Following up on the preceding post about the groundbreaking 1950’s TV series Decoy, starring Beverly Garland:
A trouper playing mostly tough women in small film roles as well as a reliably hard-working television actor, Beverly Garland (born Beverly Fessenden 1926 – 2008) may have been an unlikely choice to play New York City Police Officer Casey Jones in the groundbreaking 1957-1958 series Decoy, which was not only the first show to feature a police woman as the series lead, but actually the first full-season dramatic series with a female lead…period.
Few know of Garland’s work in what was really a revolutionary, though now largely forgotten, series. Most know Beverly Garland either for her parts in several campy low-budget science fiction films like The Alligator People and Not of This Earth, up against some of 1950’s sci-fi’s most ridiculous monsters, or stranger still, as one of television’s most familiar suburban mom’s. Garland played Fred MacMurray’s wife in over 70 episodes of My Three Sons between 1969 – 1972, then the mother in several episodes of Remington Steele, mother to former Charlie’s Angels star Kate Jackson in 88 episodes of The Scarecrow And Mrs. King from 1983 – 1987, then mother to Terri Hatcher’s Lois Lane in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in 1995 – 1997, and a mother on 9 episodes of 7th Heaven. That’s a lot of mom’s for someone who started out playing boozy broads and B-girls, and nabbed her first film role (under the name Beverly Campbell) in the noir-classic D.O.A.
In a way, Beverly Garland’s memory lives on not only in her film and television work, but also in the property she and long-time husband Fillmore Crank developed, The Beverly Garland Hotel, still in operation as “The Garland”, a popular luxury boutique hotel in North Hollywood, and frequently used as a film-friendly location site.