Kathleen Nolan

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Kathleen Nolan
Nolan, Kathleen (FMC).jpg
Nolan in 2007
19th President of the Screen Actors Guild
In office
Preceded byDennis Weaver
Succeeded byWilliam Schallert
Personal details
Joycelyn Schrum

(1933-09-27) September 27, 1933 (age 86)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Spouse(s)Richard Steven Heckenkamp (1962-1965; divorced)
ChildrenSpencer Garrett
Nolan as Wendy in the original Broadway cast of Peter Pan starring Mary Martin (1954)

Kathleen Nolan (born Joycelyn Schrum, September 27, 1933) is an American actress. From 1957 to 1962, she played Kate McCoy, a housewife, in the ABC television series The Real McCoys.

Early years[edit]

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Nolan first appeared on stage on the showboat Goldenrod when she was 13 months old.[1] She acted on the showboat for 12 years.[2] Her family acted in tent shows and had their own troupe, the Circle Stock Company.[1] She graduated from high school in St. Louis and sang on a radio station there.[3]


On Broadway, Nolan played Wendy in the original production of the Styne-Comden-Green musical version of Peter Pan (1954–1955),[4] starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard,[5] a role she repeated in both the 1955 and 1956 live NBC-TV broadcasts on Producers' Showcase. The version which was widely re-broadcast on TV, which was then converted to videotape, does not feature Ms. Nolan because she was then deemed too old, and the filming process for the earliest versions was not translatable to video. However, one of the earlier black-and-white versions, with Ms. Nolan’s revelatory, irrepressible performance, can be viewed by appointment at New York’s Paley Center.

There is a story about Ms. Nolan’s having been discovered for Wendy. When she was an usher at the Palace Theatre for Judy Garland’s show, word got backstage to Ms. Garland that there was an usher (Ms. Nolan) who could recreate her entire performance. Ms Garland had, of course, never seen the show or her own staging, so she invited Ms Nolan to perform the entire show while she sat in the house. She must have been pleased; it was she who later recommended the girl to the Peter Pan creators.[6]

She played Amy in Love in E-Flat (1967).[4]

Beyond Broadway, she "did major summer and winter theater ..."[7]

Television and film[edit]

Nolan spent most of her career on television, making her debut in an episode of The Philco Television Playhouse.[1] She had a regular role as the teenaged cousin Liz in the 1953-1954 ABC sitcom Jamie, starring Brandon deWilde in the title role.[6]

Nolan made other appearances over the years on such series as Gunsmoke, The Lloyd Bridges Show, The Untouchables, Breaking Point, Crossing Jordan, Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, All My Children, Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls, Murder, She Wrote (1991 episode "The Prodigal Father"), Magnum, P.I. (episodes "The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii" (1981) and "Double Jeopardy" (1982) (last one in which Larry Pennell guest starred), The Incredible Hulk, Quincy M.E., The Love Boat, Charlie's Angels, The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Love, American Style, Bewitched, The Big Valley, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Thriller, Burke's Law, Meet McGraw, and Ben Casey.[6]

Nolan appeared with fellow guest star Michael Landon in the 1958 episode "Rose of the Rio Bravo" on the ABC Western series Tombstone Territory, starring Pat Conway and Richard Eastham. She also appeared on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood.

Nolan's best-known television role was as Kate, the wife of Luke McCoy (Richard Crenna), on the popular sitcom The Real McCoys. On February 23, 1961, she was thrown from a horse and injured during the filming of an episode. She then missed four months of work and was "in and out of the hospital many times" before returning to the series to perform in the episode broadcast on June 15, 1961.[8] Nolan left The Real McCoys prior to its final season (1962-1963). At the time, the series also switched networks from ABC to CBS. The time slot for The Real McCoys changed as well in the switch to CBS, moving from Thursday evenings to Sunday evenings opposite NBC's Bonanza. In the revamped storyline for the series, Nolan's character was said to have died.[6]

Nolan subsequently appeared on McHale's Navy, which resulted in her own spin-off series, Broadside, in which she led a strong cast that included Edward Andrews, Dick Sargent, Sheila James (in her last regular television series role), Lois Roberts, Joan Staley, George Furth, Arnold Stang, and Jimmy Boyd. Broadside had good ratings, but Universal Studios dropped the series after a single season.

Beyond television, she appeared as Burt Reynold's true love Claudia in his critically acclaimed 2017 film The Last Movie Star.


Nolan in 1980 received the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women "who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry".[9]

In 1959, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series for her work in The Real McCoys.[10]

Other activities[edit]

Nolan served for two terms as the first female president of the Screen Actors Guild[11] (1975–79). She also served on SAG's board of directors for a dozen years.[7]

She is a life member of the Actors Studio[12] and a recipient of the Women in Film Crystal Award. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Nolan to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Nolan married Richard Heckenkamp, a "personal manager for celebrities",[15] on November 4, 1962. They were divorced on May 19, 1965.[16] They had a son, Spencer,[2] born on September 19, 1963.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Lassen, Kurt (August 30, 1968). "Kathleen Nolan Plans Breather From Television". The Oil City Derrick. p. 10. Retrieved October 12, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  2. ^ a b Holloway, Tony (May 9, 1965). "Miss Nolan, Real McCoy, To Open Sullivan Season". The Pantagraph. p. 36. Retrieved October 12, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  3. ^ "Doctor Couldn't Fix but She Gets Along". The Austin Daily Herald. May 10, 1958. p. 32. Retrieved October 12, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ a b "Kathleen Nolan". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  5. ^ Kathleen Nolan at the Internet Broadway Database
  6. ^ a b c d Kathleen Nolan on IMDb
  7. ^ a b Sharbutt, Eve (December 17, 1972). "Actress seeks to change females' film image". The Post-Crescent. p. 35. Retrieved October 11, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. ^ Pearson, Howard (June 15, 1961). "Lippman Special, McCoys, Airport Show On TV". The Deseret News. p. D 11. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Past Recipients". Wif.org. Archived from the original on 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
  10. ^ "Awards Search: Kathy Nolan". Television Academy: Emmys. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  11. ^ Isenberg, Barbara (October 24, 1976). "Actress Is Arts Super-Lobbyist". Albuquerque Journal. p. 41. Retrieved October 11, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  12. ^ David Garfield (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of the Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co, Inc. p. 279. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
  13. ^ "Board of Directors". CPB. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  14. ^ https://library.cqpress.com/cqalmanac/document.php?id=cqal78-862-26430-1236161
  15. ^ a b "Actress Kathy Nolan Has Her First Child". Toledo Blade. September 20, 1963. p. 14. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Divorce to Actress Kathleen Nolan". The Kansas City Times. May 20, 1965. p. 2. Retrieved October 11, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access

External links[edit]