Joyce Bulifant

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Joyce Bulifant
Mary Tyler Moore Show 1975 (cropped).jpg
Bulifant in a promotional still from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Joyce Collins Bulifant[1]

(1937-12-16) December 16, 1937 (age 83)
Years active1959–2019
(m. 1958; div. 1967)

(m. 1969; div. 1974)

(m. 1976; div. 1993)

Glade Bruce Hansen
(m. 2000; div. 2001)

(m. 2002; died 2018)

Joyce Collins Bulifant[1] (born December 16, 1937) is an American actress and author noted for her cheerful, girlish voice. In addition to recurring roles on television including The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Marie Slaughter, Bulifant is recognized for film roles in The Happiest Millionaire and Airplane! and as a frequent panelist on game shows including Chain Reaction, Match Game, and Password Plus.

Early years[edit]

Bulifant was born in Newport News, Virginia.[2] She attended Solebury School in New Hope, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1955 in the same class as her first husband, James MacArthur, son of Helen Hayes and Charles MacArthur.[1] She then studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[3]


Bulifant's Broadway credits include Tall Story (1958) and The Paisley Convertible (1966).[2][4]

She appeared in Glad Tidings,[5] Auntie Mame,[6] Gentlemen, The Queens!, and Under the Yum-Yum Tree.[7]

She has written and performed autobiographical shows, Life Upon the Wicked Stage[8] and Remembering Helen Hayes with Love, about her former mother-in-law, Helen Hayes, as well as Lillian Gish.[9]


Regular cast[edit]

One of Bulifant's earliest roles on television was as a dancer on Arthur Murray's Dance Party (1950-1960).[10][11] She played Timmie Barnes in Too Young to Go Steady (1959),[11]:1096 Mary Gentry in Tom, Dick and Mary (1964-1965),[11]:1092 Marie Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977),[11]:662 Peggy Wilson on Love Thy Neighbor (1973),[11]:631 Lois on It's a Man's World (1962-1963),[11]:515 Marsha Patterson on The Bill Cosby Show (1969–71),[11]:106 Marjorie Martin on Big John, Little John (1976-1977),[11]:102 and Alice Wurlitzer on The Bad News Bears (1979-1980)[11]:69. She was heard as the voice of Queen Vanda on the syndicated cartoon series Sport Billy (1982).[11]:1006

Guest appearances[edit]

Bulifant guest starred as Jessica in Tales of Wells Fargo, episode "Fraud," in 1961, in addition to episodes of Channing, Empire, The Virginian, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Destry Rides Again, The Real McCoys, McHale's Navy, Dr. Kildare, Naked City, Police Woman, My Three Sons, Love, American Style, The Facts of Life, Harper Valley P.T.A.,The Bad News Bears, Alice, Three's Company, The Joey Bishop Show, and The Donald O'Connor Show.[12]

She played an intended murder victim in a 1961 episode of Boris Karloff's Thriller (episode: "An Attractive Family").[7]

She starred opposite her future husband, Roger Perry, in a 1962 pilot for General Electric Theater called "The First Hundred Years"[13] and with Eva Le Galliene in Play of the Week's Therese Raquin, as well as in Mr. Lucifer, a 1963 episode of Alcoa Presents.[14]

She played innocent defendant "Nancy Banks" in the Perry Mason 1964 episode "The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands," the second of two appearances on that show.[12]

She played Miriam Willoughby on Flo and David Spade's mother on Just Shoot Me!

From 1994 to 1997, she played Emily Wallace, the mother of her real-life son John Asher, in Weird Science.[12]

Television movies[edit]

Bulifant appeared in Hanging by a Thread, Better Late Than Never, Little Women, Charley's Aunt, and The Shining.[15][16][17][18][19]

Game shows[edit]

Bulifant appeared as a frequent guest on game shows including Name That Tune, Password, Match Game, Crosswits, Tattletales, To Tell the Truth, $25,000 Pyramid, and Decisions, hosted by David Letterman.

