The Girls of Television's "It Takes A Thief"

What follows is my humorous take on this shockingly unexplored topic. While today this show seems a bit lame, its first two seasons followed the wonderful tradition of 1960's action/adventure/spy shows by casting a different hot young starlet in each episode (except episodes 1.12, 2.11, 2.12, 2.14 & 2.15). This is a list of these actresses in vague order of hotness and watchability in their specific episode(s) of the first TWO seasons. Actresses from the third season are not included as the show went strangely gay for its "final season", largely replacing this practice with evocative shots of Robert Wagner.
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1.
Robert Wagner
Robert John Wagner, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Thelma Hazel Alvera (Boe), a telephone operator, and Robert John Wagner, Sr., a traveling salesman. His paternal grandparents were German and his maternal grandparents were Norwegian. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was seven. Always wanting to be an actor...
“ Lucky guy! It Takes a Thief ” - aimless-46
 
2.
“ My personal favorite complete package of the late 60's. Great face, great body, and enough effortless likability to make you think she found the whole sex symbol thing amusing and did not take herself too seriously. In episode 2.22 she plays an SIA agent posing as a stripper/dancer. She also has a hot dance number in Ride to Hangman's Tree. ” - aimless-46
 
3.
“ If you talk to long-time fans of the series, Amy's appearance would rank as the most memorable and episode 2.9 as the favorite episodeIt Takes a Thief: A Case of Red Turnips (#2.9). Amy plays an Eastern European agent who Al hires as a temporary secretary, replete with glasses and severe hair style, but wearing a mini-skirt that is tight enough above the waist to effectively show off her enormous talents. In the series' most memorable segment Al ties her up with the phone cord and gags her, she is dressed in a harem costume for the masked ball they are to attend. After a lengthy departure kiss from Al, the bound beauty slowly wiggles off the couch and across the floor to plug in the phone and call for assistance. ” - aimless-46
 
4.
Joey Heatherton
A gorgeous, pneumatic blonde rival to pouty sex kitten Ann-Margret, singer/dancer/actress Joey Heatherton was also a product of the swinging 60s and taunted the film and TV variety scenes with her own version of a purring young sexpot. Born in 1944 as "Davenie Johanna Heatherton" and the daughter of veteran song-and-dance man Ray Heatherton (1909-1997)...
“ Rarely does anyone come along with this much sensual power. Her appearance in the 2nd season double episode "A Matter of Grey Matter" was near the end of Joey's decade but she still had it. ” - aimless-46
 
5.
“ Tanya appears to have made a career out of playing belly dancers on television. In episode 2.24 she plays Miss Greece, a contestant in an international beauty pageant; her talent - belly dancing. She is also a very bad girl and is trying to sell a micro dot that Al is tasked with acquiring. Tanya is extremely erotic, especially if you go for the Mediterranean type. If that's not enough, this is the kinkiest episode of the entire series as Al (hiding in her closet) and the viewing audience engage in a bit of voyeurism in a elaborate segment showing Miss Greece preparing for bed, including sit-ups in her negligee. Then he hovers over the sleeping Miss Greece for a while, has a lengthy fight with her, punches her out, and binds her with her own beauty pageant sash. Which easily puts this girl into this list's top 5. All of this makes you wonder if the show would still be in production 40 years later had they been this erotically imaginative in other episodes. ” - aimless-46
 
6.
“ Tisha Sterling definitely makes the top five of actresses appearing in the series. Tisha (Ann Sothern's daughter) has some great close-ups in 1968 episode (1.10) and speaks with a French accent. It includes a lengthy segment where Al preys on her while she is in bed asleep, which was perhaps the show's favorite erotic device. My favorite face of the era, you can see the family resemblance although I think Tisha was just a bit prettier than her mother. She was in her prime at the time of this appearance, which was between her Legs Parker role on "Batman" and southern home front beauty Airybelle Sumner in "Journey to Shiloh". As a bonus this episode features a kinky fencing match between Al and the lovely Eva Monty. ” - aimless-46
 
