Joanna Pettet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Joanna Pettet
Joanna Pettet 1976.jpg
Pettet in 1976.
Born Joanna Jane Salmon
(1942-11-16) 16 November 1942 (age 74)
Westminster, London, England
Years active 1964–1990
Spouse(s) Alex Cord (1968–1989); 1 child

Joanna Pettet (born 16 November 1942) is an English actress, retired since 1990.


Pettet was born Joanna Jane Salmon in Westminster, London.[1][2] Her parents, Harold Nigel Edgerton Salmon, a British Royal Air Force pilot killed in the Second World War, and Cecily J. Tremaine, were married in Chelsea, London in 1940.[3] After the war, her mother remarried and settled in Canada,[2] where young Joanna was adopted by her stepfather and assumed his surname of "Pettet".

When Pettet was 16, she moved to New York City.[2] Newspaper columnist Walter Winchell described her as "a breathtaking teen-age darling from Canada."[4]

She studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre,[2] as well as at the Lincoln Center, and got her start on Broadway in such plays as Take Her, She's Mine,[4] The Chinese Prime Minister, and Poor Richard,[5] with Alan Bates and Gene Hackman, before she was discovered by director Sidney Lumet for his film adaptation in 1966 of Mary McCarthy's novel The Group. The success of that film launched a film career that included roles in The Night of the Generals (1967), as Mata Bond in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), Peter Yates's Robbery (1967) with Stanley Baker, Blue (1968) with Terence Stamp, and the Victorian period comedy The Best House in London (1969).

In 1968, Pettet married the American actor Alex Cord and gave birth to a son 3 and 1/2 months later. The boy, Damien Zach was given the last name "Cord", however, his biological father was British actor Terence Stamp.[6] She and Cord were divorced in 1989 after 21 years of marriage. She has not remarried.

On 8 August 1969, Pettet had lunch at the house of Sharon Tate, a few hours before Tate's murder there during the night that followed.

In the 1970s her feature film appearances became sporadic and included roles in the cult horror films Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974) and The Evil (1978). Pettet re-emerged as the star of over a dozen made-for-television movies, including The Weekend Nun (1972), Footsteps (1972), Pioneer Woman (1973), A Cry in the Wilderness (1974), The Desperate Miles (1975), The Hancocks (1976), Sex and the Married Woman (1977), Cry of the Innocent (1980) with Rod Taylor, and The Return of Frank Cannon (1980).

She starred in the NBC miniseries Captains and the Kings (1976), guest-starred four times on the classic Rod Serling anthology series Night Gallery, starred in the episode "You're Not Alone" from the 1977 NBC anthology series Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (known in the United Kingdom as Twist in the Tale),[7] was a frequent guest on both Fantasy Island and The Love Boat (appearing three times on each series), and had a recurring role on Knots Landing in 1983 as Janet Baines, an LAPD homicide detective investigating the murder of singer Ciji Dunne (played by Lisa Hartman).

Pettet also made appearances on the television series Banacek, McCloud, Mannix, Police Woman, Knight Rider and Murder, She Wrote. In 1984, she appeared as herself in a James Bond tribute episode of The Fall Guy alongside ex-Bond girls Britt Ekland and Lana Wood.


Pettet won a Theatre World Award for 1964-1965 for her work in Poor Richard.[8]

Later years[edit]

She starred opposite Jane Alexander and Franco Nero in the 1987 movie Sweet Country, and her last acting appearance to date was in a "bad action film" called Terror in Paradise in 1990 that was produced by Roger Corman and his frequent Philippine associate Cirio Santiago. During filming in the Philippines she was held hostage by rebels, led by Gregorio Honasan, attempting to overthrow Corazon Aquino, and managed to escape the hotel where she was being held before fleeing the country. By then, she had lost her enthusiasm for acting and decided it was time to bow out gracefully from the entertainment industry.

The grief over the death on 7 July 1995 of her only son, Damien Zach, at age 26, caused Pettet to retreat even further from Hollywood. For a time, she lived in a remote area in California until she moved to London, where she was actor Alan Bates's companion; he died from pancreatic cancer in London in 2003 at the age of sixty-nine.

Joanna lives a quiet but full life outside Los Angeles. She is very devoted to animals, and animal causes.



External links[edit]