Carolyn Sue Jones (April 28, 1930 – August 3, 1983) was an American actress of television and film. Jones began her film career in the early 1950s, and by the end of the decade had achieved recognition with a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Bachelor Party (1957) and a Golden Globe Award as one of the most promising new actresses of 1959. Her film career continued for another 20 years. In 1964, she began playing the role of matriarch Morticia Addams in the original 1964 black and white television series The Addams Family.
Carolyn Sue Jones
April 28, 1930
Amarillo, Texas, U.S.
|Died||August 3, 1983 (aged 53)|
|Resting place||Melrose Abbey Memorial Park Cemetery, Anaheim, California|
(m. 1950; div. 1951)
(m. 1953; div. 1964)
(m. 1968; div. 1977)
Carolyn Jones was born in Amarillo, Texas, the daughter of Chloe Jeanette Southern, a housewife, and Julius Alfred Jones, a barber. After her father abandoned the family in 1934, Carolyn and her younger sister, Bette Rhea Jones, moved with their mother into her parents' Amarillo home. Jones suffered from severe asthma that often restricted her childhood activities, and when her condition prevented her from going to the movies, she became an avid reader of Hollywood fan magazines and aspired to become an actress. She enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse in California at 17, with her grandfather, Charles W. Baker, paying her tuition.
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After being spotted by a talent scout at the Playhouse, Jones secured a contract with Paramount Pictures and made her first film, The Turning Point (1952). In 1953, she married aspiring filmmaker Aaron Spelling. She appeared in several episodes of Dragnet, credited as Caroline Jones in several episodes; had an uncredited bit part as a nightclub hostess in The Big Heat (1953), and a role in House of Wax (also 1953) as the woman who is converted by Vincent Price's character into a Joan of Arc statue. She played Beth in Shield for Murder (1954), earning $500 per day for playing the role.
Jones was cast in the film From Here to Eternity (1953) in the role of Alma "Lorene" Burke, which was written for her. A bout of pneumonia forced her to withdraw; the role earned Donna Reed the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Jones made her television debut on the DuMont series Gruen Playhouse in 1952. She appeared in two Rod Cameron syndicated series, City Detective and State Trooper, as Betty Fowler in the 1956 episode, "The Paperhanger of Pioche". She made five appearances on the crime drama series Dragnet, starring Jack Webb, between 1953 and 1955. Jones appeared on the CBS anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the episode "The Cheney Vase" (1955), as a secretary assisting her scheming boyfriend Darren McGavin in attempting an art theft, and opposite Ruta Lee.
She appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and in Alfred Hitchcock's remake of his own film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. In 1957, she had the lead in the episode "The Girl in the Grass" on CBS's Schlitz Playhouse, with once again Ray Milland and Nora Marlowe.
Jones guest starred three times on the television series Wagon Train: in first-season episode "The John Cameron Story" (1957) and in later color episodes "The Jenna Douglas Story" (1961) and "The Molly Kincaid Story" (1963). Also in 1963 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star - Female for portraying quintuplets and a psychopathic killer in the Burke's Law episode "Who Killed Sweet Betsy?"
In 1958, Jones was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Bachelor Party (1957), and she also shared the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress with Sandra Dee and Diane Varsi, and appeared with Elvis Presley in King Creole (1958).
Jones played opposite Frank Sinatra in Frank Capra's A Hole in the Head, Dean Martin in Career, and Anthony Quinn and Kirk Douglas in Last Train from Gun Hill (all 1959). She guest-starred in CBS's The DuPont Show with June Allyson, with James Best and Jack Mullaney, in the episode "Love on Credit" (1960).
In the epic Western, How the West Was Won (1963), she played the role of Sheriff Jeb Rawlings' (George Peppard) wife. She appears with Peppard and Debbie Reynolds in the final speaking/singing scenes of the film.
In 1964, using a long coal-black wig, Jones began playing Morticia Addams on the television series The Addams Family, a role which brought her success as a comedian and a Golden Globe Award nomination. She guest-starred on the 1960s TV series Batman, playing Marsha, the Queen of Diamonds, and in 1976 appeared as the title character's mother, Hippolyta, in the Wonder Woman TV series. In Tobe Hooper's movie Eaten Alive (1976), she played a madam running a rural whorehouse. The film also featured Neville Brand, Roberta Collins, and Robert Englund. Her last role was that of Myrna, the scheming matriarch of the Clegg clan, on the soap opera Capitol from the first episode in March 1982 until March 1983, though she already knew that she was dying of cancer. During her occasional absences, veteran actress Marla Adams subbed for her.
