Billie Jo Bradley
|Billie Jo Bradley|
|Petticoat Junction character|
|First appearance||"Spur Line to Shady Rest"|
|Last appearance||"Betty Jo's Business"|
|Created by||Paul Henning|
|Portrayed by||Jeannine Riley (1963–65)
Gunilla Hutton (1965–66)
Meredith MacRae (1966–70)
Miss Golden Dreams
|Relatives||Kate Bradley (mother)
Bill Bradley (father; deceased)
Bobbie Jo Bradley (sister)
Betty Jo Bradley (sister)
Joe Carson (great-uncle)
Mae Belle Jennings (cousin)
Steve Elliott (brother-in-law)
Kathy Jo Elliott (niece)
Willimena Josephine, on the show always called just Billie Jo, is the blonde-haired eldest daughter of Kate Bradley. An early episode explains that Billie Jo is named after her late father, Bill Bradley. In the first three seasons, Billie Jo is a boy-crazy flirt, as was Petticoat Junction creator Paul Henning's original conception of the character. She is the most flirtatious of the three Bradley sisters, and she often draws male attention away from her two sisters, Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo. Youngest sister Betty Jo says that Billie Jo became "interested in boys when she found out they weren't girls." Billie Jo says that she would chase a boy away, leading her mother to reply "I know, dear." However, as the series progresses Billie Jo's boy-crazy image fades, and she becomes more sophisticated and mature. This transformation begins in season four after Meredith MacRae takes over the role. The character of Billie Jo becomes more serious-minded and goal-oriented. Billie Jo's storylines change from flirting and dating to the pursuit of a professional singing career.
Although she has several different love interest on the show, Billie Jo never marries. However, in season four, she becomes romantically involved with pilot Steve Elliott. Nevertheless, Steve ends up marrying Billie Jo's younger sister, Betty Jo.
Like many other characters on Petticoat Junction, Billie Jo also appears in three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. However, unlike the rest of her sitcom family, Billie Jo never appears in any episodes of the crossover series Green Acres.
Billie Jo Bradley appears in 202 of Petticoat Junction's 222 episodes. During the show's first two seasons (and in 72 episodes from that duration), Billie Jo was played by Jeannine Riley (1963–65), who left to pursue a motion picture career. For 23 episodes (out of 34) in the third season (1965–66), Billie Jo was played by Gunilla Hutton, who also left for other career options. From seasons four to seven (1966–70), Billie Jo was played in 107 episodes (out of 114) by Meredith MacRae. According to Linda Kaye (who played Billie Jo's sister, Betty Jo Bradley), CBS never got angry when the actresses wanted to leave, they just worried about finding the perfect replacement.
- Terrace, Vincent Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2007 (2008) McFarland p. 828
- Pilato, Herbie J (2014) Glamour , Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door p. 138 Taylor Trade Publishing