Beatrice Joan Caulfield (June 1, 1922 – June 18, 1991) was an American actress and former fashion model. After being discovered by Broadway producers, she began a stage career in 1943 that eventually led to signing as an actress with Paramount Pictures.
September 1941 McCall's Magazine cover image of Joan Caulfield
Beatrice Joan Caulfield
June 1, 1922
West Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||June 18, 1991 (aged 69)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Frank Ross1 son
(m. 1950; div. 1960)
Robert Peterson1 son
(m. 1960; div. 1966)
In the opinion of Ephraim Katz in The Film Encyclopedia, published in 1979, "For several years she was among Paramount's top stars, radiating delicate femininity and demure beauty but rarely much else."
During her teenage years, the family moved to New York City, where Joan eventually attended Columbia University.
While at Columbia, Caulfield was active in many plays presented by the university's drama group. She also ventured into being a model with the Harry Conover Agency and "became a favorite with top-drawer fashion magazines," with her pictures appearing in many national magazines, including being on the cover of Life magazine's May 11, 1942, issue.
She had a great success portraying the troublesome teenager Corliss Archer in the 1943 hit comedy play Kiss and Tell, also under the direction of Abbott. It was a huge success, running for 956 performances until 1945. After a year in the role, Caulfield left the production to pursue offers from Hollywood and she was replaced by her sister Betty Caulfield. (Shirley Temple would play Caulfield's role in the 1945 film version of Kiss and Tell.) Paramount offered her a contract which gave her six months off a year to do a play.
The film was not released for a number of months due to a backlog of films. Made after but released earlier was Duffy's Tavern (1945), in which Caulfield had a cameo along with most of Paramount's talent roster.
She was with Bing Crosby and Paul Draper in Blue Skies (1946). When original director Mark Sandrich died, Caulfield was pulled out of the film but Crosby insisted she stay. Eventually Draper was replaced with Fred Astaire. The result was a huge box office success. Caulfield waived her right to take time off to do stage work.
One of Caulfield's most memorable film roles was when she was loaned out to Warner Bros. to appear in The Unsuspected (1947) with Claude Rains and Audrey Totter. Caulfield, taking over a role intended for Virginia Mayo, was billed over Rains.
Universal borrowed her for a film noir, Larceny (1948).
Paramount offered Caulfield $100,000 for 40 weeks work but she walked out on it to do Voice of the Turtle and Coquette on stage on the east coast. She said she did this because "I want to become a really great actress one day," and felt she needed the experience from stage. "Actresses in the movies spend most of their acting time with the hairdresser and the costumer." She returned to Paramount to do a sequel to Dear Ruth, Dear Wife (1948).
Caulfield went to Columbia to make a musical with Robert Cummings, The Petty Girl (1950) which she said she did to change from the "sweet young thing" parts she did at Paramount. She said she intended on staying in Hollywood.
In the early 50s Caulfield began guest starring on televisio shows such as Robert Montgomery Presents, Lux Video Theatre, The Ford Television Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse and Hollywood Opening Night. She said she preferred working in television.
In 1953 she signed a contract with CBS. In the 1953 and 1954 seasons, she had co-starred with Barry Nelson (the original James Bond, albeit on television) in the television version of My Favorite Husband, which was based upon the Lucille Ball radio series that had evolved into I Love Lucy.
Being the subject of an episode of This Is Your Life in 1957 brought Caulfield to the attention of television executives. In the words of a newspaper writer, "She photographed so beautifully that the show was hardly over before she was being approached for television appearances."
During the 1957–1958 season, Caulfield starred in Sally, a short-lived situation comedy, in the role of a traveling companion to an elderly widow, played by Marion Lorne. At midseason, Gale Gordon and Arte Johnson joined the cast.
When the series ended Caulfield continued to guest star on shows like Pursuit, General Electric Theater, Hong Kong, Cheyenne, Burke's Law, and My Three Sons. She did stage shows like I Am a Camera and had the occasional role in a feature, such as Cattle King (1963), Red Tomahawk (1967) and Buckskin (1967).
