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Lois June Nettleton (August 6, 1927 – January 18, 2008) was an American actress of film, stage, and television. She was Miss Chicago of 1948 as well as a semifinalist at that year's Miss America Pageant.
Born in Oak Park, Illinois (near Chicago) to Edward and Virginia Nettleton, her professional acting career began in 1949. She understudied Barbara Bel Geddes in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and first appeared on television in Captain Video.
Television roles/Emmy Award nominations
She performed in dozens of guest-starring roles on shows, including the original Twilight Zone (in the classic episode "The Midnight Sun" in 1961), Route 66, The Virginian, The Eleventh Hour, Night Gallery (in the 2nd season episode "I'll Never Leave You—Ever"), The Fugitive, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kung Fu, Centennial, Cagney & Lacey, Seinfeld, Baywatch Nights, Murder, She Wrote, and Babylon 5 ("Soul Mates", 1994). In 1987, she portrayed the role of Penny VanderHof Sycamore on the TV series version of the classic Hart/Kauffman comedy play You Can't Take It With You with Harry Morgan (of M*A*S*H fame) and Richard Sanders (WKRP in Cincinnati). She was a regular celebrity guest on various versions of the game show Pyramid from the 1970s through 1991.
Nettleton won two Emmy Awards during her career. She won one for, "The American Woman: Profiles in Courage" (1977), and one for, "A Gun For Mandy" (1983), which was an episode of the religious anthology, "Insight." She also received an Emmy Award nomination for, "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series," for an episode of, The Golden Girls, titled, "Isn't It Romantic?," in which she portrayed a lesbian and college friend of "Dorothy" bereaving from the loss of her long-term partner; and, she received Emmy nominations for her work in the TV movie, Fear on Trial (1975) ("Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special") and for a recurring role on the series In the Heat of the Night, in 1989 ("Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series"). She won two Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on General Hospital.
She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as "Amy" in a 1976 revival of They Knew What They Wanted, and she received critical praise for her stage performance as Blanche DuBois in a 1973 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Other stage credits include Broadway productions of Darkness at Noon and Silent Night, Lonely Night.
She appeared in a 1959 off-Broadway production of Look Charlie, which was written by her future husband, humorist Jean Shepherd. Nettleton continued to act on stage into her seventies. Her final stage performance was in 2004, in an off-Broadway play called How to Build a Better Tulip.
Her film roles included Tennessee Williams' Period of Adjustment, Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd, and Colin Higgins' The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. In 1964 she played the role of the bride in Mail Order Bride, a western film also starring Buddy Ebsen and Keir Dullea. She was also in The Honkers with James Coburn. She also played the villainous murderer Maud Wendell in the TV mini series Centennial.
She was the first caller to Jean Shepherd's late-night radio program on WOR-AM. She became a regular guest, known to listeners as "The Caller," and they married in 1960, divorcing seven years later. They had no children.
Nettleton appeared in a 2006 Christmas TV movie special, "The Christmas Card," and her last public appearance was at the 2007 Twilight Zone Convention, in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, in August 2007. She died at the age of 80, from lung cancer, in Woodland Hills, California, on January 18, 2008. She was interred in New York City's Saint Raymond's Cemetery.
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