Merry Anders

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Merry Anders
Merry Anders in Bonanza episode Bitter Water.jpg
Anders on Bonanza (1960)
Born Mary Helen Anderson
(1932-05-22)May 22, 1932
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died October 28, 2012(2012-10-28) (aged 80)
Encino, California, U.S.
Other names Merry A. Benedict
Education John Burroughs Middle School
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 1951–1971
Spouse(s) John Stephens (m. 1955; div. 1956)
Richard Benedict (m. 1986–99); his death
Children 1

Merry Anders (May 22, 1932 – October 28, 2012) was an American stage, film and television actress and model who appeared in a number of television programs and films from the 1950s until her retirement from the screen in 1972.

Early life[edit]

Anders was born Mary Helen Anderson in Chicago, Illinois. She was the only child of Charles, a contractor, and Helen Anderson. Anders was of German, Irish and Swedish descent. In 1949, Anders and her mother visited Los Angeles for two weeks. They decided to remain in Los Angeles permanently while Charles Anderson remained in Chicago.[1] While she was a student at John Burroughs Middle School, Anders met former actress Rita LeRoy who encouraged her to begin a modeling career. While working as a junior model, Anders began studying acting at the Ben Bard Playhouse. It was there that a talent scout from 20th Century Fox spotted her and signed her to a film contract in 1951.[2]

Career[edit]

Anders made her film debut in the 1951 musical Golden Girl. For the next two years, she appeared in small and supporting roles in several 20th Century Fox films. In 1954, Fox dropped her. Later that year, Anders joined the cast of The Stu Erwin Show. She remained with the series until its cancellation in 1955. Anders was then cast in the CBS sitcom It's Always Jan, starring Janis Paige.[3] That series canceled after one season.

Shortly after the birth of her daughter in 1956, Anders took over the role of "Rita Malone" (popularized by Jayne Mansfield) in the West Coast touring production of the Broadway hit Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. In 1957, Anders had a much publicized leading role in Paramount Pictures film Hear Me Good, opposite Hal March.[3] In 1957, Anders landed the role of "Mike McCall" in the syndicated sitcom How to Marry a Millionaire. The series was based on the hit 1953 film of the same name (in which Anders appeared in a bit role)[4] starring Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall. Anders co-starred in the series with Barbara Eden and Lori Nelson. The first season of How to Marry a Millionaire was fairly successful and it was renewed for a second, abbreviated season. It was cancelled in 1959.[5]

During the early to mid 1960s, Anders continued her career with mainly supporting film roles and guest spots on television. In 1960, she appeared in the horror film The Hypnotic Eye followed by a role in the Western Young Jesse James. Anders went on to land guest roles on Surfside 6, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Hawaiian Eye, Death Valley Days, 77 Sunset Strip, and Perry Mason. In 1962, Anders was cast in the first live action film adaptation of the 18th century French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.[6][7] In 1965, she appeared opposite Elvis Presley in the musical comedy Tickle Me.[8] The following year, she appeared in the recurring role of "Alice" in the teen soap opera Never Too Young. Later that year, Anders had a supporting role in the B movie Women of the Prehistoric Planet. From 1967-68, she appeared in seven episodes of Jack Webb's Dragnet series on NBC, in which she played policewoman Dorothy Miller. She appeared in a recurring role on Lassie.[9]

Retirement and later years[edit]

By the late 1960s, Anders' acting career had begun to wane. In 1968, she appeared as uncredited "glorified extra" in the film Airport (1970). To supplement her income between acting jobs, Anders took a job as a receptionist at Litton Industries.[10] Her final acting role was a guest spot in the two part Gunsmoke episode "Waste", which aired late September and early October 1971.

Anders retired from acting in 1972 in order to "live a normal life." She eventually became a customer relations coordinator at Litton Industries, where she remained until her retirement in 1994.[10]

Personal life[edit]

On March 25, 1955, Anders married producer John Stephens. Anders left Stephens after three months and seventeen days due to his physical abuse.[1] Two weeks later, she discovered she was pregnant with the couple's first child.[11] Their daughter, Tina Beth Paige Anders, was born in March 1956.[1] Anders and Stephens were divorced in June 1956.[12] In 1986, Anders married engineer Richard Benedict; the couple remained married until his death in 1999.[1]

Death[edit]

