Carolyn Jones

Last updated

Carolyn Jones
Carolyn Jones 1956.jpg
Jones in 1956
Carolyn Sue Jones

(1930-04-28)April 28, 1930
DiedAugust 3, 1983(1983-08-03) (aged 53)
Resting placeMelrose Abbey Memorial Park Cemetery, Anaheim, California
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1952–1983
Don Donaldson
(m. 1950;div. 1951)

(m. 1953;div. 1964)

(m. 1968;div. 1977)

Peter Bailey-Britton
(m. 1982)

Carolyn Sue Jones [1] (April 28, 1930 – August 3, 1983) [2] was an American actress of television and film. Jones began her film career in the early 1950s, and by the end of the decade had achieved recognition with a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Bachelor Party (1957) and a Golden Globe Award as one of the most promising new actresses of 1959. Her film career continued for another 20 years. In 1964, she began playing the role of matriarch Morticia Addams in the original 1964 black and white television series The Addams Family .


Early life

Carolyn Jones was born in Amarillo, Texas, the daughter of Chloe Jeanette Southern, [3] a housewife, and Julius Alfred Jones, a barber. [1] [4] [5] After their father abandoned the family in 1934, Carolyn and her younger sister, Bette Rhea Jones, [3] moved with their mother into her parents' Amarillo home. [6] Jones suffered from severe asthma that often restricted her childhood activities, and when her condition prevented her from going to the movies, she became an avid reader of Hollywood fan magazines and aspired to become an actress. She enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse in California at age 17, with her grandfather, Charles W. Baker, paying her tuition. [7] [8] [9]

Jones and John Astin as Gomez and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (1964) Carolyn Jones John Astin The Addams Family 1964.JPG
Jones and John Astin as Gomez and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (1964)
Guest stars for the 1961 premiere episode of The Dick Powell Show, "Who Killed Julie Greer?". Standing, from left: Ronald Reagan, Nick Adams, Lloyd Bridges, Mickey Rooney, Edgar Bergen, Jack Carson, Ralph Bellamy, Kay Thompson, Dean Jones. Seated, from left, Carolyn Jones and Dick Powell. Dick Powell Show Premiere Episode 1961.JPG
Guest stars for the 1961 premiere episode of The Dick Powell Show , "Who Killed Julie Greer?". Standing, from left: Ronald Reagan, Nick Adams, Lloyd Bridges, Mickey Rooney, Edgar Bergen, Jack Carson, Ralph Bellamy, Kay Thompson, Dean Jones. Seated, from left, Carolyn Jones and Dick Powell.
Carolyn Jones and John Church in the Broadway production of The Homecoming by Harold Pinter in 1967 Carolyn Jones John Church The Homecoming 1968.JPG
Carolyn Jones and John Church in the Broadway production of The Homecoming by Harold Pinter in 1967


After being spotted by a talent scout at the Playhouse, Jones secured a contract with Paramount Pictures and made her first film, an uncredited part in The Turning Point (1952); [9] had an uncredited bit part as a nightclub hostess in The Big Heat (1953); and a role in House of Wax (also 1953) as the woman who is converted by Vincent Price's character into a Joan of Arc statue. She played Beth in Shield for Murder (1954), earning $500 per day for playing the role. [11]

Jones was cast in the film From Here to Eternity (1953) in the role of Alma "Lorene" Burke. A bout of pneumonia forced her to withdraw; the role earned Donna Reed the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. [12]

She appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and in the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much (both 1956), a remake of one of the director's earlier films.

In 1958, Jones was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Bachelor Party (1957), and she also shared the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress with Sandra Dee and Diane Varsi, and appeared with Elvis Presley in King Creole (1958).

Jones played opposite Frank Sinatra in Frank Capra's A Hole in the Head , Dean Martin in Career , and Anthony Quinn and Kirk Douglas in Last Train from Gun Hill (all 1959).

In the epic Western, How the West Was Won (1963), she played the role of Sheriff Jeb Rawlings' (George Peppard) wife. She appears with Peppard and Debbie Reynolds in the final speaking/singing scenes of the film.