In 1967, she starred in the TV series The High Chaparral as Annalee Cannon in the pilot episode. She was murdered in the episode and that was the premise for the whole plot.
She could be seen in the pilot for The Magician (1973), The Daring Dobermans (1973), The Hatfields and the McCoys (1975), The Space-Watch Murders (1975), Pony Express Rider (1976) and episodes of Baretta and Murder, She Wrote.
An urban legend states that Caulfield's film Dear Ruth (1947) inspired author J.D. Salinger to name the protagonist of his novel The Catcher in the Rye (1951) "Holden Caulfield" after seeing a movie theater marquee with the film's stars: Caulfield and William Holden. However, Holden Caulfield was mentioned in Salinger's short story "Last Day of the Last Furlough" in the July 15, 1944 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, three years before Dear Ruth. The earliest known use of the Caulfield name, including a mention of Holden, is in the unpublished 1942 story "The Last and Best of the Peter Pans." A more common version of the legend claims that Salinger was taken by Joan Caulfield upon first seeing her in a modeling photo or a publicity still or an acting performance. Since Joan was a leading model by 1941 and her acting career began in 1942 with an appearance in the short-lived Broadway musical Beat the Band, this version of the legend makes his using her surname for his character at least possible.
In 1950, Caulfield married the film producer Frank Ross, with whom she had a son, Caulfield Kevin Ross (b. 1959). Ross produced and directed her 1951 film The Lady Says No, with David Niven taking second billing as her romantic interest.
Caulfield was in a bad car accident in 1959. Caulfield separated from Ross - she blamed the stress of working on Sally - then she found out she was pregnant. Ross and Caulfield were divorced in 1960.
At the time of her death, she had one grandchild. She died within 24 hours of actress Jean Arthur, the first wife of her husband Frank Ross. Arthur had been married to Ross in 1932, and they divorced in 1949.
- Duffy's Tavern (1945) as Joan Caufield
- Miss Susie Slagle's (1946) as Margaretta Howe
- Monsieur Beaucaire (1946) as Mimi
- Blue Skies (1946) as Mary O'Hara
- Dear Ruth (1947) as Ruth Wilkins
- Welcome Stranger (1947) as Trudy Mason
- The Unsuspected (1947) as Matilda Frazier
- Variety Girl (1947) as Herself
- The Sainted Sisters (1948) as Jane Stanton
- Larceny (1948) as Deborah Owens Clark
- Dear Wife (1949) - Ruth Seacroft
- The Petty Girl (1950) as Prof. Victoria Braymore
- The Lady Says No (1951) as Dorinda Hatch
- The Rains of Ranchipur (1955) as Fern Simon
- Cattle King (1963) as Sharleen Travers
- Red Tomahawk (1967) as Dakota Lil McCoy
- Buckskin (1968) as Nora Johnson
- The Daring Dobermans (1973) as Claudia
- Pony Express Rider (1976) as Charlotte
- Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee. p. 218. ISBN 0399506012.
- New York Times, Glenn Fowler (20 June 1991). "Joan Caulfield, A Film Actress, Is Dead at 69". Retrieved October 23, 2007.
- Obituaries Today. "Joan Caulfield, Actress".
At Miss Beard’s, a local private school, Joan made her stage debut in A Kiss for CinderellaAccessed October 23, 2007
- Moss, Ruth (20 October 1963). "She Proves the Blind Can Lead the Blind!". Chicago Tribune. p. 5–2. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Joan Caulfield To Shine At Hayloft". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. 23 July 1972. p. 80. Retrieved September 30, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Model Becomes Broadway Actress". Life. April 12, 1943. p. 46. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Joan Caulfield". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Picture Plans The Christian Science Monitor 3 July 1944: 4.
- "60 Top Grossers of 1946". Variety. 8 January 1947. p. 8,46.