The Brady Bunch[edit]

Bulifant was the original choice for the role of Carol Brady on ABC's The Brady Bunch, but the part ultimately went to Florence Henderson.[20]


Bulifant's most popular film roles were as Rosemary in the Disney live-action feature The Happiest Millionaire, in which she sang "Bye-Yum Pum Pum," and in the 1980 comedy Airplane![21]

She has twice been directed by her son, John Asher, in Diamonds and Tooken, and appeared in a comedic short, The Haircut, opposite John Cassavetes.[22]


Bulifant received a Theatre World Award for 1961-1962 for her performance in Whisper to Me.[23]

In 2014, she and her husband Roger Perry were honored with a Golden Palm Star on the Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Bulifant has been married five times.[12]

She married James MacArthur (November 2, 1958,[25] until 1967; divorced) and had two children with him, Mary MacArthur and Charles MacArthur.[12]

Bulifant next married Days of Our Lives star, Edward Mallory (September 19, 1969 – 1974; divorced) and had one child with him, John Mallory Asher.[12]

She then married William Asher (August 28, 1976 – 1993; divorced) and Asher adopted her son John which gave him the last name of Asher. Bulifant has a grandson, Evan Joseph Asher, from John's marriage to Jenny McCarthy. In 2000, Bulifant briefly married Glade Bruce Hansen; the couple divorced in 2001.[12]

She married Roger Perry in 2002 after he divorced his wife of many years, Jo Anne Worley. The couple remained wed until Perry's death on July 12, 2018.[26]


Bulifant discovered she had dyslexia in her 40s[27] and has served as a longtime advocate for dyslexia research, including writing two musicals on the subject, Gifts of Greatness and Different Heroes, Different Dreams. Recipients of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, which Bulifant founded to recognize dyslexics who've made a positive contribution to society, include Stephen J. Cannell, and Whoopi Goldberg.[28] Bulifant herself is a recipient of the 2015 Broken Glass Award from The Dyslexia Foundation.[29]

She has for many years been actively involved with the child abuse prevention non-profit Childhelp, including serving as a Celebrity Ambassador and as a vice-president on the National Board of Directors.[30][31]

She also advocates for autism research.[9]

Her memoir, My Four Hollywood Husbands, details the alcoholism of four of her spouses and her recovery from codependent relationships.[21]



Year Title Character Notes ref
1959 Tall Story Nancy
1967 The Paisley Convertible Amy Rodgers Understudies: Richard Hoffman (Charlie Rodgers, Ralph Keppleman), Jen Nelson (Meg Tynan) and Mary Rausch (Amy Rodgers, Sylvia Greer) [2]


Year Title Character Notes ref
1967 The Happiest Millionaire Rosemary Musical film starring Fred MacMurray and based upon the true story of Philadelphia millionaire Anthony J. Drexel Biddle. [32]
1980 Airplane! Mrs. Davis Titled as Flying High! in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and the Philippines [33]
1999 Diamonds June American comedy film directed by her son, Asher and written by Allan Aaron Katz.
2005 Dirty Love Mary Written by and starring Jenny McCarthy and directed by her son, Asher.
2015 Tooken