She appeared in several episodes of Dragnet , credited as Caroline Jones in several episodes

Jones made her television debut on the DuMont series Gruen Playhouse in 1952. She appeared in two Rod Cameron syndicated series, City Detective and State Trooper , as Betty Fowler in the 1956 episode, "The Paperhanger of Pioche". She made five appearances on the crime drama series Dragnet, starring Jack Webb, between 1953 and 1955. Jones appeared on the CBS anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the episode "The Cheney Vase" (1955), as a secretary assisting her scheming boyfriend Darren McGavin in attempting an art theft, and opposite Ruta Lee.

In 1957, she had the lead in the episode "The Girl in the Grass" on CBS's Schlitz Playhouse , with once again Ray Milland and Nora Marlowe.

Jones guest starred three times on the television series Wagon Train : in first-season episode "The John Cameron Story" (1957) and in later color episodes "The Jenna Douglas Story" (1961) and "The Molly Kincaid Story" (1963). Also in 1963 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star - Female for portraying quadruplets—one the murder victim and the others suspects—in the Burke's Law episode "Who Killed Sweet Betsy?"

She guest-starred in CBS's The DuPont Show with June Allyson , with James Best and Jack Mullaney, in the episode "Love on Credit" (1960).

In the 1962–1963 season, Jones guest-starred on CBS's The Lloyd Bridges Show , which Spelling created. While married to Spelling, she appeared on the NBC program Here's Hollywood . [13]

In 1964, using a long coal-black wig, Jones began playing Morticia Addams on the television series The Addams Family , a role which brought her success as a comedian and a Golden Globe Award nomination. She guest-starred on the 1960s TV series Batman , playing Marsha, the Queen of Diamonds, [5] and in 1976 appeared as the title character's mother, Hippolyta, in the Wonder Woman TV series. In Tobe Hooper's movie Eaten Alive (1976), she played a madam running a rural whorehouse. The film also featured Neville Brand, Roberta Collins, and Robert Englund. Her last role was that of Myrna, the scheming matriarch of the Clegg clan, on the soap opera Capitol from the first episode in March 1982 until March 1983, though she already knew that she was dying of cancer. During her occasional absences, veteran actress Marla Adams subbed for her.

Her acting career declined after The Addams Family ended in 1966. Sporadic roles in the 1970s included that of Mrs. Moore, the wife of the plantation owner in the miniseries Roots .

Personal life

Jones was married four times and had no children. While studying at the Pasadena Playhouse, Jones married Don Donaldson, a 28-year-old fellow student. The couple soon divorced. [14]

Jones converted to Judaism upon being married to television producer Aaron Spelling from 1953 until their 1964 separation and divorce. [15]

Her third marriage, in 1968, was to Tony Award-winning Broadway musical director, vocal arranger and co-producer Herbert Greene (who was her vocal coach); she left him in 1977. She married actor Peter Bailey-Britton in September 1982.

Final years and death

Jones gained the role of the power-driven political matriarch Myrna Clegg in the CBS daytime soap opera Capitol in 1981. The following year, shortly after Capitol debuted, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, and played many of her scenes in a wheelchair. [16] The cancer spread quickly to her liver and stomach. Despite the pain, Jones finished the first season. [17]

Even after being diagnosed with colon cancer Jones continued to work while telling colleagues she was being treated for ulcers. [18] After a period of apparent remission, the cancer returned in 1982. In September 1982, realizing she was dying, Jones married her boyfriend of five years, actor Peter Bailey-Britton. She wore a lace and ribbon cap to hide the loss of her hair from chemotherapy.

In July 1983, she fell into a coma at her home in West Hollywood, California, where she died on August 3, 1983. Her body was cremated on August 4 and a memorial service was held at Glasband-Willen Mortuary in Altadena, California, on August 5, 1983. Her ashes were interred in her mother's crypt at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park & Mortuary in Anaheim. She donated her Morticia costume and wig to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, while a collection of The Addams Family scripts were donated by Bailey-Britton to UCLA. [19]



