Jean Byron

Jean Byron (born Imogene Audette Burkhart; December 10, 1925 – February 3, 2006) was an American film, television, and stage actress. She is best known for the role of Natalie Lane, Patty Lane's mother in The Patty Duke Show.[1] She was also known as Jean Audette[2] and Jean Burkhart[3] early in her career.

Jean Byron
Imogene Audette Burkhart

(1925-12-10)December 10, 1925
DiedFebruary 3, 2006(2006-02-03) (aged 80)
Other namesJeane Byron
Jean Audette
Jean Burkhart
Years active1952–1999
Michael Ansara (1922-2013)
(m. 1955; div. 1956)

Early lifeEdit

Byron was born in Paducah, Kentucky,[1] the daughter of Anna Gertrude (née Bastin; 1906 – 1988)[citation needed] and Edward Burkhart[2] (1892 – 1958). Her family moved to Louisville when she was still quite young, and then to California when she was 19 during World War II.

As a teenager, Byron tap danced and performed comedy. In the summer of 1939, she sang with a production company at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville.[4]


Byron sang on radio stations WGRC and WHAS, both in Louisville.[2] In 1939, she was one of two winners of the regional Gateway to Hollywood competition in Louisville, which enabled her to go to Hollywood to compete at the program's next level.[4] Byron sang on alternate days on Kentucky Karnival, a program that originated at WGRC beginning on August 30, 1943, and was distributed nationally via the Mutual Broadcasting System.[5]

She also sang with Tommy Dorsey's band, followed by a stint with Jan Savitt's group.[6] She then studied drama from 1947 to 1950, followed by a run with the Players Ring,[7] a theater group that did not pay well,[citation needed] but offered the performers needed exposure. There, in a play titled Merrily We Roll Along, she came to the attention of Harry Sauber, talent adviser for Sam Katzman. She was asked to read from the script and imitate a British accent, which she did. She got her union card then and there. When asked her name, she replied Imogene Burkhart. Katzman rejected that name, so she volunteered the stage name, Jean Byron, which she had already been using and which the Columbia Pictures brass found more palatable.[8][unreliable source?]

Byron's first film was Voodoo Tiger (1952).[9] In the 1950s, Byron appeared in several B-movies, including The Magnetic Monster and Serpent of the Nile, in addition to guest roles on The Millionaire, The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, Science Fiction Theatre, Fury, and Bourbon Street Beat. Byron also served as spokeswoman for Revlon and Lux products on NBC's The Rosemary Clooney Show.[10] She played Minnie in the syndicated TV series Mayor of the Town (1954).[11]: 671-672 

In 1959, Byron landed a semiregular spot on CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis playing Dr. Imogene Burkhart, her real name.[11] During her time on the show, she was cast in a spinoff pilot about Dobie Gillis' girlfriend, Zelda, where she would have played the girl's mother. However, the pilot was not picked up. In the show's final season, Byron convinced producers to allow her character to discard the plain, repressed appearance she presented, and show a more modern version of a schoolteacher.

The following year, she starred in the short-lived soap opera Full Circle.[11]: 371  In 1963, she won the role of Natalie Lane on The Patty Duke Show.[11]: 817  After the series ended in 1966, she continued appearing in guest roles on Batman, Marcus Welby, M.D., Maude, and Hotel.[10] She also was a regular on Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour (1970).[11]: 816 

Byron's last on-screen role was in the 1999 television movie The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights.[citation needed]

In addition to film and television roles, Byron worked in regional theater. She portrayed Mama Rose in Gypsy and appeared in a production of Guys and Dolls.[10]

Personal life and deathEdit

Byron was married to actor Michael Ansara[12] from 1955 to 1956. Some sources have it as 1949 to 1956. The couple had no children and Byron never remarried.[13]

