Saturday, December 29, 2007

R.I.P. in 2007: 50s TV Stars

Jane Wyman was a well regarded film actress who was among the first to make the transition to television drama. She appeared in various 50s anthologies such as General Electric Theatre, Lux Playhouse and Westinghouse Playhouse. She was a host on The Bell Telephone Hour before hosting her own anthology series, Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre. It allowed her to play a variety of roles. Later she did guest parts until landing the regular role of matriarch Angela Channing in a popular prime time soap of the 80s, Falcon Crest.
In a long and distinguished career, Kitty Carlisle Hart sang and acted on the stage and on film, then became a socially prominent advocate for the arts in New York. Though she sang in operas and operettas, boomers may remember her in Night at the Opera, starring the Marx Brothers. But she became most familiar as a regular panelist on the 50s quiz show, "To Tell the Truth," as well as a guest on other popular quiz shows of the day.
Tom Poston is also in that photo with Kitty Carlisle as a quiz show regular, though he was better known in the 50s for the expression in this photo--as one of the regulars on the Steve Allen Sunday show, especially the "Man in the Street" routine, for which he won an Emmy. In the 70s he was a recurring character on the Bob Newhart Show. He won several more Emmys there--and married Bob's "wife," Suzanne Pleshette. He had a recurring role on Mork & Mindy and did TV and movie guest parts until his death in 2007 at the age of 85.
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