Joan O'Brien (born February 14, 1936) is an American actress and singer. She made a name for herself acting in television shows in the 1950s and 1960s and as a film co-star with Cary Grant, Elvis Presley, John Wayne, and Jerry Lewis.
O'Brien in a 1962 publicity photo
Joan Marie O'Brien
February 14, 1936
|Spouse(s)||Billy Strange (1954–1956) (divorced) 1 child|
John F. Meyers (1957–1960) (divorced) 1 child
Harvey Allen Godorov (1963–1964) (divorced)
Dino Kotopoulis (1966–1967) (divorced)
Lt. Col. Malcolm Bernard Campbell (1979–2004) (his death)
Joan Marie O'Brien was born to David and Rita O'Brien on Valentine's Day 1936, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The family moved to California when O'Brien was a child and enrolled her in dance classes when she was eight years old. O'Brien graduated from Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California.
O'Brien's singing abilities came to the attention of entertainer and Country Music Hall of Fame member Cliffie Stone, who hired her as a regular performer on his television show Hometown Jamboree before her high school graduation. In 1954, she became a regular on The Bob Crosby Show and stayed until shortly before the show's cancellation in 1958. She co-starred with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis in the 1959 film Operation Petticoat.
Lawrence Welk hired O'Brien as a one-week replacement for his champagne lady Alice Lon in July 1959. O'Brien had come to Welk's attention years earlier when she was a singer on Bob Crosby's show, but Welk decided not to hire her at that time because she was still a teenager.
O'Brien was cast as survivor Susanna Dickinson in John Wayne's 1960 epic feature film retelling of battle of The Alamo. That same year, O'Brien performed as a soloist for composer Buddy Bregman at the Moulin Rouge night club in Los Angeles. In 1961 O'Brien again co-starred with John Wayne as his love interest in The Comancheros.
Her most frequent acting performances were in television during the 1960s. She made two guest appearances on Perry Mason: in 1960 she played Betty Roberts in "The Case of the Singing Skirt", and in 1965 she played Jill Fenwick in "The Case of the Lover's Gamble". In 1964 O'Brien guest starred in an episode of The Man from UNCLE. Series star Robert Vaughn subsequently cast her as Ophelia in Hamlet at the Pasadena Playhouse.
|1949||Hometown Jamboree||Herself||as Joanie O'Brien|
|1954||The Bob Crosby Show||Herself||Regular performer|
|1955||The Easter Seal Teleparade of Stars||Herself||as Joanie O'Brien, singer|
|1957||Shower of Stars||Herself||as Joanie O'Brien|
|1958||M Squad||Marla Ross||The Take Over|
|1959||Riverboat||Sonja Torgin||The Fight Back|
|1959||Markham||Julia Conrad||We Are All Suspect|
|1959||Man Without a Gun||Ellen Duncan||Face of the Moon|
|1959||Bat Masterson||Dolores Clark||One Bullet from Broken Bow|
|1959||Bat Masterson||Dora Miller||Shakedown at St. Joe|
|1960||Bat Masterson||Eileen McDermott||High Card Loses|
|1960||Wagon Train||Candy O'Hara||The Candy O'Hara Story|
|1960||Cheyenne||Selma Dawson||Incident at Dawson Flats|
|1960||Wagon Train||Victoria||The Luke Grant Story|
|1960||The Westerner||Libby||The Courting of Libby|
|1960||The Islanders||Ann Brenner||The Terrified Blonde|
|1960||Lock-Up||Claudia Scott||Flying High|
|1960||The Deputy||Emily Price||Meet Sergeant Tasker|
|1960||The Chevy Mystery Show||Susan Hudson||Enough Rope|
|1960||Bronco||Judith Castle||La Rubia|
|1960||The Alaskans||Fay Campbell||Kangaroo Court|
|1960||Perry Mason||Betty Roberts||The Case of the Singing Skirt|
|1960||Bachelor Father||Janice McCleery||Kelly, the Matchmaker|
|1960||Bachelor Father||Janice McCleery||Dear Bentley|
|1961||Bachelor Father||Janice McCleery||Kelly's Graduation|
|1961||Surfside 6||Linda Faris||Jonathan Wembley Is Missing|
|1961||The Roaring 20's||Mona Fenton||No Exit|
|1961||Whispering Smith||Marilyn Manning||The Idol|
|1961||Adventures in Paradise||Lila Simmons||Wild Mangoes|
|1961||Bringing Up Buddy||Ruth Grayson||The Singer|
|1962||Rawhide||Melinda Stimson||The Pitchwagon|
|1962||Bus Stop||Julie||The Ordeal of Kevin Brooke|
|1962||Follow the Sun||Nita Parker||Annie Beeler's Place|
|1962||The Tall Man||The Impatient Brides|
|1962||Outlaws||Laurie||A Bit of Glory|
|1963||The Dick Van Dyke Show||Jane Leighton||The Foul Weather Girl|
|1964||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||Chris Brinel||The Green Opal Affair|
|1964||The Virginian||Joan||The Dark Challenge|
|1964||The Lieutenant||Ruth||Lament for a Dead Goldbrick|
|1965||Perry Mason||Jill Fenwick||The Case of the Lover's Gamble|
|1958||Handle with Care||Mary Judson|
|1959||Operation Petticoat||Lt. Dolores Crandall RN|
|1960||The Alamo||Susanna Dickinson|
|1961||The Comancheros||Melinda Marshall|
|1962||Six Black Horses||Kelly|
|1962||It's Only Money||Wanda Paxton|
|1962||We Joined the Navy||Lt. Carol Blair|
|1963||It Happened at the World's Fair||Diane Warren|
|1964||Get Yourself a College Girl||Marge Endicott|
- Lisanti, Tom (2001). Fantasy Femmes of 60's Cinema: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Biker, Beach, and Elvis Movies. McFarland & Company. pp. 27–39. ISBN 978-0-7864-0868-9.
- "Joan O'Brien Hired by Welk". The Milwaukee Journal. 19 July 1959.
- "Wayne's Alamo in Town on Nov 10". The Montreal Gazette. 29 October 1960. p. 42. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "On the Set of The Alamo". Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "Newcomer Joan O'Brien Wants Twin Success – Acting, Singing". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 30 October 1960. p. 39. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "Paramount to Open The Comancheros Friday". Youngstown Vindicator. 10 December 1961. p. 24. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "On the Esquire Screen". The Southeast Missourian. 26 April 1963. p. 7. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- Vaughn, Robert (2008). A Fortunate Life. Thomas Dunne Books. pp. 122–128. ISBN 978-0-312-37112-8.
- "Joan O'Brien to Sing with the James Band". St. Joseph Press-News. 12 June 1968. p. 12. Retrieved 30 June 2011.