How to Marry a Millionaire (TV series)

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How to Marry a Millionaire
Genre Sitcom
Written by Dick Conway
Bob Fisher
Everett Greenbaum
John Kohn
Howard Leeds
Seaman Jacobs
Roland MacLane
Milton Pascal
Harvey Orkin
Si Rose
Margaret Schneider
Paul Schneider
Leo Solomon
Directed by Danny Dare
Jerry Hopper
Lester Vail
Peter Tewksbury
Bernard Wiesen
Starring Lori Nelson (Season 1)
Merry Anders
Barbara Eden
Lisa Gaye (Season 2)
Theme music composer Alec Compinsky
Composer(s) Leon Klatzkin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52
Executive producer(s) Irving Asher
Nat Perrin
Producer(s) Ben Feiner, Jr.
Paul Jones
Nat Perrin
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 24 mins.
Production company(s) 20th Century-Fox Television
National Telefilm Associates
Distributor National Telefilm Associates
Original network Syndication
NTA Film Network
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release October 7, 1957 (1957-10-07) – August 20, 1959 (1959-08-20)
Preceded by How to Marry a Millionaire

How to Marry a Millionaire is an American sitcom that aired in syndication and on the NTA Film Network, from October 7, 1957 to August 20, 1959. The series is based on the 1953 film of the same name starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall.

The series stars Lori Nelson, Merry Anders, and Barbara Eden. Lisa Gaye joined the cast in the second season after Lori Nelson left the series. How to Marry a Millionaire was one of the first television sitcoms based on a feature film, and was the first series that Barbara Eden was featured in as a regular cast member. Eden would go on to play one of her more notable roles, "Jeannie" in the NBC sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.[1]


Season one[edit]

The series follows the adventures and mishaps of three 20-something women who are attempting to marry a rich man. The three women are Greta Hanson (Nelson), a sophisticated, college educated co-hostess of the quiz show Go For Broke; Michelle "Mike" McCall (Anders), an intelligent (and often scheming), wise cracking Wall Street secretary Michelle "Mike" McCall; and Loco Jones (Eden), a ditzy but good natured "Miss Magoo"-esque fashion model. As in the film, the three women have concocted a scheme to land a rich husband by placing themselves in same social scene as rich bachelors. The three rent a pricey penthouse apartment together at the Tower House on Park Avenue and vow to help each other land a rich husband. While their address may be ritzy, Greta, Mike and Loco struggle to make the rent and are constantly faced with the threat of eviction and barely make ends meet.

In the series' initial episodes, Dabbs Greer portrayed Mr. Blandish, the Tower House's building manager who frequently threatens the women with eviction due to their failure to pay the rent on time. Midway through the first season, Joseph Kearns was cast as the building manager, Augustus P. Tobey. Mr. Tobey would also routinely threaten the women with eviction and regularly complained about their inability to pay their rent on time. Also appearing in a recurring role is Jimmy Cross, the building's elevator operator Jesse Flouge.

The original, unaired pilot episode was shot in Spring 1957.[2] Lori Nelson appeared as Greta Lindquist (the character's last name was later changed to Hanson), Loco Jones was played by Charlotte Austin and Doe Avedon (ex-wife of photographer Richard Avedon) portrayed Mike McCall.[3] Joseph Kearns, who was later cast in the series as the women's building manager, appeared in the pilot as Mike's co-worker Maurice. After all three major networks passed on the series,[2] National Telefilm Associates and 20th Century-Fox Television (who owned part of the series) sold and distributed the series to 115 independent syndicated channels. Millionaire was included in a package deal with two other NTA productions, This Is Alice and Man Without a Gun, that subscribing syndicated channels aired in a programming block on the same night.[4] After the series was sold, Charlotte Austin and Doe Avedon's roles were recast. Approximately seventy actresses auditioned for the roles of Loco and Mike before producers chose Barbara Eden and Merry Anders.[2]

Season two[edit]

How to Marry a Millionaire was generally well received by critics and audiences and a second, abbreviated season was ordered. However, Lori Nelson's character was written out and a new character. Gwen Kirby", was added to the cast.[5] Nelson later said she chose to quit the show stating, "I felt that I was the biggest of the three actresses in terms of star status...I felt that I needed to move on. I didn't need to be stuck in that little series that was in syndication."[5] However, Nelson's co-star Merry Anders said that Nelson was fired. According to Anders, the series' entire first season, 39 episodes, was shot before the series debuted on television. Before the series even aired, Nelson gave an interview where she expressed her displeasure in her role on the series. Anders stated that when the series' production company, National Telefilm Associates, got wind of the interview they fired Nelson.[6]

