Peggy Knudsen

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Peggy Knudsen
Peggy Knudsen 1956.JPG
Knudsen in 1956
Margaret Ann Knudsen

(1923-04-22)April 22, 1923
DiedJuly 11, 1980(1980-07-11) (aged 57)
Years active1940–1965
Spouse(s)Adrian P. Samish (1942–1946; divorced)
Jim Jordan (1949–1960; divorced)
Francis S. Kellstrom (1962–1962; divorced)

Margaret Ann "Peggy" Knudsen (April 22, 1923 – July 11, 1980) was an American character actress.

Early life[edit]

She was born Margaret Ann Knudsen in Duluth, Minnesota. Her father was Conrad Knudsen, Duluth's fire chief. Her ancestors were Irish and Norwegian.[2]



Knudsen made her Broadway debut in My Sister Eileen (1940).[3] She replaced Jo Ann Sayers, who had originated the role of a girl who couldn't decide whether to be an actress or get married. Finding herself in that situation in real life, Sayers married a naval officer. The show's producer saw Knudsen working in a stage door canteen and chose her to take over the role.[4]


Knudsen began her film career in 1946 in A Stolen Life opposite Bette Davis. (In a February 15, 1948, newspaper column, entertainment writer Louella Parsons quoted Knudsen saying, "My first picture was Shadow of a Woman with Helmut Dantine. I played his ex-wife." [2] That same year, she appeared in bit parts in several films including The Big Sleep and Humoresque with Joan Crawford.

In 1948, Knudsen ventured into a different genre of film, doing comedy instead of drama and leaving Warner Bros. to do freelance work. She also took vocal lessons from Kay Thompson.[2]

Despite appearing in big budget features with established stars, Knudsen's career never took off and she was relegated to smaller roles in B movies. Her last film role was in the 1957 film Istanbul with Errol Flynn.[5]


Knudsen played Lois Graves in the radio version of Junior Miss,[6] Karen Adams in Woman in White.[6]: 358  and Phillipa on The Bill Goodwin Show.[7]


Knudsen played April Adams in the comedy So This Is Hollywood on NBC (1955).[8] She also had roles in pilots for two programs – Do Not Disturb[8]: 266  and Howie[9] that did not develop into series.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Knudsen appeared in guest-starring roles on several television shows. She made two guest appearances on Perry Mason in 1958–1959; one as Sheila Bowers in "The Case of the Gilded Lily," and Marie Chapman in "The Case of the Spurious Sister." Other television appearances included Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Millionaire, Tombstone Territory, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (as 'Kansas Lily'), Pete and Gladys and three times on Bat Masterson (as "Louisa Carey" in 1959, as "Katie" in 1960 and as "Lottie Tremaine" in 1961). After appearing in an episode of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet in 1965, Knudsen retired from acting.

Personal life and death[edit]

Knudsen's first marriage was to Adrian Samish, a radio executive. The two eloped after Knudsen's June 1942 performance in My Sister Eileen and went to Media, Pennsylvania, to marry.[10] They divorced in 1946. On June 15, 1949, Knudsen married Jim Jordan Jr. in Los Angeles.[11] They had three daughters together. Jordan was the son of Jim and Marian Jordan, better known as Fibber McGee and Molly. The couple divorced in 1960. On February 12, 1962, Knudsen married Francis S. Kellstrom, an electrical contractor. They separated that July and were divorced October 22, 1962.[12]

She suffered from crippling arthritis for most of her later years and was cared for by her close friend, actress Jennifer Jones.[5] Her grandson is the Hollywood screenwriter John Orloff.

On July 11, 1980, Knudsen died of cancer in Encino, California.


For her contribution to the television industry, Knudsen has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6262 Hollywood Boulevard.[13]




  1. ^ "Peggy Knudsen - The Private Life and Times of Peggy Knudsen. Peggy Knudsen Pictures".
  2. ^ a b c Parsons, Louella (February 15, 1948). "Peggy Knudsen Goes Back To Comedy After Heavy Drama". Cumberland Sunday Times. Maryland, Cumberland. p. 21. Retrieved December 11, 2016 – via open access
  3. ^ "("Peggy Knudsen" search results)". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  4. ^ Barron, Mark (September 28, 1942). "Playwrights Capitalizing on Newcomers". Ogden Standard-Examiner. Utah, Ogden. Wide World. p. 9. Retrieved December 11, 2016 – via open access
  5. ^ a b Wollstein, Hans J. "Peggy Knudsen Biography". Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  6. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 185.
  7. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-10-11. The Bill Goodwin Show, situation comedy.
  8. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 987.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Lee (2015). Unsold Television Pilots: 1955-1989. Adventures in Television. ISBN 9781511590679. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Broadway Actress Elopes After Show". Mount Carmel Item. Pennsylvania, Mount Carmel. United Press. June 9, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved December 11, 2016 – via open access
  11. ^ "Marriages". Billboard. July 2, 1949. p. 54. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Peggy Knudsen Divorces Mate". The Indiana Gazette. Pennsylvania, Indiana. Associated Press. October 23, 1961. p. 12. Retrieved December 11, 2016 – via open access
  13. ^ "Peggy Knudsen". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 12 December 2016.

External links[edit]