Patterson on the set of F Troop, 1966
April 16, 1949|
Inglewood, California, U.S.
|Died||August 20, 2015
Hollister, Missouri, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||James MacArthur (1970–1975; divorced)
Robert Seaton (1976–1993; divorced)
Vern Miller (1998–2015; her death)
Melody Patricia Patterson (April 16, 1949 – August 20, 2015) was an American actress known for her role as Wrangler Jane in the 1960s television series F Troop, and for her role as Ellie in the cult horror film Blood and Lace (1971).
Patterson was the daughter of machinist Pat Patterson and the former Rosemary Wilson, an official in the Miss Universe contest. Her mother had been a dancer with Warner Bros., who "doubled for Joan Crawford in several films."
Patterson wrote and directed a play at age 5. Before turning 10 she had also been a photographer's model, an actress and an ice skater. In the ninth grade, she enrolled in the Hollywood Professional School. She continued her education in the Warner Bros. school while she acted on F Troop.
Patterson was 16 years old when she first appeared on F Troop, having obtained the role with the help of a forged birth certificate that indicated her age was 18. After the 1967 cancellation of F Troop, Patterson worked in television, radio, and the theater. She also appeared on Mr. Novak and Shindig! In the 1970s, she appeared in three episodes of Hawaii Five-O, and started modeling and making commercials.
Patterson's first screen appearance was an uncredited walk-on in Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Her first featured role was in the 1968 drama The Angry Breed. She also appeared in a lead role in the action film The Cycle Savages with Bruce Dern, followed by a leading part in the slasher film Blood and Lace (1971). In 1973, she appeared in a small part in The Harrad Experiment (1973). Her final film credit was in The Immortalizer (1990), a direct-to-video sci-fi horror film.
While living in Hawaii, Patterson found herself again onstage in the Butterflies Are Free, with Barbara Rush and Dirk Benedict. After that she appeared in other plays such as House of Blue Leaves, for the University of Hawaii, and played the part of Peggy in The Front Page written by Charles MacArthur, and directed by her husband James MacArthur.
Other activities in entertainment
Patterson entertained troops in Vietnam with the Johnny Grant Christmas tour and was a disc jockey for the Armed Forces Radio Service. She later wrote a column called "Wrapping with Wrangler" for Wildest Western Magazine.
In 1965, the Motion Picture and Television Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists group selected Patterson as one of 12 young actresses named "Deb Stars of 1966." She was nominated by the Warner Bros. studio.
From July 1970 to 1975, Patterson was married to actor James MacArthur, who was known for the role of Dan "Danno" Williams in the TV series Hawaii Five-O. During their marriage, she had to put her career aside to move to Honolulu, Hawaii. Later, she married musician Vern Miller.
Patterson died in a nursing home in Hollister, Missouri on August 20, 2015, at the age of 66. Multiple organ failure was the reported cause. Her F Troop co-star Larry Storch (Corporal Agarn) announced her passing on Facebook as follows: “It’s with a heavy heart that we can let you know our beloved Wrangler Jane, Melody Patterson passed away today. Our hearts are sad today. RIP Sweet Melody. We love you.”
|1963||Bye Bye Birdie||Teenager||Uncredited|
|1967||The Angry Breed||April Banner|
|1969||The Cycle Savages||Lea|
|1971||Blood and Lace||Ellie Masters|
|1973||The Harrad Experiment||Jeannie||Uncredited|
|1990||The Immortalizer||Nurse Jane|
|1965||Wendy and Me||Eleanor||1 episode|
|1965-67||F Troop||Wrangler Jane Angelica Thrift||65 episodes|
|1967||The Monkees||Ella Mae||1 episode|
|1968||Green Acres||Lorelei Appleby||1 episode|
|1969-74||Hawaii Five-O||Kathy / Sherry / Missy||3 episodes|
- Hayward, Anthony (October 30, 2010). "James MacArthur: Actor best known as Danno in 'Hawaii Five-0'". The Independent.
- Colker, David (August 28, 2015). "Melody Patterson dies at 66; played Wrangler Jane in western sitcom 'F Troop'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- "ABC's Melody Patterson Named '67 Queen Azalea". North Carolina, Lumberton. The Robesonian. March 16, 1967. p. 9. Retrieved January 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Thomas, Bob (January 21, 1966). "Little Bit Of Lying Big Aid To Melody Patterson". Pennsylvania, Indiana. The Indiana Gazette. p. 7. Retrieved January 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Colker, David. "Melody Patterson dies at 66; played Wrangler Jane in western sitcom 'F Troop'." Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2015.
- "The Angry Breed (1968) - Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Profile, wranglerjane.ne; accessed August 29, 2015.
- "James MacArthur guest at Pageant". Alaska, Fairbanks. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. March 11, 1972. p. 17. Retrieved January 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sar, Ali (November 21, 1965). "Two Valley Actresses Win Hollywood Deb Star Titles". California, Van Nuys. Valley News. p. 40. Retrieved January 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Slotnick, Daniel E. (August 27, 2015). "Melody Patterson, Wrangler Jane on 'F Troop,' Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
Melody Patterson, a winsome actress best known for playing Wrangler Jane on the sitcom “F Troop” in the 1960s, died on Aug. 21 in Hollister, Mo. She was 66.
- Staff (August 21, 2015). "F Troop Actress Melody Patterson Dies at 66". Variety. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "‘F Troop’ Actress Melody Patterson Dies at 66," Variety, August 21, 2015.
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