After Nelson's departure, her character was written out by having her marry a gas station owner and relocate to California. The second season premiere episode of the, "Cherchez la Roommate", deals with Loco and Mike trying to find a suitable replacement for Greta or face eviction. Mr. Tobey is delighted that he finally has a legitimate reason to throw the women out and gives them one week to find a new roommate or get evicted. After a disastrous attempt to find a new roommate through a want ad in the newspaper, Loco and Mike are introduced to Gwen Kirby (Lisa Gaye), a new girl in town who needs a place to live. After Loco and Mike get Gwen to promise to help with their plan to get one of them married to a millionaire, Gwen becomes the third roommate.

The second season comprised 13 episodes. How to Marry a Millionaire was later canceled.



During the series' first season, Eden was billed third. After Lori Nelson left the series, Eden was billed first.[7]


Notable guest stars[edit]


First season[edit]

The first season of How to Marry a Millionaire premiered on October 7, 1957 and ended in July 1958, after 39 episodes.[7]

  • "The Penthouse" (Pilot)
  • "Subletting the Apartment"
  • "The 3 Pretenders"
  • "To Hock or Not to Hock"
  • "It's a Dog's Life"
  • "The Cruise"
  • "The Brat"
  • "Loco the Heiress"
  • "Alias the Secretary"
  • "The Sea Island Story"
  • "Society Mother"
  • "Tom, Dick, and Harry"
  • "Good Time Charlie"
  • "The Bird Man"
  • "The Fourth Girl"
  • "For the Love of Art"
  • "The Playwright"
  • "Youth for the Asking"
  • "Loco Leaves Home"
  • "The Maid"
  • "The Yachting Party"
  • "The Utterly Perfect Man"
  • "Loco and the Cowboy"
  • "Loco v. Wall Street"
  • "For the Love of Mink"
  • "Operation Greta"
  • "A Job for Jesse"
  • "Day in Court"
  • "A Man for Mike"
  • "The Truthivac"
  • "The New Lease"
  • "Situation Wanted"
  • "Loco and the Gambler"
  • "The Big Order"
  • "The Shortshop"
  • "Greta's Big Chance

Second season[edit]

The abbreviated second season lasted 13 episodes. The second season aired from October 7, 1958 to August 20, 1959. The series was on hiatus from January to June 1959.[7]

  • "Cherchez la Roommate"
  • "What's Cooking with Loco?"
  • "Guest with a Gun"
  • "Hit and Run"
  • "Three Stacked Stockholders"
  • "Gwen's Secret"
  • "Loco, the Teenager"
  • "The Seal Who Came to Dinner"
  • "The Method"
  • "The Golf Tournament"
  • "The Comic"
  • "A Husband for Julia"
  • "Love on Approval"

Production notes[edit]

How to Marry a Millionaire was one of the first television series filmed by Twentieth Century Fox.[8] The series was executive produced by Nat Perrin and Irving Asher, and produced by Ben Feiner, Jr. and Paul Jones.[9]


  1. ^ (Tucker 2010, pp. 63–64)
  2. ^ a b c (Tucker 2010, p. 64)
  3. ^ Parsons, Louella (March 14, 1957). "Lucky Trio Picked For 'Millionaire'". Milwaukee Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). p. 2. Retrieved October 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ Bacon, James (July 22, 1958). "Sex Appeal Vs. Cowboys". Daytona Morning Beach Journal (Daytona Beach, Florida). p. 8. Retrieved October 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b (Tucker 2010, pp. 65-66)
  6. ^ (Magers 2004, p. 15)
  7. ^ a b c Classic TV Archive: How to Marry a Millionaire
  8. ^ (Brooks 2007, pp. 642–643)
  9. ^ (Tucker 2010, p. 61)


  • Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-49773-2
  • Magers, Boyd; Fitzgerald, Michael G. (2004). Westerns Women: Interviews With 50 Leading Ladies Of Movie And Television Westerns From The 1930s To The 1960s. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-42028-6.
  • Tucker, David C. (2010). Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television: 30 Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-44466-5.

External links[edit]