Gretchen Corbett

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Gretchen Corbett
Born (1945-08-13) August 13, 1945 (age 69)
Camp Sherman, Oregon, U.S.
Nationality United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1967-present
Known for The Rockford Files
Let's Scare Jessica to Death
Partner(s) Robin Gammell
Children Winslow Corbett

Gretchen Corbett (born August 13, 1947) is an American actress most noted for the role of Beth Davenport on the television series The Rockford Files from 1974 to 1978.[1]

Early Life in Oregon[edit]

Corbett was born in 1947 in Camp Sherman, Oregon to Henry Ladd Corbett, Jr. and Katherine Minahen (née Coney) "Kay" Corbett. She is a great-great-granddaughter of Oregon pioneer and Senator Henry W. Corbett.[2] She studied drama at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Tech before its merger with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research to form Carnegie Mellon University in 1967.

Stage Work[edit]

Some of her stage appearances include After the Rain with Alec McCowen (Broadway), Forty Carats with Julie Harris (Broadway), Shakespeare's Henry VI (New York Shakespeare Festival), Shaw's Arms and the Man (The Sheridan Square), Iphigeneia at Aulis with Irene Papas (Circle in the Square), The Government Inspector with David Dukes and John Glover (The Phoenix Theatre), and The Survival of St. Joan (The Anderson Theatre).[where?]

She worked in many regional theatres, including the Long Wharf Theatre, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Eugene O'Neill Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the Repertory Theatre of New Orleans.[3]

Film and Television[edit]

One of Corbett's first television roles was on ABC's short-lived police detective show, N.Y.P.D., in 1968. In an episode called The Case of the Shady Lady, Corbett played a dancer who tries to make her husband's suicide into a murder for the insurance money. She had supporting roles in Out of It with Jon Voight (1969), and as a mute in Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971).[4]

In 1973, Corbett moved to Los Angeles under contract to Universal Studios, as one of the last "contract players" of the studio contract system. Her first role under contract was an episode of the detective series Kojak: Conspiracy of Fear in 1973. She had recurring roles on Marcus Welby, M.D., Otherworld, Ellery Queen, and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, and guest roles on such series as Wonder Woman, Emergency!, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo: An Exercise in Fatality, Gunsmoke, McMillan & Wife, Barbary Coast, Banacek, Family, Otherworld, Murder, She Wrote, Cheers, and Magnum, P.I.[5]

The Rockford Files[edit]

In 1974 Corbett joined the cast NBC's The Rockford Files where she played Beth Davenport,[1] the beleaguered lawyer and sometimes lover of series lead Jim Rockford, a private investigator portrayed by James Garner. Corbett left the series at the end of the fourth season over a salary dispute, though Corbett herself was not looking for more money. The dispute was between the show's producers and Universal, who owned Corbett's contract as a contract player. Corbett went on to do more TV work, eventually returning to play Davenport again in the Rockford Files TV movies of the 1990s.[5]

The Haven Project[edit]

In the 2000s, Corbett served as Artistic Director of the Haven Project, a theatre project for underprivileged children in Portland, Oregon, a replication of New York's 52nd St. Project.[5]

Personal Life[edit]

Her daughter Winslow Corbett is a stage actress.


  1. ^ a b "Gretchen Corbett". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ The Oregonian, Friday, February 2, 2001 (Katherine C. Corbett obituary).
  3. ^ "Gretchen Corbett Biography" Retrieved 20 May 2015
  4. ^ Greenspun, Roger (August 28, 1971). "Let s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) Screen: Hippie Vampire:' Let's Scare Jessica to Death' Arrives". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b c Gretchen Corbett at the Internet Movie Database