7.
Susan Saint James
Actress, Kate & Allie
Susan Saint James was a lovely and loony TV successor to Shirley MacLaine, her mildly kooky and clumsy free spirits came into vogue in the "free love" era of the late 60s. Saint James was born Susan Jane Miller in Los Angeles, California, to Constance (Geiger), a teacher, and Charles Daniel Miller, a businessman...
“ What can you say? Susan was the closest thing to a female co-star the show ever had. Her classic appearance was in 1968 episode 1.7, again playing distaff thief Charlie Brown. In this episode she impersonates a jet setter wearing Mary Quant fashions. She knocks the girl out and drags her into the hotel bathtub. Both are wearing thigh high white boots if that’s your idea of a good time. She also looks quite fetching wearing a flight attendant uniform in the series premier (1.1). ” - aimless-46
 
8.
“ In 1968 episode 1.4 Katherine Crawford assists Al in an Embassy burglary. The series was big on the repressed girl fantasy, someone who is wrapped a bit too tight until Al liberates her playful side. This is arguably the hottest "repressed girl" appearance of the series and easily makes the top ten. There is a great sequence where she is putting on lipstick in front of the security camera with some great close-ups. Later she uses judo on one of the bad guys. Nice chemistry with Wagner. Katherine also appeared in episode 1.8 as the same character. Unfortunately this time her character seems to have regressed and is exasperated instead of sexy and fun. Definitely a misstep by the episode director. Secondary eye candy is provided by Barbara Rhoades and two other actress, they play photographer's models. ” - aimless-46
 
9.
“ The first international supermodel, Parker appears in 1968 episode 1.3. Tall and thin, with a perfect face (despite being a bit past her prime) she gets a lot of screen time. Al knocks her out and carries her around like a rag doll for most of the episode, an effective way to mask her limitations as an actress. Even unconscious, she looks elegant in evening wear. While perhaps not in the top five, she easily makes the series top 10. ” - aimless-46
 
10.
Celeste Yarnall
Actress, Star Trek
Celeste Yarnall is an amazing woman of many talents who has been very successful in a diverse number of fields. There appears to be nothing she cannot do when she puts her mind to it. Apart from her initial career as model, spokesperson and actress, Celeste has also managed several talented screenwriters...
“ (episode 1.14). Celeste is the only one of these actresses to approach the almost perfect beauty of Barbara Bouchet, the most physically dazzling actress of the decade. Unfortunately the ultra-elegant young Bouchet did not grace an episode of this show, for anyone interested she can be seen as transcendent beauty Narcissus Darling in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Project Deephole Affair (#2.26). As well as in several U-Tube tributes. ” - aimless-46
 
11.
“ Miko was another of the show's hot actresses who had appeared on "Star Trek" Star Trek: A Taste of Armageddon (#1.23) a couple years earlier. In episode 2.9 It Takes a Thief: A Case of Red Turnips (#2.9) she plays a Red Chinese agent named Joy Sung who is attending a film festival to acquire footage that compromises several SIA agents. Her main segment is at a masked ball in which she is costumed as a playboy bunny, her most erotic scene is a kiss during which Al disarms her. This was the famous Amy Thomson episode and while Miko was icing on the cake she was sexy enough to be a worthy contender for the series top ten. ” - aimless-46
 
12.
“ Yow!! The ultimate blonde sweater girl; twenty years old and 39-24-36 at the time she appeared in episode 2.6. Lots of screen time in a tight sweater dress It Takes a Thief: The Packager (#2.6). ” - aimless-46
 
13.
Julie Newmar
Julia Chalene Newmeyer (Chalane was her mother's maiden name) was born on August 16, 1933 in Los Angeles, California. Her father was a one-time professional football player (LA Buccaneers, 1926), her mother was a star of the Follies of 1920. From an early age, Julie studied piano, dance and classical ballet...
“ Although she looks great and gets tied up by Al, the wardrobe people make her look like she had come from a road show performance of "The Grapes of Wrath". The unimaginative and unflattering clothes drop her a few spots. ” - aimless-46
 