Personal life and illnessEdit
Her acting career declined after The Addams Family ended in 1966. Sporadic roles in the 1970s included that of Mrs. Moore, the wife of the plantation owner in the miniseries Roots.
Jones landed the role of the power-driven political matriarch Myrna Clegg in the CBS daytime soap opera Capitol in 1981. The following year, shortly after Capitol debuted, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, and played many of her scenes in a wheelchair. The cancer spread quickly to her liver and stomach. Despite the pain, Jones finished the first season.
Jones was married four times and had no children. While studying at the Pasadena Playhouse, Jones married Don Donaldson, a 28-year-old fellow student. The couple soon divorced. Jones was subsequently married to television producer Aaron Spelling from 1953 until their 1964 separation and divorce.
Her third marriage, in 1968, was to Tony Award-winning Broadway musical director, vocal arranger and co-producer Herbert Greene (who was her vocal coach); she left him in 1977.
In September 1982, realizing she was dying, Jones married her boyfriend of five years, actor Peter Bailey-Britton. She wore a lace and ribbon cap to hide the loss of her hair from chemotherapy.
Jones was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 1981 after experiencing recurring stomach problems, but continued to work while telling colleagues she was being treated for ulcers. After a period of apparent remission, the cancer returned in 1982. In July 1983, she fell into a coma at her home in West Hollywood, California, where she died on August 3, 1983. Her body was cremated on August 4 and a memorial service was held at Glasband-Willen Mortuary in Altadena, California, on August 5, 1983. Her ashes were interred in her mother's crypt at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park & Mortuary in Anaheim. She donated her Morticia costume and wig to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, while a collection of Addams Family scripts were donated by Bailey-Britton to UCLA.
|1952||The Turning Point||Miss Lillian Smith||Uncredited|
|1952||Road to Bali||Eunice||Uncredited|
|1953||The War of the Worlds||Blonde Party Guest||Uncredited|
|1953||House of Wax||Cathy Gray|
|1953||The Big Heat||Doris|
|1954||Make Haste to Live||Mary Rose|
|1954||The Saracen Blade||Elaine of Siniscola|
|1954||Shield for Murder||Girl at Bar|
|1954||Three Hours to Kill||Polly|
|1955||The Seven Year Itch||Miss Finch|
|1955||The Tender Trap||Helen|
|1956||Invasion of the Body Snatchers||Theodora 'Teddy' Belicec|
|1956||The Man Who Knew Too Much||Cindy Fontaine|
|1956||The Opposite Sex||Pat|
|1957||The Bachelor Party||The Existentialist||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1957||Johnny Trouble||Julie Horton|
|1957||Baby Face Nelson||Sue Nelson|
|1958||Marjorie Morningstar||Marsha Zelenko||Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress|
(with Sandra Dee and Diane Varsi)
|1959||The Man in the Net||Linda Hamilton|
|1959||Last Train from Gun Hill||Linda|
|1959||A Hole in the Head||Shirl|
|1960||Ice Palace||Bridie Ballantyne|
|1961||Sail a Crooked Ship||Virginia|
|1962||How the West Was Won||Julie Rawlings|
|1963||A Ticklish Affair||Tandy Martin|
|1969||Heaven with a Gun||Madge McCloud|
|1969||Color Me Dead||Paula Gibson|
|1976||Eaten Alive||Miss Hattie|
|1979||Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff||Beth|
|1952–1954||Mr. and Mrs. North||Various characters||3 episodes|
|1953–1955||Dragnet||Various characters||5 episodes; billed as Caroline Jones|
|1954||The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse||Karen Brook||3 episodes|
|1954–1955||Studio 57||Various characters||4 episodes|
|1955||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Pamela Waring||Episode: "The Cheney Vase"|
|1954–1957||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Various characters||4 episodes|
|1955–1957||The Millionaire||Carol Fletcher; Emily Short||2 episodes|
|1957–1961||Zane Grey Theater||Various characters||3 episodes|
|1957–1963||Wagon Train||Various characters||3 episodes|
|1961–1962||The Dick Powell Show||Various characters||3 episodes|
|1962||Dr. Kildare||Evy Schaller||Episode: "The Mask Makers"|
