||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
December 16, 1937 |
Newport News, Virginia, USA.
|Spouse(s)||James MacArthur (1958–1967)
Edward Mallory (1969–1974)
William Asher (1976–1993)
Glade Bruce Hansen (2000– 2001)
Roger Perry (2002–present)
|Children||Three; w/ Edward Mallory, 1 child
w/ James MacArthur, 2 children
Joyce Caroline Bulifant (born December 16, 1937) is an American television actress, notable for her sunny "little girl"-like Southern lilt of a voice. She was a frequent panelist on the television game show Match Game and Chain Reaction, in which she more often than not gave bizarre answers that seldom matched the contestants on the former.
Life and career
Bulifant was born in Newport News in eastern Virginia. In the 1960s, after appearing on Broadway, she guest starred in numerous television programs, including ABC's Channing and NBC's Empire and The Virginian. She played an intended murder victim in an episode of NBC's Thriller in 1961: "An Attractive Family", and also as the innocent young blonde defendant "Nancy Banks" in CBS's Perry Mason 1963 episode "The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands", the second of her two appearances in the Raymond Burr legal drama. Her first Perry Mason appearance that year was opposite Walter Pidgeon in "The Case of the Surplus Suitor".
In 1963, she appeared with Don Keefer as a guest star in one of the last episodes of Walter Brennan's sitcom The Real McCoys, then on CBS. Bulifant, who has been described as "naturally funny", was the original choice for the role of Carol Brady on ABC's The Brady Bunch, but the part ultimately went to Florence Henderson.
After losing that role, Bulifant accepted the role of Marsha Patterson in the half-hour NBC television series The Bill Cosby Show (1969 – 1971). From 1971 through 1977, she portrayed the wife of Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), Marie Slaughter on CBS's The Mary Tyler Moore Show, making 11 appearances over seven seasons. During this time, she also played Marjorie Martin, the wife of Herbert Edelman in the Saturday morning show Big John, Little John.
She later had a role in the short-lived series Flo, playing Flo's best friend, Miriam Willoughby. Bulifant also appeared in the movie Airplane!, and as David Spade's character's mother on Just Shoot Me!, in addition to guest starring roles on several TV shows, and as a guest panelist on numerous game shows. She appeared on GSN Live on March 21, 2008.
Bulifant has for many years been actively involved with the child abuse prevention non-profit Childhelp, including serving as a Celebrity Ambassador and as a Vice-President on the National Board of Directors.
Bulifant has been married five times, including to actor James MacArthur (the adopted son of Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes), actor Edward Mallory, and producer William Asher (the former husband of actress Elizabeth Montgomery). Bulifant is also the mother of actor and director John Mallory Asher who was born from her second marriage to Mallory and later adopted by her third husband Asher. Bulifant is also the ex-mother-in-law of actress Jenny McCarthy. Since 2002, Bulifant has been married to actor Roger Perry, the former husband of Jo Anne Worley. In the 1960-1961 season, Perry co-starred with Pat O'Brien in the ABC sitcom, Harrigan and Son.