On October 28, 2012, Anders died in Encino, California, aged 80, from undisclosed causes.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1951 Golden Girl Chorine Uncredited
1952 Belles on Their Toes Student/Graduate Uncredited
1952 Wait till the Sun Shines, Nellie Adeline Halper/Adeline Burdge Uncredited
1952 Les Misérables Cicely Uncredited
1953 Titanic College Girl Uncredited
1953 The Farmer Takes a Wife Hannah
1953 How to Marry a Millionaire Model Uncredited
1954 Three Coins in the Fountain Girl Uncredited
1954 Princess of the Nile Handmaiden
1954 Phffft! Marsha Uncredited
1955 All That Heaven Allows Mary Ann
1957 The Night Runner Amy Hansen
1957 Desk Set Cathy
1957 Calypso Heat Wave Marti Collins
1957 No Time to Be Young Gloria Stuben
1957 Death in Small Doses Amy "Miss Diesel of 1958" Phillips
1957 Escape from San Quentin Robbie
1957 Hear Me Good Ruth Collins
1957 The Dalton Girls Holly Dalton
1958 Violent Road Carrie - The Girl in the Convertible
1960 Five Bold Women Missouri Lady Ellen Downs
1960 Young Jesse James Belle Starr
1960 The Walking Target Susan Mallory
1960 Spring Affair Dorothy
1961 The Police Dog Story Terry Dayton
1961 The Gambler Wore a Gun Sharon Donovan
1961 When the Clock Strikes Ellie
1961 20,000 Eyes Karen Walker
1961 Secret of Deep Harbor Janey Fowler
1962 Patty Mary Alternative titles: The Shame of Patty Smith
Doctor Please Help Me
Gang Rape
1962 Beauty and the Beast Sybil
1962 Air Patrol Mona Whitney
1963 FBI Code 98 Grace McLean
1963 House of the Damned Nancy Campbell
1963 Police Nurse Joan Olson
1964 A Tiger Walks Betty Collins
1964 The Quick Gun Helen Reed
1964 The Time Travelers Carol White
1964 Raiders From Beneath The Sea Dottie Harper
1965 Tickle Me Estelle Penfield
1966 Women of the Prehistoric Planet Lt. Karen Lamont
1970 Airport Mrs. Burt Ball - Passenger Uncredited
1971 Will to Die Laura Dean Alternative titles: Legacy of Blood
Blood Legacy
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1954 The Public Defender Agnes Fay Episode: "The Last Appeal"
1954 The Ford Television Theatre Various 2 episodes
1954-1955 The Stu Erwin Show Joyce Erwin 26 episodes
1955 TV Reader's Digest Sally Episode: "Honeymoon in Mexico"
1955-1956 It's Always Jan Val Marlowe 5 episodes
1955-1961 The Loretta Young Show Various 2 episodes
1956 The Millionaire Helen Forrester Episode: "The Jay Powers Story"
1957 Broken Arrow Amy Breece Episode: "Smoke Signal"
1957-1959 How to Marry a Millionaire Mike McCall 52 episodes
1957-1959 Sugarfoot Various 2 episodes
1957-1960 Cheyenne Various 2 episodes
1958 Decision Lucy Hamilton Episode: "Man on a Raft"
1958-1962 77 Sunset Strip Various 5 episodes
1959 State Trooper Mrs. Wallace Episode: "The Case of the Barefoot Girl"
1959 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Harriet Britton Episode: "Swing Low, Sweet Harriet"
1959 Tales of Wells Fargo Laurie Hammer Episode: "The Tall Texan"
1959 The Ann Sothern Show Myrna Episode: "Katy and the Cowby"
1959 Richard Diamond, Private Detective Claudia Reed Episode: "Bookie"
1959 The Real McCoys Miss McLean Episode: "The Lawsuit"
1960 Bonanza Virginia Keith Episode: "Bitter Water"
1960-1961 Bronco Various 2 episodes
1960-1961 The Case of the Dangerous Robin 2 episodes
1960-1961 Maverick Various 4 episodes
1960-1962 Hawaiian Eye Various 4 episodes
1961 Surfside 6 Chris Karns Episode: "Yesterday's Hero"
1961 Bringing Up Buddy Diane Mitchell Episode: "Buddy and the Amazon"
1961 Michael Shayne Ginger Dennis Episode: "Dead Air"
1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Lena Episode: "Maria"
1961 The Bob Cummings Show Episode: "The Ox-Tail Incident"
1961 Ichabod and Me Leona Episode: "Bob's Redhead"
1961-1964 Perry Mason Various 3 episodes
1963 The Jack Benny Program Kidnapper aka Florence Nightengale Episode: "Jack Is Kidnapped"
1962 Straightaway Barbara Episode: "Tiger By the Tail"
1963-1964 The Joey Bishop Show Various 2 episodes
1964 Arrest and Trial Various 2 episodes
1964 The Virginian Donna Durrell Episode: "A Man Called Kane"
1964 The Addams Family Miss Carver Episode: "Fester's Punctured Romance"
1966 Get Smart Joanna Sloan Episode: "All in the Mind"
1966 Never Too Young Alice 11 episodes
1967-1968 Dragnet Policewoman Dorothy Miller 7 episodes
1967-1968 Lassie Carol Dawson 4 episodes
1971 Gunsmoke Shirley 2 episodes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Woodbine, Paul. "Merry Anders". glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  2. ^ Weaver, Tom (2003). Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 2. ISBN 0-786-48215-X. 
  3. ^ a b Koper, Richard (2010). Fifties Blondes: Sexbombs, Sirens, Bad Girls and Teen Queens. BearManor Media. p. 27. ISBN 1-593-93521-8. 
  4. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Random House Publishing Group. p. 643. ISBN 0-307-48320-7. 
  5. ^ Tucker, David C. (2010). Lost Laughs of '50S and '60S Television: Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen. McFarland. pp. 64–66. ISBN 0-786-45582-9. 
  6. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (May 1, 1961). "Andrew Stone Will Produce War Tale: Civic to Stage 'The Balcony'; 'Beauty and Beast' Refilmed". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California). p. C11. 
  7. ^ Blum, Daniel, ed. (1963). Daniel Blum's Screen World 1963. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 129. ISBN 0-819-60304-X. 
  8. ^ Lisanti, Tom (2001). Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Biker, Beach, and Elvis Movies. McFarland. p. 96. ISBN 0-786-40868-5. 
  9. ^ Merry Anders at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ a b (Koper 2007, p. 29)
  11. ^ "Anders Explains Her Divorce". The Tuscaloosa News (Tuscaloosa, Alabama). July 19, 1957. p. 12. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Actress Divorced". The Dispatch (Lexington, North Carolina). June 18, 1956. p. 3. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]