Year Title Character Notes ref
1961 The Play of the Week Episode: "Therese Raquin" (S 2:Ep 24)
Naked City Connie Hacker Episode: "Take and Put" (S 2:Ep 32)
1962 Thriller Jinny Willis Episode: "An Attractive Family" (S 2: Ep15)
General Electric Theater Connie Duncan Episode: "The First Hundred Years" (S 10:Ep 34)
Alcoa Premiere Jenny Logan Episode: "Mr. Lucifer" (S 2:Ep 5)
Gunsmoke Ellie Episode: "Uncle Sunday" (S 8:Ep 14)
1963 My Three Sons Rebecca Holly Episode: "Flashback" (S 3:Ep 19)
Empire Betty Wormser Episode: "The Tiger Inside" (S 1:Ep 20)
Perry Mason Hollis Wilburn Episode: "The Case of the Surplus Suitor" (S 6:ep 19)
The Real McCoys Barbara Episode: "The Peacemakers" (S 6:Ep 36)
McHale's Navy Lt. Georgianna Comstock Episode: "Today I Am a Man!" (S 2:Ep 7)
1964 The Virginian Nancy Mayhew Episode: "Roar from the Mountain" (S 2:Ep 16)
Perry Mason Nancy Banks Episode: "The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands" (S 7:Ep 16)
Arrest and Trial Alice Episode: "A Roll Of The Dice" (S 1:Ep 22)
Destry Sheba Hannibal Episode: "Go Away, Little Sheba" (S 1:Ep 7)
Wagon Train Julie Episode: "The Michael Malone Story" (S 7:Ep 16)
1964–65 Tom, Dick and Mary Mary Gentry Part of the umbrella title of a short-lived NBC experiment comprising three situation comedies set in a Southern California apartment complex located at the 90 Bristol Court address.
1966 Dr. Kildare Judy Cannon Recurring
1968 The Woody Woodbury Show Herself Episodes:
  • "February 20, 1968" (S 1:Ep 127)
  • "July 2, 1968" (S 1:Ep 223)
1969 Lancer Cassie Episode: "Angel Day And Her Sunshine Girls" (S 1:Ep 19)
1969–71 The Bill Cosby Show Mrs. Patterson Main cast [34]
1970 Bonanza Bonnie Episode: "Return Engagement" (S 11:Ep 22)
1971–77 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Marie Slaughter Recurring
1973 Love Thy Neighbor Peggy Wilson
Love, American Style Episode: "Love and the Awkward Age" {S 5:Ep 49)
1973–82 Match Game Herself Semi-regular panelist
1974 Tattletales Herself Episode: "March 18, 1974" (S 1:Ep 5)
The Michele Lee Show Gladys Gooch
  • Pilot (S 1:Ep 1)
  • Only the pilot episode was aired and the series did not proceed on CBS.
Sierra Shirley Episode: "Taking Cody Winslow" (S 1:Ep 3)
Police Woman Peggy Lakes Episode: "Warning: All Wives..." (S 1:Ep 3)
1975–77 Match Game PM Herself Semi-Regular Panelist
1976 Police Story Katie Pardnales Episode: "Monster Manor" (S 4:Ep 8)
1976 Big John, Little John Marjorie Martin Recurring
1977 $20,000 Pyramid Herself Episode: "Joyce Bulifant & David Doyle" (S 6:Ep 11)
Three's Company Mrs. Cross Episode: "Chrissy's Date" (S 2:Ep 5)
1978 $20,000 Pyramid Herself Episode: "Joyce Bulifant & Ron Glass" (S 6:Ep 26)
Alice Connie Raymond Episode: "Who Ordered the Hot Turkey?" (S 3:Ep 9)
1979 Turnabout 9 month's expectant mother Episode: "We're a Little Late, Folks" (S 1:Ep 3)
The Bad News Bears Alice Episodes:
  • "Three's a Crowd" (S 1:Ep 9)
  • "Wedding Bells, part 1" (S 2: Ep 2)
The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo Guest Episode: "Disco Fever Comes To Orly" (S 1:Ep 4)
1979–81 Password Plus Herself Recurring
1980 Chain Reaction Herself Celebrity guest
1980–81 Flo Miriam Willoughby Spin-off of Alice. [35]
1982 Harper Valley PTA Guest Episode: "The Return Of Charlie's Chow Palace" (S 2:Ep 16}
1980-81 Sport Billy Sport Lilly/Queen Vanda
1985 The Facts of Life Margaret Episode: "Teacher, Teacher" (S 7:Ep 4)
1987 American Playhouse Miss Delahay Episode: "Charley's Aunt" (S 6:Ep 14)
1994–97 Weird Science Emily Wallace Recurring
1999 E! True Hollywood Story Herself Episode: "The Brady Bunch" (S 3:Ep 21)
2001 Just Shoot Me! Fantasia 'Fanny' Olivia Finch Episode: "Fanny Finch" (S 5:Ep19)