14.
Sharon Acker
Although she was presented in 1969 the first Film Star of Tomorrow by The Motion Picture Exhibitors of Canada, the status of Sharon Acker as a star never materialized. Not that she was inactive, quite the opposite, but she worked almost only for TV and appeared only in a few undistinguished movie films...
“ One of the show's favorite titillation devices was the fantasy of the mousey librarian type transformed by Al into a hot fox; letting down her hair and taking off her glasses she becomes a dreamy femme fatale. Acker did the best one of these in the series for episode 2.4. Basically playing the same sort of character Rosemary Forsyth had played in episode 1.9, although Forsyth did not do the transformation part. Acker looks remarkably plain and then remarkably hot; the contrast is amazing and vaults her performance into the Top 20. Apparently the producers were likewise impressed because her character returned for two additional episodes. Sharon is probably best known for her exceptional Star Trek appearance in 1966 Star Trek: The Mark of Gideon (#3.16). ” - aimless-46
 
15.
Yvonne Craig
Actress, Batman
Yvonne Joyce Craig was born on May 16, 1937 in Taylorville, Illinois. As a young teenager, Yvonne showed such promise as a dancer that she was accepted to Denham's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her training progressed until she left the company in 1957 over a disagreement on casting changes. She moved to Los Angeles hoping to continue her dancing...
“ Yvonne and her Batgirl costume benefited from each other, and she is a bit of a disappointment without it. Plus she was beginning the classic post 30 fade, which hit her almost overnight in 1968 - not every actress has the staying power of Heather Graham. In episode 2.3 she appears as the daughter of a magician, and the assistant in his magic act. Unfortunately the magician is Robert Wagner, who was only seven years older than Yvonne and looks younger than her. Still she does have a segment where she is dressed in a showgirl costume which she fills out quite nicely. Also one of the girls with a Star Trek connection Star Trek: Whom Gods Destroy (#3.14). ” - aimless-46
 
16.
Ina Balin
Brooklyn-native actress Ina Balin (née Rosenberg) was born on November 12, 1937, into a Jewish family of entertainers. Her father, Sam Rosenberg, was a dancer/singer/comedian who worked the Borscht Belt. He later quit show business to join his family's furrier business. Her mother was a Hungarian-born professional dancer who escaped a troubled family life by marrying at age 15...
“ (see Eve Plumb episode 1.13 below) ” - aimless-46
 
17.
Eve Plumb
Eve Plumb, the actress and painter most famous for playing the role of Jan on The Brady Bunch, began acting professionally in 1966, appearing in TV commercials. The child actor began getting parts on series television in 1967. Her place in TV history was cemented when she landed the role of Jan Brady...
“ A "pre - Jan Brady" Eve is in episode 1.13 and demonstrates why a couple years into the future she would make the acting of her Brady Bunch cast-mates look weak in comparison. Eve is too young for this list and in this episode the sizzle comes from Ina Balin; best known as Stuart Whitman's kick-ass love interest in "The Comancheros" (1961). Ina plays a double agent that Al ties up just before pulling off the main caper. Funny how much hotter she looks after it is revealed that she is one very bad girl. As for Eve, it's nice to see that the IMDb now has a better picture for display on her page. ” - aimless-46
 
18.
Suzanne Pleshette
Suzanne Pleshette achieved television immortality in her role as Bob Newhart's wife in the 1970s classic situation comedy, The Bob Newhart Show. For her role as "Emily Hartley", wife of psychologist "Bob Hartley" (played by Bob Newhart), Pleshette was nominated for the Emmy Award twice, in 1977 and 1978...
“ Suzanne is a major player in episode 2.2. Suzanne has good chemistry with Robert Wagner and plays her character in a nicely self-parodying way. ” - aimless-46
 
19.
“ Sexy (and nicely curvy) New York accented blonde who specialized in airhead roles. She looks far better than most, has considerable screen time, and is nicely dressed. In episode 1.11 she plays the fem fatale sidekick of Bill Bixby's rival thief character. ” - aimless-46
 
20.
“ The IMDb simply has to get a less recent photo of her in this spot. ” - aimless-46
 