On February 3, 2006, Byron died in Mobile, Alabama, of complications following hip replacement surgery.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1952 Voodoo Tiger Phyllis Bruce
1953 The Magnetic Monster Connie Stewart
Serpent of the Nile Charmion (Cleopatra's handmaiden)
1955 Jungle Moon Men Ellen Marsten
1956 There's Always Tomorrow Miss Byron, saleswoman Uncredited
Johnny Concho Pearl Lang
1959 Invisible Invaders Phyllis Penner
1963 Wall of Noise Mrs. Muriel Harrington
1969 Flareup Jerri Benton
1972 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Bookstore Owner Uncredited
Where Does It Hurt? Dr. Kincaid
1987 Valet Girls Edie Smegmite
1988 The Perfect Match Mom
1989 Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog Gallery Buyer
Year Title Role Notes
1954 City Detective Reesa
2 episodes
1955 The Millionaire Betty Jane Ryan/Bea Ryan 1 episode
The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin Irene Larrimore 1 episode
You Are There Caroline Lucas 1 episode
Science Fiction Theatre 2 episodes: "The Human Equation" and "The Long Day"
1956 My Friend Flicka Barbara Schuyler 1 episode
Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers Katherine Cheney 1 episode
State Trooper Claire Walden, Jean Burton, Beverly, Millie Marvin, and Stella Bender (1956-1959) 5 episodes
Science Fiction Theatre 2 episodes: "One Thousand Eyes" and "The Miracle Hour"
1957 The 20th Century Fox Hour Wilma Standish 1 episode
Cheyenne Fay Kirby, newspaperwoman Episode: "The Broken Pledge"
1958 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Miss Lewis 1 episode
Jefferson Drum Angela 1 episode
Yancy Derringer Dorinda Ashton 1 episode
Official Detective Lola Paul Episode: "Hired Killer"
1959 The Dennis O'Keefe Show Miss Diffendorf 1 episode
1959–1960 Bourbon Street Beat Martha Delastone, Grace Carvay 2 episodes: "The Taste of Ashes" and "Find My Face!"
1959–1963 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Dr. Imogene Burkhart 18 episodes
1960 77 Sunset Strip Claire Donaldson 1 episode
Hawaiian Eye Karen Ward 1 episode
Tightrope Marla Keel 1 episode
1961 Hennesey Gloria Grayson 1 episode
Bus Stop Helen Adamson 1 episode
1962 The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor Livona Hart 1 episode
1963–1966 The Patty Duke Show Natalie Lane 105 episodes
1968 Batman Mrs. Lindseed, Mayor's Wife 1 episode
1971 Columbo Pat 1 episode
Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. Koerner 1 episode
1972 McCloud Evelyn Reinhart 1 episode
Mannix Helen 1 episode
1974 Maude Housekeeper Applicant 1 episode
1975 S.W.A.T. Nurse Marlowe 1 episode
1981 The Brady Girls Get Married Mrs. Covington, Jan Brady's mother-in-law Television movie
1987 Hotel Dorothy Anderson 1 episode
1999 The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights Natalie Lane Television movie, (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "Jean Byron, 80; Actress Played Patty Duke's Mother on '60s TV Show". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. February 15, 2006. p. 12. Retrieved August 14, 2018 – via  
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-Louisvillian Imogene Burkhart Keeping Busy as Jean Byron on TV". The Courier-Journal. Kentucky, Louisville. October 2, 1955. p. 105. Retrieved August 14, 2018 – via  
  3. ^ Ladd, Bill (September 29, 1948). "Kentucky Loses a Pretty Girl to Hollywood". The Courier-Journal. Kentucky, Louisville. p. 7. Retrieved August 15, 2018 – via  
  4. ^ a b "2 Receive Hollywood Contracts For Screen-Radio Competition". The Courier-Journal. Kentucky, Louisville. September 16, 1939. p. 22. Retrieved August 14, 2018 – via  
  5. ^ Creason, Joe (August 30, 1943). "Lone Ranger Turns Gunman? Say Not So". The Courier-Journal. Kentucky, Louisville. p. 15. Retrieved August 15, 2018 – via  
  6. ^ "Burkhart Wins Feminine Lead". Hartford Courant. Connecticut, Hartford. August 10, 1952. p. 62. Retrieved August 15, 2018 – via  
  7. ^ Witbeck, Charles (July 30, 1962). "Actress Gets Jobs By Being Ladylike". Asbury Park Press. New Jersey, Asbury Park. p. 9. Retrieved August 15, 2018 – via  
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Paducah Star's Stage Name Accepted After Conversation". The Paducah Sun. Kentucky, Paducah. July 17, 1961. p. 43. Retrieved August 14, 2018 – via  
  10. ^ a b c d "Jean Byron". Variety. 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  11. ^ a b c d e Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  12. ^ "'Honest Gunslinger' Can't Outdraw Anybody". The Courier-Journal. Kentucky, Louisville. September 26, 1956. p. 9. Retrieved August 7, 2018 – via  
  13. ^ "Jean Byron - The Private Life and Times of Jean Byron. Jean Byron Pictures".


  • Parla, Paul; Charles P. Mitchell (2000). "Jean Byron: The Byronic Heroine". Screen Sirens Scream! Interviews with 20 Actresses from Science Fiction, Horror, Film Noir and Mystery Movies, 1930s to 1960s. Jefferson, N.C. and London: McFarland. pp. 21–34. ISBN 0-7864-0701-8.

External linksEdit