29. 
  10. ^ "California County Marriages, 1850-1952". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "California Birth Index, 1905-1995". FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Flora Jean Engstrom: Find a Grave Memorial". findagrave.com. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Vernon, Terry (16 January 1962). "Mother-Daughter Team On TV". Long Beach (California) Independent. p. C-12. 
  14. ^ Russell, Fred H. (12 April 1961). "Shaw's 'Candida' To Be Feature On Sunday". The Bridgeport (Connecticut) Post. p. 54. 
  15. ^ a b c "Jean Engstrom". TV Guide. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Drive a Crooked Road". IMDb. Retrieved September 25, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Drive a Crooked Road". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "A Star is Born". IMDb. Retrieved September 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Movie – A Star Is Born (1954)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Movie – The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Movie – Voodoo Island (1957)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Movie – The Party Crashers (1958)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Movie – The Restless Ones (1965): Cast and Details.". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c Breath of Life (2011). Medic: Disc 2 (DVD (Disc 2)). Timeless Media Group. 
  25. ^ a b c All the Lonely Nights (2011). Medic: Disc 3 (DVD (Disc 3)). Timeless Media Group. 
  26. ^ a b c When Mama Says Jump (2011). Medic: Disc 4 (DVD (Disc 4)). Timeless Media Group. 
  27. ^ a b "Have Gun, Will Travel: The Gold Bar". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b "Have Gun, Will Travel: A Place for Abel Hix". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "Perry Mason: The Case of the Capricious Corpse". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "Perry Mason: The Case of the Accosted Accountant". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Perry Mason: The Case of the Golden Girls". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "Peter Gun: Pay Now, Kill Later". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b "Peter Gun: I Know It’s Murder". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "Thriller: The Big Blackout". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  35. ^ a b "Thriller: The Big Blackout". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b "Hazel: Hazel’s Secret Wish". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  37. ^ a b "Hazel: Hazel’s Cousin". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  38. ^ a b "Incident of the Lost Idol" (1961) (2008). Rawhide: The Third Season: Volume 2 (DVD (Disc 3)). CBS DVD. 
  39. ^ a b Vernon, Terry (16 January 1963). "Tele]Vues: Mother-Daughter Team On TV". The Long Beach (California) Independent, Page C-12. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  40. ^ "The Name's Almost the Same for Jean and Jena Engstrom". San Antonio (Texas) Express and News, Page 10. 13 January 1963. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  41. ^ a b Jean Engstrom at the Internet Movie Database
  42. ^ "The Classic TV Archive (CTVA)". Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  43. ^ "Prison Riot –Big Town (TV series)". IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  44. ^ Diamonds Come High (2010). State Trooper: Disc 3 (DVD (Disc 3)). Timeless Media Group. 
  45. ^ "Picture of the Magi – Telephone Time (TV series)". IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Picture of the Magi – Telephone Time (TV series)". The San Diego Union. December 22, 1957. p. Sectoin e, Page 63. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  47. ^ A Picture of the Magi (2005). Two Holiday Classics: A Picture of the Magi and The Christmas Carol (DVD). Westlake Entertainment Group. 
  48. ^ Hideout (2013). Highway Patrol Complete Season 3 (DVD (Disc 2)). TGG Direct, LLC. 
  49. ^ "Cold Gift publicity photo of Rex Thompson and Jean Engstrom in the ‘Little Lame Prince’ episode of The Shirley Temple Theatre.". The Daily Review (Hayward, California). July 11, 1958. p. 26. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  50. ^ "One Step Beyond: Dead Man’s Tale". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  51. ^ "Gunslinger: The Hostage Fort". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  52. ^ "87th Precinct: The Modus Man". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  53. ^ "The Investigators: Panic Wagon". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  54. ^ "The New Breed: To Sell Another Human Being". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Route 66: How Much a Pound Is Albatross?". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  56. ^ "This Is the Life: Side by Side". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  57. ^ "Empire: 65 Miles Is a Long, Long Way". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  58. ^ "The Donna Reed Show: Whatever You Wish". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  59. ^ "The Farmer’s Daughter: Miss Cheese". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  60. ^ "The Great Adventure: A Boy at War". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  61. ^ "Mr. Novak: Little Girl Lost". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  62. ^ "Dr. Kildare: Believe and Live". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  63. ^ "My Three Sons: Douglas a Go-Go". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  64. ^ "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre: When Hell Froze". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  65. ^ "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre: When Hell Froze". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  66. ^ "Death Valley Days: Brute Angel". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  67. ^ "Family Affair: A Matter for Experts". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  68. ^ "Movie – The Space Children (1958)". Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  69. ^ "TV Guide: The Errand Boy". TV Guide. Retrieved November 11, 2013.