|1963–1964||Burke's Law||Richards quintuplets (1963); Carole Durand (1964)||2 episodes|
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star - Female (1963)
|1964–1966||The Addams Family||Morticia Addams; Ophelia Frump; Lady Fingers||64 episodes|
|1966–1967||Batman||Marsha, Queen of Diamonds||5 episodes|
|1969||The Mod Squad||Lisa Whittaker; Ginny||Episode: "Lisa"|
|1969||Storybook Squares||Morticia Addams||Series debut|
|1969||Love, American Style||Vera||Segment: "Love and the Geisha"|
|1971||The Men From Shiloh||Annie Spencer||Episode: "The Legacy of Spencer Flats"|
|1972||The New Scooby-Doo Movies||Morticia Addams||Voice,Episode: "Wednesday is Missing"|
|1972||Ghost Story||Martha Alcott||Episode: "The Summer House"|
|1974||Ironside||Justine Cross||2 episodes|
|1975||Kolchak: The Night Stalker||The Registrar||Episode: "Demon In Lace"|
|1976||Ellery Queen||Rita Radcliffe||Episode: "The Adventure of the Hardhearted Huckster"|
|1976–1977||Wonder Woman||Queen Hippolyta||3 episodes|
|1977||Roots||Mrs. Moore||Television miniseries|
|1977||Halloween with the New Addams Family||Morticia Addams; Ophelia Frump||Television film|
|1977||Little Ladies of the Night||Marilyn Atkins||Television film|
|1977–1981||Quincy, M.E.||Various characters||3 episodes|
|1979||The French Atlantic Affair||Peg||Television miniseries|
|1979||The Love Boat||Margaret Jerome||Segment: "Cindy"|
|1979–1982||Fantasy Island||Various characters||3 episodes|
|1980||The Dream Merchants||Vera||Television miniseries|
|1981||Midnight Lace||Bernadette Chance||Remake of 1960 feature film|
|1982||Capitol||Myrna Clegg||8 episodes; final acting role|
Awards and honorsEdit
|Year||Award||Category||Title of work||Result|
|1958||Academy Award||Best Supporting Actress||The Bachelor Party||Nominated|
|1959||Golden Globe Award||New Star of the Year – Actress||Marjorie Morningstar||Won|
|1963||Golden Globe Award||Best TV Star - Female||Burke's Law||Nominated|
- Pylant, James (May 27, 2007). "The Addams Family's Carolyn Jones: A Descendant of Geronimo?". Genealogy Magazine. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
- Birth Certificate
- Pylant, James (2012). In Morticia's Shadow: The Life & Career of Carolyn Jones. Jacobus Books. ISBN 978-0984185757.
- Stroder, Chris (2000). Swingin' Chicks of the '60s: A Tribute to 101 of the Decade's Defining Women. Cedco Publishing. ISBN 978-0768322323.
- Donnelley, Paul (2005). Fade To Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. New York City: Omnibus Press. p. 528. ISBN 978-1844494309.
She was one of the stars on the hit TV game show Match Game (1973).
- "1940 United States Census". Family Search. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- Pylant 2012, p. 36.
- Thise, Mark M. (2008). Hollywood Winners and Losers, A to Z. Limelight Editions. p. 97. ISBN 978-0879103514.
- "Carolyn Jones Is Dead at 50; A TV Actress". The New York Times. United Press International. August 4, 1983.
- Carolyn Jones at the Internet Broadway Database
- Weaver, Tom (January 10, 2014). A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers. McFarland & Company. p. 174. ISBN 978-0786458318.
- "Carolyn Jones and Marshall Thompson". Here's Hollywood. Episode 1.39. November 23, 1960. NBC.
- Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
- Del Vecchio, Deborah (December 19, 2012). Beverly Garland: Her Life and Career. McFarland & Company. p. 149. ISBN 978-0786465019.
- Schemering, Christopher (1988). The Soap Opera Encyclopedia. Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0345324597.
- Milwaukee Sentinel August 9, 1959 p.27
- Spelling, Aaron; Graham, Jefferson (1996). A Prime-Time Life: An Autobiography. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0312142681."Do you think you know film? The 'TCM Classic Movie Trivia' book has more than 4,000 questions to test your knowledge", Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2011.
- Bennett, Ray (April 28, 2015). "Why Carolyn Jones did not want to kiss Elvis Presley". The Cliff Edge. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
- Pylant 2012, p. 207.
- Pylant, James (2012). In Morticia's Shadow: The Life & Career of Carolyn Jones. Jacobus Books. ISBN 978-0984185757.
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