Willes in 1960
April 15, 1923
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
January 3, 1989 (aged 65)|
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Gerard Cowhig (1951–1989; her death)|
Jean Willes (April 15, 1923 – January 3, 1989) was an American film and television actress. She appeared in approximately 65 films in her 38-year career.
Willes is familiar to modern viewers for her roles in several Three Stooges short subjects, such as Monkey Businessmen, A Snitch in Time, and Gypped in the Penthouse. She was a favorite of director Edward Bernds, who cast her in many shorts and features. She was cast in roles ranging from an Air Force captain to prostitutes. She was one of the "four queens" pursuing Clark Gable in The King and Four Queens (1956). Later that year she appeared as Nurse Sally Withers in the original movie version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
She made the transition to television easily appearing in dozens of series in varied roles and genre such as westerns and anthology series, Crossroads, The Caliifornians, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, several episodes of Burns and Allen television program, in the 1956 television show "The Great Gildersleeve" as the scheeming girlfriend Eva Jane in the episode "One Too Many Secretaries", The Twilight Zone, Bonanza, Hazel, Trackdown, Meet McGraw, The Munsters, Perry Mason, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Bat Masterson, The Beverly Hillbillies, McHale's Navy, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Tombstone Territory, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre and Kojak.
In 1958, in the episode "Queen of the Cimarron" of the syndicated western television series Frontier Doctor, starring Rex Allen, Willes portrayed Fancy Varden, the owner of the Golden Slipper Saloon who attempts to establish her own cattle empire with animals infected with anthrax. The disease soon spread from the cattle to the cowhands.
Willes portrayed Belle Starr opposite James Garner in a 1959 episode of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Maverick entitled "Full House," in which Joel Grey played Billy the Kid. Willes played the character Ruth in the Wanted: Dead or Alive episode "The Eager Man", Manila Jones in "The Montana Kid", and Meghan Francis in "The Kovack Affair", both times opposite star Steve McQueen.
In 1947, she changed her billing, Jean Donahue, to her married name, Jean Willes.
- So Proudly We Hail! (1943) as Lt. Carol Johnson
- Here Come the Waves (1944) as Johnny Cabot Fan (uncredited)
- Salty O'Rourke (1945) as The Other Girl (uncredited)
- You Came Along (1945) as Showgirl (uncredited)
- Incendiary Blonde (1945) as Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
- Monkey Businessmen (1946, Short) as Nurse Shapely (uncredited)
- Sing While You Dance (1946) as Miss Flint
- Blondie Knows Best (1946) as Dr. Titus's Nurse / Receptionist (uncredited)
- Cigarette Girl (1947) as D.A.'s Secretary (uncredited)
- Down to Earth (1947) as Betty
- Blondie in the Dough (1947) as Miss Marsh, Thorpe's Secretary (uncredited)
- The Mating of Millie (1948) as Party Girl (uncredited)
- The Winner's Circle (1948) as Jean Trent
- Chinatown at Midnight (1949) as Alice
- A Woman of Distinction (1950) as Pearl - Switchboard Operator (uncredited)
- Kill the Umpire (1950) as Pretty Girl (uncredited)
- David Harding, Counterspy (1950) as Nurse (uncredited)
- The Petty Girl (1950) as Fleeing Chorine (uncredited)
- The Fuller Brush Girl (1950) as Mary (uncredited)
- Emergency Wedding (1950) as Guest (uncredited)
- A Snitch in Time (1950, Short) as Miss Gladys Scudder
- Revenue Agent (1950) as Marge King
- Don't Throw That Knife (1951, Short) as Lucy Wyckoff
- Never Trust a Gambler (1951) as The Brunette at Police Station (uncredited)
- The Family Secret (1951) as Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
- Hula-La-La (1951, Short) as Luana
- The First Time (1952) as Fawn Wallace (uncredited)
- Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land (1952) as Denise
- The Sniper (1952) as Woman on Street (uncredited)
- A Yank in Indo-China (1952) as Cleo
- Gobs and Gals (1952) as Mrs. Riley - Gerrens' Secretary (uncredited)
- Son of Paleface (1952) as Penelope (uncredited)
- Torpedo Alley (1952) as Peggy Moran (uncredited)
- All Ashore (1953) as Rose
- Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953) as Capt. Olivia
- Run for the Hills (1953) as Frances Veach
- From Here to Eternity (1953) as Annette, club receptionist (uncredited)
- The Glass Web (1953) as Sonia
- A Star Is Born (1954) as Fan at benefit show (uncredited)
- Masterson of Kansas (1954) as Dallas Corey - aka Mrs. Bennett
- Bowery to Bagdad (1955) as Claire Culpepper
- 5 Against the House (1955) as Virginia
- Gypped in the Penthouse (1955, Short) as Jane
- Count Three and Pray (1955) as Selma (uncredited)
- Bobby Ware Is Missing (1955) as Janet Ware
- The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (1956) as Joan Sweeney
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) as Nurse Sally Withers
- The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) as Gladys
- Toward the Unknown (1956) as Carmen (uncredited)
- The King and Four Queens (1956) as Ruby McDade
- The Man Who Turned to Stone (1957) as Tracy
- Hell on Devil's Island (1957) as Suzanne
- The Tijuana Story (1957) as Liz March
- Hear Me Good (1957) as Rita Hall
- Desire Under the Elms (1958) as Florence Cabot
- Trackdown (1958) "The Bounty Hunter" as Jannette York
- No Time for Sergeants (1958) as WAF Captain
- Official Detective (1958, TV Series) as Pat Dengue
- These Thousand Hills (1959) as Jen
- The FBI Story (1959) as Anna Sage
- Elmer Gantry (1960) as Prostitute (uncredited)
- Ocean's 11 (1960) as Gracie Bergdof
- The Crowded Sky (1960) as Gloria Panawek
- By Love Possessed (1961) as Junie McCarthy
- Gun Street (1961) as Joan Brady
- Gypsy (1962) as Betty Cratchitt
- McHale's Navy (1964) as Margot Monet
- The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) as Alice
- Bite the Bullet (1975) as Rosie
- "Jean W. Cowhig". Social Security Death Index. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- Willes' profile, imdb.com; accessed March 6, 2015.
- ""Queen of the Cimarron", September 26, 1958". imdb.com. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- "Jean Willes profile". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jean Willes.|