Joyce Jameson is one of my crushes. I fell for her when I first saw The Comedy of Terrors and I never looked back.
I may have found her in a movie, but many of her 117 credits are on TV shows. She started off her career in her then-husband’s musical revue and was known for her impressions. Though intelligent and well-read, she was typically typecast as a dumb blonde, something she just couldn’t shake. However, she was an incredibly funny woman and managed to leave her mark on multiple TV shows.
For example, she played Fun Girl Skippy in three episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (other Fun Girl Daphne was played by Jean Carson), usually having her sights set on Barney. The duo made such an impression that Me-TV did a write up on them, and both actresses ended up on episodes of Gomer Pyle USMC playing different characters.
She also turned up on F-Troop, this time zeroing in on Corporal Agarn. She and Larry Storch would team up again years later on an episode of Emergency!, in which he’s an amateur magician attempting to escape from a safe and she’s his nervous wife who calls the fire department because she’s afraid he can’t get out. It’s a brief but funny interaction. Her second appearance on the show had her get stuck in a doggy door, another funny bit, though perhaps it depended a little too much on making fun of her weight.
Another funny, but problematic guest spot happened on Barney Miller in the episode “Rape”. She goes to the 12th precinct to make a complaint about her husband forcing her to have sex, which at the time wasn’t against the law. It’s hard to make a joke of something as serious as sexual assault, and the episode is mostly uncomfortable with some humorous bits, but Joyce is a bright spot.
Joyce appeared in other sitcoms, such as Hogan’s Heroes, The Munsters, The Dick van Dyke Show, McHale’s Navy, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Make Room for Daddy, and Rhoda.
She did appear on more serious shows such as The Waltons, as well as several Westerns such as Alias Smith and Jones, The Virginian, The Big Valley (in which her character is simply called The Blonde), and Gunsmoke.
If you like law and action, you can find her in episodes of The Fall Guy, Charlie’s Angels, Baretta, Police Woman, The Rockford Files, McMillan and Wife, The Mod Squad, Burke’s Law, Ironside, and a couple of episodes of Perry Mason, one of which co-stars Wende Wagner (Miss Case on The Green Hornet), James Frawley (who directed multiple episodes of The Monkees), and Keye Luke. Joyce’s character is less than nice in that episode.
She also turned up in episodes of The Girl from UNCLE and The Man from UNCLE, unsurprising given her long relationship with Robert Vaughn, who remembered her fondly in his autobiography.
She even took a trip to The Twilight Zone and worked with Bob Newhart in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
And though she didn’t find love on The Love Boat, she did find James MacArthur, and that’s pretty close.
As frustrating as it might have been that Joyce Jameson couldn’t fully display her range and show her full comedic talents, we are blessed with many memorable guest roles (and movies!) and I certainly don’t take that for granted.