21.
Brenda Benet
Brenda Benet, born Brenda Ann Nelson in Los Angeles, California, on August 14, 1945, was a classic example of the modern-day Hollywood tragedy. As a television actress with good dramatic scope, she managed to piece together a wide and impressive portfolio of guest shots in a career spanning just over 16 years before taking her life at the age of 36...
“ A tragic Hollywood figure who had a small but sexy part in episode 1.15. Her character is poorly integrated into the story, indicating that several of her scenes were left on the cutting room floor. In the only significant scene that was left, she gets drunk while lamenting her relationship problems to Al. Eventually she passes out in his arms, and he carries her up and puts her to bed. Brenda is quite convincing going through the progressive stages of inebriation; and beautiful enough to more than justify the tight close-ups of her face - especially those of her eyes. ” - aimless-46
 
22.
Teri Garr
Teri Garr can claim a career in show business by birthright. She was born in Lakewood, Ohio, the daughter of Eddie Garr (born Edward Leo Gonnoud), a Broadway stage and film actor, and Phyllis Garr (née Emma Schmotzer), a dancer. Her maternal grandparents were Austrian, and her father was of Irish descent...
“ Teri appears in episode 2.13 as a wide-eyed American tourist cruising for men in Rio. Lots of charm. It was a welcome appearance as it came in the middle of a string of episodes that lacked any eye candy. The middle of Season Two was a serious misstep for the series. ” - aimless-46
 
23.
Nancy Kovack
A native of Flint, Michigan, Nancy Kovack was a student at the University of Michigan at 15, a radio deejay at 16, a college graduate at 19 and the holder of eight beauty titles by 20. Her professional acting career began on television in New York, first as one of Jackie Gleason's "Glea Girls" and then...
“ Nancy kicked off the second season (2.1) as a SIA agent who assists Al in the field. Kovack was beautiful and probably had the sexiest frame in television history. Unfortunately, the wardrobe people don't do her (or viewers) any favors in this episode. Also, as characteristically happened in almost all her roles, the make-up and hair people do her a disservice, going way overboard in gilding the lily. Simplify the hairstyle and scrape off the inch of makeup and you would have an extraordinary face, one that radiates intelligence. Kind of scary that so many were so clueless. If you want to see how much better Kovack looks when detuned, check her out wearing a nurse's uniform in the "Man From U.N.C.L.E." episode where she plays Elsa Lanchaster's assistant Miss Flostone The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Brain-Killer Affair (#1.23). ” - aimless-46
 
24.
Lynda Day George
An American television actress, Lynda Day George first drew attention when she appeared in the popular TV series Mission: Impossible as Lisa Casey, a role for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. She also did numerous guest-star roles in such series as The Love Boat and Charlie's Angels. While appearing in the feature The Gentle Rain...
“ A sterile but fun role in episode 1.15. Although she is upstaged erotically by Brenda Benet in this episode, someone obviously liked her character because she would essentially play it several years later as a regular team member on "Mission Impossible". Lynda's most kinky role would come even later when she played "Wonder Woman's" Nazi adversary Fausta Grabbles Wonder Woman: Fausta, the Nazi Wonder Woman (#1.3). ” - aimless-46
 
25.
Jocelyn Lane
Actress, Tickle Me
Jocelyn Lane is one of the most stunningly beautiful, and overlooked, actresses to grace the screen. Born Jocelyn Bolton in Austria to British parents in 1937, she was the younger sister of Mara Lane, who was considered one of the most beautiful models in the UK during the early 1950s. Either because...
“ Episode 2.3. Surprising to see this dreamy actress so far down on the list but this was not one of her better television appearances. She was late in her career but still looked great, they just don't do anything to showcase her in this otherwise pretty good episode. Check her out in with Elvis in "Tickle Me" instead. Also viewer worthy is a fun role she had in an episode of "The Wild Wild West" The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Watery Death (#2.9). ” - aimless-46
 
26.
Rosemary Forsyth
Actress, Disclosure
A tall, slender, highly attractive blonde, Canadian-born leading lady Rosemary Forsyth was born in Montreal. In the mid 1960s, she was groomed by Universal after a stretch as a model and a sprinkling of small time TV parts. The soft, demure beauty showed quite a bit of promise amid the rugged surroundings as the young ingénue or romantic co-star to a number of top male veterans...
“ Rosemary has a lot of screen time in 1968 episode (1.9). Unfortunately her appearance was two years too late. Gorgeous in "Texas Across the River" and "Shenandoah", Rosemary threw her career away for a brief marriage and the birth a child. She returned for this appearance two years later minus her glow and much the worse for the wear. One of the most dramatic fades in television history, scary stuff. ” - aimless-46
 
