Jean Byron Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (3)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Paducah, Kentucky, USA
Died in Mobile, Alabama, USA  (complications from surgery)
Birth NameImogene Burkhart
Nickname Jeanie
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A true sunny delight, actress Jean Byron will be fondly remembered for her three-season-long role as vivacious "Natalie Lane", the grounding mom of "identical cousin" Patty Duke on The Patty Duke Show (1963), the one who was always around to help teenage Patty regroup when "a hot dog made her lose control". Jean was born with the unlikely marquee name of Imogene Burkhart in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1925. Musically inclined, she was a teen singer on radio before even graduating from high school. Her family subsequently moved to California which only spurred on Jean's interest in show business. Apprenticing on the local stage and continuing to work on radio, she earned her first contract with Columbia Pictures and chose the more adaptable name of Jean Byron for billing purposes.

Her movie career began uneventfully in 1952, co-starring with Johnny Weissmuller, in Voodoo Tiger (1952), one of a series of "Jungle Jim" adventure programmers. Uninspired roles, opposite a radioactive creature in The Magnetic Monster (1953) and as a handmaiden to Rhonda Fleming's "Cleopatra" in Serpent of the Nile (1953), had her wisely leaning towards TV as a more viable medium. Not only did she appear on the top TV shows of the day, but seemed to have an affinity for westerns, finding a steady stream of work on such programs as Yancy Derringer (1958), Fury (1955), My Friend Flicka (1955), Cheyenne (1955) and Laramie (1959) to her credit. The wholesome-looking blonde with the lovely, peaches-and-cream complexion also became a mild household fixture as an on-camera spokeswoman for such products as Revlon and Lux soap. At one time, she was known as "The Lux Girl". She earned a couple of recurring roles on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959) comedy before solidifying her status on The Patty Duke Show (1963) from 1963 to 1966.

Following the series' demise, Jean was seen less and less, glimpsed here and there on late 60s and 70s TV. She also appeared on the dinner theater circuit and in musical stage shows, portraying "Mama Rose" in one production of "Gypsy". Retiring in the 1980s, she moved with her aged mother to Mobile, Alabama in the late 1980s to be closer to extended family. Her final appearance was a happy occasion with a nostalgic TV-movie reunion show that brought her back in touch with former cast members Patty Duke and TV husband William Schallert, among others, in 1999. The reunion took 33 years in the making, one for the TV record books. At one time, she was briefly married to handsome actor Michael Ansara, she had no children and never remarried. Jean died at age 80 after developing an infection following surgery for a hip replacement. She was buried in Mobile Memorial Gardens.

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

Family (1)

Spouse Michael Ansara (15 May 1949 - 3 October 1956)  (divorced)

Trivia (3)

A friend of Tommy Dorsey, she occasionally sang with the big band while she was filming in New York. She played regional theaters with Shirley Jones and Virginia Mayo, played Mama Rose in "Gypsy" and sang in "Guys And Dolls."
The role of Dr. Imogene Burkhart (her real name!) on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959) was written for her by close friend, playwright Max Shulman.
Married to actor Michael Ansara from 1949-1956. The union was childless and she never remarried.

Personal Quotes (1)

TV was kind of like the old silent days. You hit your marks and said your lines and, boy, if you could print on the first take you would work again. There was no fooling around.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

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