Noreen Corcoran

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Noreen M. Corcoran
Noreen Corcoran 1961 (cropped).jpg
Corcoran in a promotional picture for Bachelor Father (1961)
Born (1943-10-20)October 20, 1943
Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died January 15, 2016(2016-01-15) (aged 72)
Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cardiopulmonary disease
Alma mater California State University
Occupation Actress, dancer, singer
Years active 1951–1965

Noreen M. Corcoran (October 20, 1943 – January 15, 2016) was an American actress, dancer, and singer best known for her co-starring role in the television sitcom Bachelor Father, as the teenager Kelly Gregg, the niece of wealthy attorney Bentley Gregg, played by John Forsythe.

Early life[edit]

Corcoran was the third of eight children born in Quincy, Massachusetts, to William "Bill" Corcoran, Sr. (1905–1958), and the former Kathleen McKenney (1917–1972). In 1947, the Corcorans moved to Santa Monica, California, where the father became the maintenance chief at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The Corcoran children studied dramatics or dance as a means to launch potential acting careers. During the 1950s, Noreen's younger brother Kevin Corcoran gained fame in the role of Moochie on Walt Disney's The Adventures of Spin and Marty with Tim Considine and David Stollery, and in the serial Moochie of the Little League on Walt Disney Presents. Several of Noreen and Kevin's siblings, including Kelly (1958-2002), were actors.[1]

After going to Notre Dame Academy and Providence High School,[2] Corcoran attended California State University from 1962 to 1964 but did not graduate.

Acting career[edit]

Corcoran's screen debut was a small role in the emotional film, Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie at 20th Century Fox. She was next cast in the MGM musical I Love Melvin in 1953.[3] More roles followed, including the role of "Anna," the girl who was granted another birthday in "Tusitala," 1953 "Young Bess" as Princess Elizabeth as a child, a 1955 Four Star Playhouse production starring David Niven as Robert Louis Stevenson, Band of Angels in 1957, and television appearances in Circus Boy, starring Micky Dolenz, later of the singing group The Monkees. Noreen also had a part in the short-lived series The World of Mr. Sweeney with Charles Ruggles.[4]

In 1957, future U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, who was working at the same studio on his General Electric Theater on CBS, viewed the screen tests for Bachelor Father and recommended Corcoran to John Forsythe for the part of Kelly. In the show, Kelly (Corcoran) is orphaned at thirteen when her parents are killed in an automobile accident and she is then adopted and reared by her bachelor Uncle Bentley (Forsythe) in well-to-do Beverly Hills, California.[5]

As a popular young actress, Corcoran made the cover of numerous magazines. Slowly before the viewers' eyes, she seemed to grow from a somewhat awkward teenager into a sophisticated young woman. Kelly had enrolled in the same college Bentley attended and was a freshman there during the series final season (1961-1962). In mostly season 1 & 2 story lines, Kelly often acted as an unwelcome matchmaker for her Uncle Bentley.[4]

A year after the completion of Bachelor Father (1963), Corcoran achieved some musical success as her single recording of "Love Kitten" reached #142 in Music Vendor (October 1963).

In 1963, Corcoran played a supporting role in Paul Wendkos' Gidget Goes to Rome[6] and starred in William Witney's The Girls on the Beach, an attempt by Paramount Pictures to compete in the "Beach Party" genre of films, which had been particularly successful for Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. The movie featured performances from the popular singer Lesley Gore, The Beach Boys, and The Crickets (after the death of Buddy Holly).

Corcoran guest-starred in two similar television series, NBC's Mr. Novak[7] with James Franciscus and ABC's Channing with Jason Evers.[8] She guest starred at this time on the ABC drama series, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly. In 1964, she was cast as Alice Lang in NBC's medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour in the episode "You're So Smart, Why Can't You Be Good?"[9] Then she appeared in two westerns, CBS's Gunsmoke with James Arness in the 1964 episode "Owney Tupper Had a Daughter" with fellow guest star Jay C. Flippen, and ABC's The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck. In the latter, she played "Sharon" in a 1965 episode entitled "The Brawlers".[10]

Later years[edit]

Noreen Corcoran left acting for a private career[11] behind the scenes in theatre arts and dance. In 1966, she began an 11-year association with the Lewitzky Dance Company, which was opened that year by the renowned choreographer Bella Lewitzky. Corcoran retired in 2004.

She never married. She maintained contact with her friend and mentor John Forsythe until his death.[12]


On January 15, 2016, Corcoran died of cardiopulmonary disease at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California, at age 72.[13] She was survived by two sisters, Donna and Kerry, and a niece.[13]


  1. ^ "Noreen Corcoran profile". imdB. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Noreen Corcoran Growing Up ..." Pennsylvania, Titusville. The Titusville Herald. December 3, 1960. p. 8. Retrieved March 30, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ "Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds Sing and Dance In Technicolor Musical". Indiana, Valparaiso. The Vidette-Messenger. May 25, 1953. p. 11. Retrieved March 30, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Noreen Corcoran profile". Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  5. ^ Noreen Corcoran biography,; accessed January 16, 2016.
  6. ^ Noreen Corcoran profile,; accessed January 16, 2016.
  7. ^ "Worried". California, Fresno. The Fresno Bee The Republican. April 5, 1964. p. 143. Retrieved March 30, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Campus Scandal". Illinois, Decatur. The Decatur Herald. September 25, 1963. p. 15. Retrieved March 30, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ "(TV listing)". Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Ottawa Journal. January 18, 1964. p. 55. Retrieved March 30, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ Noreen Corcoran profile,; accessed January 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Marks, Michele (June 11, 1989). "Ask Michele". California, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 172. Retrieved March 30, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ {{|url=}}
  13. ^ a b "Noreen Corcoran, the Adopted Niece on TV's 'Bachelor Father', Dies at 72". Hollywood Retrieved January 16, 2016. 

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