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Joan Ann Hackett (March 1, 1934 – October 8, 1983) was an American actress of film, stage and television.[1] She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress for the 1966 film The Group, and starred in the 1967 western Will Penny. She went on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and win the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1981 film Only When I Laugh. She also starred as Christine Mannon in the 1978 PBS miniseries version of Mourning Becomes Electra.

Joan Hackett
Joan Hackett 1969.JPG
Hackett in Support Your Local Sheriff! in 1969
Born Joan Ann Hackett
(1934-03-01)March 1, 1934
East Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 8, 1983(1983-10-08) (aged 49)
Encino, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Ovarian cancer
Resting place Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Occupation Actress
Years active 1959–1983
Spouse(s) Richard Mulligan
(m. 1966; div. 1973)


Early lifeEdit

She was born in New York City, the daughter of Mary (née Esposito); and John Hackett. She had a sister, Theresa, and a brother, John. Her mother was from Naples, Italy, and her father had Irish ancestry, and they reared her Roman Catholic and sent her to Catholic schools.[2][3][4]

Acting careerEdit

Hackett debuted in 1959 with the role of Gail Prentiss in the television series, Young Doctor Malone. In 1961 she won a Theatre World Award, an Obie Award for Best Actress, and a Drama Desk Award for her Off-Broadway portrayal of Chris in Michael Shurtleff's play Call Me By My Rightful Name.

She had a recurring role on the CBS legal drama The Defenders (1961–1965) as the fiancee of Kenneth Preston (played by Robert Reed), partner in the father-and-son law firm led by patriarch Lawrence Preston (E.G. Marshall). She appeared regularly in scenes with both lead actors. She had a leading role in The Twilight Zone episode "A Piano in the House". In the 1963–1964 season, she guest starred on the ABC drama about college life, Channing starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones.

Hackett had one of the starring roles in the 1966 Sidney Lumet film The Group, along with Candice Bergen, Larry Hagman, Richard Mulligan, Joanna Pettet and others.

One of her notable movie performances was the role of Catherine Allen, a young mother struggling to survive on the frontier, in the 1968 Western Will Penny, with Charlton Heston in the title role. Hackett also had notable parts in the classic Western comedy Support Your Local Sheriff!, with James Garner, and the 1973 murder mystery The Last of Sheila. After this she primarily had parts in TV movies and on episodes of TV series.

In 1978, she appeared in a PBS adaptation of Mourning Becomes Electra as Christine Mannon; her performance earned her some of the best reviews of her career. Clive James said that it entitled her to be called a great actress. The same year, she was a regular in the cast of the short-lived CBS situation comedy Another Day, portraying Ginny Gardner.

She appeared in the September 22, 1979, episode "Grass is Always Greener" of The Love Boat as Julie McCoy's former classmate from the line's cruise director course.

Hackett won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1981 movie Only When I Laugh, the last movie she made before her death. She could also be seen in Paul Simon's 1980 film One Trick Pony.

Personal lifeEdit

From 1966 to 1973 she was married to actor Richard Mulligan, who also appeared in The Group.


Crypt of Joan Hackett at Hollywood Forever

Hackett was diagnosed with cancer in 1983. She died of ovarian cancer on October 8, 1983, at Encino Hospital in Encino, California. Both of her parents and her former husband Richard Mulligan also died of cancer.

Her remains are interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where her epitaph reads: "Go Away — I'm Asleep".

Partial filmographyEdit

Selected television guest appearancesEdit

  • 1960 Diagnosis: Unknown, in "Gina, Gina" (episode 1.7) September 6
  • 1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents, playing "Sylvia" in episode: "Servant Problem" (episode #6.34) June 6
  • 1962 The New Breed (1961), playing Angie in episode: "Cross the Little Line" (episode #1.15) January 9
  • 1962 The Twilight Zone (1959), playing "Esther Fortune" in episode: "A Piano in the House" (episode # 3.22), February 16
  • 1962 Gunsmoke (1955), playing "Mady Arthur" in episode: "The Widow" (episode # 7.25), March 24
  • 1963 Combat! (1962), playing "Gabrielle" in episode: "The Chateau" (episode # 1.19), February 12
  • 1963 Empire (1962), playing Dolores Lanza in episode: "Between Friday and Monday" (episode # 1.31), May 7
  • 1964 Channing (1963), playing Djuna Phrayne in episode: "A Rich, Famous, Glamorous Folk Singer Like Me" (episode # 1.15), January 8
  • 1964 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962), playing "Helen Clarvoe" in episode: "Beast in View" (episode # 2.21), March 20
  • 1965 Bonanza (1959), playing "Margarita Miguel" in episode: "Woman of Fire" (episode # 6.17), January 17
  • 1966 Run for Your Life (1965), playing Diana Murrow in episode: "The Sex Object" (episode # 2.6), October 17
  • 1967 Judd, for the Defense (1967), playing Ruth Massey in episode: "The Living Victim" (episode # 1.14), December 15
  • 1969 Daniel Boone (1964), playing "Theodora Liggett" in episode: "A Pinch of Salt" (episode #5.26), May 1
  • 1971 Dan August (1970), playing Nancy Williams in "The Assassins" (episode # 1.26), April 8
  • 1971 Alias Smith and Jones, playing Alice Banion in "The Legacy of Charlie O'Rourke" (episode # 1.15)
  • 1972 Bonanza, playing Judith Corman in "Second Sight" (season 13, episode 16)
  • 1979 Trapper John, M.D. (1979) playing "Wilma" in episode: "The Surrogate" (episode # 1.10), December 23
  • 1979 Taxi, playing "Charlotte", the sister of "Alex Reiger" in episode: "Honor Thy Father" (season 2, episode 2) aired on 18 September 1979
  • 1982 Paper Dolls (1982), playing "Julia Blake" mother of teen model Taryn Blake


  1. ^ Obituary, Variety, October 12, 1983.
  2. ^ "The Palm Beach Post". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  3. ^ Mackay, Kathy. "One Oscar Bid Plus Two New Movies May Finally Equal Fame for Joan Hackett". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  4. ^ "Person Details for Joan Hackett, "California Death Index, 1940-1997"". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 

External linksEdit