  1. ^ a b c "Ancestry Library Edition".
  2. ^ a b c d "Joyce Bulifant". IBDB. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  3. ^ "In Conversation With Actress and Author Joyce Bulifant". Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  4. ^ "("Joyce Bulifant" search results)". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  5. ^ "The 'Glad Tidings': Diana's Tops, in Barrymore Tradition". July 23, 1957. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  6. ^ Muir, Helen (August 8, 1960). "Gypsy Rose Blossoms Out as Witty 'Auntie Mame'". Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "MacArthurs Are Costars First Time in Mall Play". October 23, 1961. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  8. ^ Beuck, Jules E.; Botkin-Beuck, Rose. "Life journeys bound in the Inland Empire". Highland Community News. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  9. ^ a b "The Crowd: Joyce Bulifant to have one-woman show at Balboa Bay Club". Daily Pilot. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  10. ^ Winchell, Walter (November 8, 1958). "Walter Winchell". Kingsport News. Tennessee, Kingsport. p. 4.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 59.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Joyce Bulifant at IMDb
  13. ^ "Sunday's Previews". May 26, 1962. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Crosland, Alan Jr. (1962-11-01), Mr. Lucifer (Drama), Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Montgomery, Joyce Bulifant, George Petrie, Avasta Productions, retrieved 2020-09-25
  15. ^ "Hanging by a Thread (1979)". BFI. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  16. ^ "Better Late than Never (1979)". BFI. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  17. ^ Little Women (TV Mini-Series 1978) - IMDb, retrieved 2020-11-20
  18. ^ "AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE: CHARLEY'S AUNT (TV)". Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  19. ^ The Shining (TV Mini-Series 1997) - IMDb, retrieved 2020-11-20
  20. ^ Schwartz, Sherwood; Schwartz, Lloyd J. (2010). Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of The Brady Bunch as Told by the Father/Son Team who Really Know. Running Press. pp. 53–56. ISBN 978-0762441648. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  21. ^ a b "TINSELTOWN TALKS: Joyce Bulifant recounts her life and career in "My Four Hollywood Husbands."". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  22. ^ Thomas, Nick. "Joyce Bulifant recounts Hollywood Ups and Downs". The Spectrum. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  23. ^ "Theatre World Award Recipients". Theatre World Awards. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  24. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars official website,; accessed August 15, 2017.
  25. ^ "Blissful Bride, Groom". Independent. California, Long Beach. Associated Press. November 3, 1958. p. 1. Retrieved January 3, 2017 – via open access
  26. ^ McNary, Dave (July 13, 2018). "Roger Perry, 'Star Trek' and 'Harrigan and Son' Actor, Dies at 85". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  27. ^ Newkirk, Barrett. "Dyslexia: 'Mary Tyler Moore' actress says the arts help". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  28. ^ Click, Carrie. "Actress plays leading role in battle against dyslexia". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  29. ^ "Foundation News | The Dyslexia Foundation". Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  30. ^ "Celebrity Ambassadors". Childhelp. Archived from the original on 2008-05-10.
  31. ^ "Childhelp, Inc". Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  32. ^ Holliss, Richard; Brian Sibley (1988). The Disney Studio Story. London: Octopus Books Limited. p. 202. ISBN 0-517-57078-5.
  33. ^ "Life of Brian named best comedy". BBC News. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  34. ^ Lambert, David. "The Bill Cosby Show - Budget-Priced 2-DVD Set with 'The Best of Season 1'". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  35. ^ Lambert, David. "Flo - Warner Archive Kisses Your Grits; Schedules Complete Series for Tuesday!". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2015.

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