- Los Angeles Times, Hedda Hopper (20 October 1946). "Joan Caulfield Keeps Cool: Neither Failure Nor Success Fazes Her". p. B1.
- Joan Caulfield. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill] 2 May 1948: f2
- Kanin to Produce 'Art of Murder': First Independent Films Will Be Released by U-l -- Curtiz Borrows Joan Caulfield. By Thomas F. Brady. New York Times. 4 Jan 1947: 11.
- New York Times, Thomas Brady (24 January 1947). "Fox to Make Film of Chicago Women". p. 18.
- Los Angeles Times, John L Scott (6 June 1948). "Joan Caulfield Tosses Off $100,000 Film Contract to Make Stage Tour: Starlet Joan Caulfield to Go on Stage". p. B1.
- Los Angeles Times, John L Scott (18 Sep 1949). "Sweet Little Joan Caulfield Now Playing Sophisticated 'Petty Girl'". p. D1.
- Los Angeles Times, E J Strong (24 September 1950). "Sweet Joan Caulfield Heeds Call to Try Talent as Comedienne: Joan Caulfield Trading Sweet Roles for Comedy". p. D1.
- Los Angeles Times, Walter Ames (26 December 1952). "Joan Caulfield Is Real TV Convert; Benny Opposes Any Format for Air Show". p. 18.
- "A Style Show With Joan Caulfield". The Times. 6 July 1957. p. 11. Retrieved September 30, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Joan Caulfield Gets Wish". The Washington Post (1923-1954). 8 Nov 1953. p. L4.
- Los Angeles Times (12 August 1955). "Joan Caulfield Quits TV for Theater Films". p. B5.
- "Sally". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- Frank – A Family Affair: Movie Man and Wife, Joan Caulfield, Turn To TV With 'Sally' Separate Drawbacks. By Oscar Godbout. New York Times 25 August 1957: 123.
- Joan Caulfield; Actress in TV and Movies: [Home Edition]. Folkart, Burt A. Los Angeles Times. 19 June 1991: 20.
- "Joan Caulfield". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Saturday Evening Post, July 15, 1944
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-25. Retrieved 2010-02-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Richler, Mordecai. "Summer Reading; Rises at Dawn, Writes, Then Retires", The New York Times, June 5, 1988. Accessed October 23, 2007. "We are told, for instance, that the name Holden Caulfield probably came from joining the name of a boyhood friend called Holden to that of the movie actress Joan Caulfield, on whom Mr. Salinger once had a crush."
- William H. Honan "Shylock To Sherlock A Study In Names", The New York Times, February 9, 1997. Accessed October 23, 2007. "J. D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, he said, resulted from the writer's combining the last names of a friend named Holden and the actress Joan Caulfield."
- Beat the Band
- Joan Caulfield to Wed. The Washington Post. 28 Feb 1950: 6.
- Chicago Tribune, Vernon Scott (6 December 1959). "Joan Caulfield, Real Life Soap Opera Heroine". p. 3D. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- New York Times (17 Mar 1959). "Joan Caulfield Seeking Divorce". p. 40.
- Joan Caulfield, Real Life Soap Opera Heroine. Vernon, Scott. Chicago Daily Tribune. 6 Dec 1959: nD.
- Joan Caulfield Divorces Film Producer Ross. Los Angeles Times 10 April 1959: 2.
- Joan Caulfield Rewed New York Times. 25 November 1960: 30.
- Joan Caulfield Given Divorce. New York Times. 20 May 1966: 38.
- Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers
- Memorial Rite for Joan Caulfield Slated Sunday. Los Angeles Times. 21 June 1991: OCA28.
- Anderson, Nancy (January 24, 1975). "Trappings of stardom tempted Joan Caulfield". Valley Morning Star. p. 16. Retrieved October 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Johnson, Erskine (August 1, 1949). "'New' Joan Caulfield Has Curvaceous Petty Girl Role". Dixon Evening Telegraph. p. 7. Retrieved September 30, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Lux Star". Harrisburg Telegraph. October 19, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved September 29, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.