Jones and Aaron Spelling in 1960 Carolyn Jones and Aaron Spelling 1960.jpg
Jones and Aaron Spelling in 1960
1952 The Turning Point Miss Lillian SmithUncredited
1952 Road to Bali EuniceUncredited
1952 Off Limits Deborah
1953 The War of the Worlds Blonde Party GuestUncredited
1953 House of Wax Cathy Gray
1953 The Big Heat Doris
1953 Geraldine Kitty
1954 Make Haste to Live Mary Rose
1954 The Saracen Blade Elaine of Siniscola
1954 Shield for Murder Girl at Bar
1954 Three Hours to Kill Polly
1954 Désirée Mme. TallienUncredited
1955 The Seven Year Itch Nurse Finch
1955 The Tender Trap Helen
1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers Theodora 'Teddy' Belicec
1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much Cindy Fontaine
1956 The Opposite Sex Pat
1957 The Bachelor Party The ExistentialistNominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1957 Johnny Trouble Julie Horton
1957 Baby Face Nelson Sue Nelson
1958 Marjorie Morningstar Marsha Zelenko Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
(with Sandra Dee and Diane Varsi)
1958 King Creole Ronnie
1959 The Man in the Net Linda Hamilton
1959 Last Train from Gun Hill Linda
1959 A Hole in the Head Shirl
1959 Career Shirley Drake
1960 Ice Palace Bridie Ballantyne
1961 Sail a Crooked Ship Virginia
1962 How the West Was Won Julie Rawlings
1963 A Ticklish Affair Tandy Martin
1969 Heaven with a Gun Madge McCloud
1969 Color Me Dead Paula Gibson
1976 Eaten Alive Miss Hattie
1979 Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff Beth


1952–1954 Mr. and Mrs. North Various characters3 episodes
1953–1955 Dragnet Various characters5 episodes; billed as Caroline Jones
1954 The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse Karen Brook3 episodes
1954–1955 Studio 57 Various characters4 episodes
1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Pamela WaringEpisode: "The Cheney Vase"
1954–1957 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Various characters4 episodes
1955–1957 The Millionaire Carol Fletcher; Emily Short2 episodes
1957–1961 Zane Grey Theater Various characters3 episodes
1957–1963 Wagon Train Various characters3 episodes: 'The John Cameron Story';
1961–1962 The Dick Powell Show Various characters3 episodes
1962 Dr. Kildare Evy SchallerEpisode: "The Mask Makers"
1963–1964 Burke's Law Richards quadruplets (1963); Carole Durand (1964)2 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star - Female (1963)
1964–1966 The Addams Family Morticia Addams; Ophelia Frump; Lady Fingers64 episodes
1966–1967 Batman Marsha, Queen of Diamonds5 episodes
1967 Rango Belle StarkerEpisode: "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing Holding Up a Place Like This?"
1969 The Mod Squad Lisa Whittaker; GinnyEpisode: "Lisa"
1969 Storybook Squares Morticia Addams Series debut
1969 Love, American Style VeraSegment: "Love and the Geisha"
1971 The Men From Shiloh Annie SpencerEpisode: "The Legacy of Spencer Flats"
1972 The New Scooby-Doo Movies Morticia Addams Voice,Episode: "Wednesday is Missing"
1972 Ghost Story Martha AlcottEpisode: "The Summer House"
1974 Ironside Justine Cross2 episodes
1975 Kolchak: The Night Stalker The RegistrarEpisode: "Demon In Lace"
1976 Ellery Queen Rita RadcliffeEpisode: "The Adventure of the Hardhearted Huckster"
1976–1977 Wonder Woman Queen Hippolyta 3 episodes
1977 Roots Mrs. MooreTelevision miniseries
1977 Halloween with the New Addams Family Morticia Addams; Ophelia Frump Television film
1977 Little Ladies of the Night Marilyn AtkinsTelevision film
1977–1981 Quincy, M.E. Various characters3 episodes
1979 The French Atlantic Affair PegTelevision miniseries
1979 The Love Boat Margaret JeromeSegment: "Cindy"
1979–1982 Fantasy Island Various characters3 episodes
1980 The Dream Merchants VeraTelevision miniseries
1980 Whew! Herself5 episodes
1981 Midnight Lace Bernadette ChanceRemake of 1960 feature film
1982 Tattletales Herself5 episodes
1982 Capitol Myrna Clegg8 episodes; final acting role


YearAwardCategoryTitle of workResult
1958 Academy Award Best Supporting Actress The Bachelor Party Nominated
1959 Golden Globe Award New Star of the Year – Actress Marjorie Morningstar Won
1963 Golden Globe Award Best TV Star - Female Burke's Law Nominated

    Related Research Articles

    <i>The Addams Family</i> Fictional family created by Charles Addams

    The Addams Family is a fictional family created by American cartoonist Charles Addams. They originally appeared in a series of 150 unrelated single-panel cartoons, about half of which were originally published in The New Yorker over a 50-year period from their inception in 1938. They have since been adapted to other media, such as television, film, video games, comic books, a musical and merchandising.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Bebe Neuwirth</span> American actress (born 1958)

