Shelley Fabares Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (3)

Born in Santa Monica, California, USA
Birth NameMichele Marie Fabares
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Vibrant, increasingly lovely teen fave Shelley Fabares withstood the test of time by transitioning successfully into adult parts unlike many of her 1960s "teen queen" peers who faded quickly into the memory books. She was born Michele Marie Fabares on January 19, 1944, in sunny Santa Monica, Californnia. As the niece of singer/comedienne Nanette Fabray, she was indoctrinated early into the show biz life. Tap dancing from age three, she also modeled during her elementary school and began appearing on such TV shows as Captain Midnight (1954) and Annie Oakley (1954) (the latter a recurring role). At age 12, she made her professional film debut in the Rock Hudson/Cornell Borchers tearjerker Never Say Goodbye (1956) as Hudson's daughter, and went on to play kid sister roles in the rock 'n' roll-themed Rock, Pretty Baby! (1956) and its sequel Summer Love (1957) both starring John Saxon.

Teen-idol status came with her coming-of-age role as the ever-wholesome daughter "Mary Stone" on The Donna Reed Show (1958), a part she played for five seasons before embarking on a more grown-up film career. During the run of the classic sitcom, she and TV "brother" Paul Petersen grew so popular that they sprinted to adjoining pop singing celebrity, although both admitted that their vocal talents were limited. Shelley especially enjoyed a #1 Billboard hit with the breathy, sultry-edged "Johnny Angel". The character of "Mary Stone" was gently phased out of the show as her character "left for college".

By this time, Shelley had turned into quite a curvaceous stunner. Her acting mettle hardly tested, she managed to become part of the bikini-clad blonde set with top femme parts in such fun-and-frolic fare as Ride the Wild Surf (1964), Hold On! (1966), which was a vehicle for British singing sensation Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, and three of Elvis Presley's less-acclaimed vehicles of the later 1960s: Girl Happy (1965), Spinout (1966) and Clambake (1967).

A serious Vietnam-era stream of consciousness began to pervade film audiences in the late 1960s and Shelley's perky innocence that found so much favor during the Camelot years had lost its appeal. After a notoriously dry spell, she bounced back as the altruistic wife of a dying footballer "Brian Piccolo" in Brian's Song (1971), opposite James Caan, and settled comfortably again on the small screen with bright co-star roles on the series The Brian Keith Show (1972), The Practice (1976), and Highcliffe Manor (1979). A more prickly character than usual, however, reared its head in the late-night soap spoof Forever Fernwood (1977), and this led to the equally malicious, vainglorious role of Bonnie Franklin's business competitor on the already-established hit sitcom One Day at a Time (1975). The show also featured her aunt Nanette Fabray as Franklin's meddling mom. In the late 1980s, Shelley found a fleshier character as Craig T. Nelson's resourceful mate on Coach (1989), earning steady work for eight seasons and two Emmy nominations in the process. A return to film stardom, however, would eclipse her.

Married and separated from record producer Lou Adler during her fun-in-the-sun years of the mid 1960s (they eventually divorced in 1980 after a separation of almost 14 years), Shelley found marital stability with actor/activist Mike Farrell of M*A*S*H (1972) fame, and became stepmother to his two children from a prior marriage. Following her recovery from a home accident that broke several ribs in 1998, Shelley was tested and diagnosed with severe auto-immune hepatitis, which resulted in a liver transplant in 2000. Thankfully, she survived the near-fatal ordeal and has been more heard than seen in recent years. She supplied the voice of "Martha Kent" on the Superman: The Animated Series (1996) animated series but has done little else in the ensuing years.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Family (3)

Spouse Mike Farrell (31 December 1984 - present)
Lou Adler (7 June 1964 - 30 December 1980)  (divorced)
Parents James Fabares
Elsa Fabares
Relatives Nanette Fabray (aunt or uncle)

Trade Mark (1)

Pink/red hair (since 1999)

Trivia (14)

Some sources give her year of birth as 1942 and others as 1946. The year on her birth certificate is 1944.
Niece of Nanette Fabray.
During the mid-1980s she and Heather Langenkamp teamed up for a Murder, She Wrote (1984)-style pilot for a TV series called Suburban Beat (1985). They were cast as housewives who solved mysteries.
Received a liver transplant in October 2000. Her liver failed due to an auto-immune disorder.
Stepmother of Erin Farrell and Michael Farrell.
Frank Sinatra once sang to her on one of his TV specials in the 1950s.
Carl Betz starred as her father in The Donna Reed Show (1958) and the movie Spinout (1966).
Her' three movies with Elvis Presley--Girl Happy (1965), Spinout (1966) and Clambake (1967)--were not the only associations she had had with "The King." When her one-hit-wonder "Johnny Angel" topped the charts on April 7, 1962, she was ousted from the #1 position two weeks later by Presley's "Good Luck Charm." The two future co-stars held the #1 and #2 chart positions through late April into May 1962. Incidentally, backing Fabares on "Johnny Angel" were Glen Campbell (guitar), Hal Blaine (drums), The Blossoms (backing vocals), etc.
Her sister, Smokey Fabares, gave her away at her marriage to Mike Farrell.
Considered Donna Reed as her second mother.
Her mother died from Alzheimer's.
Appeared with her aunt, Nanette Fabray, on One Day at a Time (1975) and the April 15, 1975 episode of The Hollywood Squares (Daytime) (1965) and three episodes of Coach (1989).
Profiled in the 2016 book, "X Child Stars: Where Are They Now?", by Kathy Garver and Fred Ascher.

Personal Quotes (13)

There is a bedrock decency to people in the Midwest. They are thoughtful and ready to help you if something needs to be done.
I was not a Mouseketeer, but a lot of people think I was.
The chances of a child coming through as I did . . . the world is too hard. On the other hand, I would always encourage children of mine if they wanted to be in school plays and dance and sing. But I wouldn't put them to work.
[about her liver transplant] I was dying but suddenly had a second chance at living.
I didn't have a dysfunctional childhood or young adulthood, but I was somebody who was very much raised to do what other people told me to do as a person.
I think the years on The Donna Reed Show (1958), the years from 14 to 19, were so incredibly important. Donna Reed was simply an extraordinary woman, a woman of great strength, kindness, integrity and compassion. I am not trying to make her sound like a saint, but she had the most profound influence on me. I carry her with me today.
One can't change one's life experience, but even if I could, I wouldn't change it because of all the wonderful things that have happened to me.
I can't think of my life without Donna Reed. She has been such an enormous influence on my life.
This is the kind of situation that can tear people apart. It tears at the fabric of your soul and can certainly tear at your marriage and ours has gotten only stronger.
We need to appreciate how precious life is.
I had to have a complete liver transplant. I waited with a beeper for a year and 10 months to get that gift.
It's a terrifying thing to be perhaps 16 or 17 and feel like you are a failure and a has-been.
[about her liver transplant] They had to match blood type and meet all sorts of things I don't know about.

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