27.
Wende Wagner
Beautiful, vibrant-looking 60s actress Wende Wagner (her real name) was born in Connecticut in 1941. Of French, German and Native American heritage, her exotic looks would later serve her well on TV and in motion pictures. She inherited her athletic genes from her parents; her father was a former Olympic swimming/diving coach turned Naval Commander and her mother was a champion downhill skier...
“ Britt Reid's (The Green Hornet) secretary got a part in episode 2.5. This was the single worse episode of the series, a real mockfest opportunity both then and now. Poor Wende never looked worse and is upstaged in the sizzle department by the Cuban cigars that are smoked by several of the characters. She must have realized it because it was the last substantial role of her short career. ” - aimless-46
 
28.
Tina Louise
Tina Louise was born Tina Blacker in New York City, the daughter of Sylvia (Horn) and Joseph Blacker, who owned a candy store. Tina was still in her teens when she burst upon the national scene by starring on Broadway in the critically acclaimed box-office success "Li'l Abner", based on the famous comic strip character created by Al Capp...
“ Briefly off the island to assist Al in 1968 episode 1.6, Tina doesn't get much screen time and does nothing provocative. Nor does she wear any noteworthy outfits. Not a episode worth seeking out. ” - aimless-46
 
29.
Francine York
Francine was born in the small mining town of Aurora, Minnesota to her parents, Frank and Sophie Yerich. When Francine was five, her family (including her younger sister, Deanne) moved to Cleveland, where she began to write short stories and take an interest in acting. At age nine, Francine made her theatrical debut in the Hodge Grammar School production of Cinderella...
“ Francine played a SIA agent assigned to monitor Al and keep him out of trouble when he was between missions early in the first season. Much like Mary Ann Mobley's character in "Burke's Law" (Al uses the same back-lot mansion) their weekly scene would kick off the episode after the titles had run. Mobley was much better but York had bigger talents. ” - aimless-46
 
30.
“ The cute Dodge Rebellion girl got a part in the two episode story in the middle of season two It Takes a Thief: Hans Across the Border: Part 1 (#2.7), these two episodes were so bad that they would have still been boring even if the worst stuff had been trimmed and the running length cut in half. Pamela Austin had just been replaced by the Dodge Fever girl, who was both cute AND sexy. She and Joey Heatherton had parallel careers but whatever extra it was that Joey had, Pamela lacked. Until now I always assumed that Austin's total lack of acting for the camera skills was because she was a model turned actress. But apparently she was first and foremost an actress. Scary thought. ” - aimless-46
 
31.
Jessica Walter
Actress, Archer
A graduate of New York's High School of the Performing Arts and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, Walter's extensive theater credits include productions both on- and off-Broadway. On Broadway, she has appeared in Peter Ustinov's "Photo Finish" (which earned her the Clarence Derwent Award as Most Promising Newcomer)...
“ Episode 2.21. ” - aimless-46
 
32.
Martine Beswick
Actress, Thunderball
Born to British parents in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Martine Beswick did some brief modeling and pageant entering before seeking a career in films. She allegedly once won a "Miss Autoville" contest and won a car only to sell it in order to move to and study acting in London. A minor break for her occurred in the James Bond film series...
“ Appears in episode 2.10, probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Nothing notable, included mostly because I felt guilty about having Pamela Austin at the bottom of the list. ” - aimless-46
 
33.
Cathy Lee Crosby
Cathy Lee Crosby, Founder & CEO of CLC Entertainment Studios, is an internationally recognized star, multi-talented actress, entertainer, writer and producer. Her diverse career includes: representing the U.S. in international tennis competition (she attained a career high ranking of #7 in singles and #4 in doubles)...
“ Had a bit part in episode 1.16; her first television role. I ” - aimless-46