    Beatrice "Bebe" Jane Neuwirth is an American actress, singer, and dancer. On television, she played Dr. Lilith Sternin, Frasier Crane's wife, on both the TV sitcom Cheers and its spin-off Frasier. The role won her two Emmy Awards. In 2005, Neuwirth was cast as Bureau Chief/ADA Tracey Kibre in the short-lived Law & Order courtroom drama series, Law & Order: Trial by Jury on NBC, which was canceled after just 12 episodes owing to low ratings. In film, she portrayed Nora Shepherd in the original Jumanji (1995) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019).

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Allison Janney</span> American actress (born 1959)

    Allison Brooks Janney is an American actress. In a career spanning three decades, she is known for her performances across multiple genres of screen and stage. Janney has received various accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and seven Primetime Emmy Awards, in addition to nominations for two Tony Awards.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">June Lockhart</span> American actress (b. 1925)

    June Lockhart is an American actress, beginning a film career in 1930s & 1940s in such films at A Christmas Carol and Meet Me in St. Louis. She primarily acted in 1950s and 1960s television, and with performances on stage and in film. On two television series, Lassie and Lost in Space, she played mother roles. She also portrayed Dr. Janet Craig on the CBS television sitcom Petticoat Junction (1968–70). She is a two-time Emmy Award nominee and a Tony Award winner. With a career spanning over 80 years, she is one of the last surviving actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Morticia Addams</span> Fictional character from The Addams Family

    Morticia Addams is a fictional character from The Addams Family television and film series. The character was created by the cartoonist Charles Addams in 1933.

    Grandmama (<i>The Addams Family</i>) Fictional character in the Addams family fiction

    Grandmama is a fictional character in the Addams Family television and film series. First appearing in the works of cartoonist Charles Addams, she is a supporting character in the film, television, and stage adaptations.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Nancy Marchand</span> American actress

    Nancy Lou Marchand was an American actress. She began her career in theatre in 1951. She was most famous for her television portrayals of Margaret Pynchon on Lou Grant and Livia Soprano on The Sopranos.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Samantha Womack</span> English actress, singer, director (b. 1972)

    Samantha Zoe Womack is an English actress, singer, model and director who has worked in film, television and stage. Womack initially planned a career in singing and she represented the United Kingdom in the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest. Her song for the contest, "A Message to Your Heart", was released as her first single in April 1991 and reached number 30 in the UK Singles Chart.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Janet Waldo</span> American actress

    Janet Marie Waldo Lee was an American radio and voice actress. In animation, she voiced Judy Jetson in various Hanna-Barbera media, Nancy in Shazzan, Penelope Pitstop, Princess from Battle of the Planets, and Josie in Josie and the Pussycats. On radio, she was the title character in Meet Corliss Archer.

    Lois Kibbee was an American actress.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Barbara Bel Geddes</span> American actress (1922–2005)

    Barbara Bel Geddes was an American stage and screen actress, artist, and children's author whose career spanned almost five decades. She was best known for her starring role as Miss Ellie Ewing in the television series Dallas. Bel Geddes also starred as Maggie in the original Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. Her notable films included I Remember Mama (1948) and Vertigo (1958). Throughout her career, she was the recipient of several acting awards and nominations.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Sada Thompson</span> American actress

    Sada Carolyn Thompson was an American stage, film, and television actress. She was known to television audiences as Kate Lawrence in Family (1976-1980).

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Lily Munster</span> Fictional character

    Lily Munster is a fictional character in the CBS sitcom, The Munsters, originally played by Yvonne De Carlo. The matriarch of the Munster household, Lily is a vampire. The role was later played by Lee Meriwether in The Munsters Today and by Portia de Rossi in the unsold 2012 pilot Mockingbird Lane.

    Rachel York is an American actress and singer. She is known for stage roles in City of Angels, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria, Kiss Me, Kate, Sly Fox, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Anything Goes. She also has many film and television credits, including her portrayal of Lucille Ball in the CBS biographical film Lucy.

    <i>The Addams Family</i> (1964 TV series) American sitcom

    The Addams Family is an American macabre/black comedy sitcom based on the characters from Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons. The 30-minute television series was created and developed by David Levy and Donald Saltzman and shot in black-and-white, airing for two seasons on ABC from September 18, 1964, to April 8, 1966, for a total of 64 episodes. The show's opening theme was composed and sung by Vic Mizzy.

    Robin Riker is an American actress and author. She made her big screen debut in the 1980 horror film Alligator and later went to star in the Showtime comedy series Brothers (1984–1989).

    <i>The Addams Family</i> (1973 TV series)

    The Addams Family is an American animated sitcom adaptation of the Charles Addams single-panel comic for The New Yorker. The series was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Saturday mornings in 1973 and was rebroadcast the following season. Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassidy, who played Uncle Fester and Lurch respectively from the 1960s television series, returned in voice-over roles. The cast also included an 10-year-old Jodie Foster, who performed the voice of Pugsley Addams. The show's theme music was completely different and had no lyrics and no finger snapping, although it retained a bit of the four-note score from the live-action show.

    <i>Halloween with the New Addams Family</i> 1977 television film

    Halloween with the New Addams Family is a 1977 American made-for-television comedy horror film based on the 1964–1966 sitcom The Addams Family. In contrast to the "new" in the title, most of the original series regulars reprised their roles, including John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy, Lisa Loring, Ken Weatherwax and Felix Silla. Eleven years after the cancellation of the 1960s TV series, it was the only presentation that brought together most of the original cast in a color production, shot on videotape.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Jane Daly (actress)</span> American actress (born 1948)

    Jane Daly is an American actress. She is best known for Bob Clark's iconic zombie movie Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things and as the original Kelly Harper on the CBS soap opera Capitol.

    <i>Wednesday</i> (TV series) Upcoming American comedy horror television series

    Wednesday is an upcoming American coming of age supernatural horror comedy television series based upon the character Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, it stars Jenna Ortega as the titular character, with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Luis Guzmán, Isaac Ordonez, and Gwendoline Christie appearing in supporting roles. The series is set to premiere on Netflix on November 23, 2022.


    1. 1 2 Pylant, James (May 27, 2007). "The Addams Family's Carolyn Jones: A Descendant of Geronimo?". Genealogy Magazine. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
    2. Birth Certificate
    3. 1 2 Pylant, James (2012). In Morticia's Shadow: The Life & Career of Carolyn Jones. Jacobus Books. ISBN   978-0984185757.
    4. Stroder, Chris (2000). Swingin' Chicks of the '60s: A Tribute to 101 of the Decade's Defining Women. Cedco Publishing. ISBN   978-0768322323.
    5. 1 2 Donnelley, Paul (2005). Fade To Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. New York City: Omnibus Press. p. 528. ISBN   978-1844494309. She was one of the stars on the hit TV game show Match Game (1973).
    6. "1940 United States Census" . Family Search. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
    7. Pylant 2012, p. 36.
    8. Thise, Mark M. (2008). Hollywood Winners and Losers, A to Z. Limelight Editions. p.  97. ISBN   978-0879103514.
    9. 1 2 "Carolyn Jones Is Dead at 50; A TV Actress" . The New York Times . United Press International. August 4, 1983.
    10. Carolyn Jones at the Internet Broadway Database
    11. Weaver, Tom (January 10, 2014). A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers. McFarland & Company. p. 174. ISBN   978-0786458318.
    12. "Carolyn Jones". Retrieved March 10, 2022.
    13. "Carolyn Jones and Marshall Thompson". Here's Hollywood . Episode 1.39. November 23, 1960. NBC.
    14. Milwaukee Sentinel August 9, 1959 p.27
    15. Spelling, Aaron; Graham, Jefferson (1996). A Prime-Time Life: An Autobiography. New York: St. Martin's Press. p.  51. ISBN   978-0312142681. "Do you think you know film? The 'TCM Classic Movie Trivia' book has more than 4,000 questions to test your knowledge", Los Angeles Times , September 19, 2011.
    16. Del Vecchio, Deborah (December 19, 2012). Beverly Garland: Her Life and Career. McFarland & Company. p. 149. ISBN   978-0786465019.
    17. Schemering, Christopher (1988). The Soap Opera Encyclopedia. Ballantine Books. ISBN   978-0345324597.
    18. Bennett, Ray (April 28, 2015). "Why Carolyn Jones did not want to kiss Elvis Presley". The Cliff Edge. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
    19. Pylant 2012, p. 207.


    Further reading