Susan Saint James

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Susan Saint James
SusanSaintJamesCivitan.JPG
Susan Saint James in a Civitan International public service announcement in 1986.
Born
Susan Jane Miller

(1946-08-14) August 14, 1946 (age 73)
OccupationActress
Years active1966–present
Spouse(s)Richard Neubert (m. 1967-1968)
Tom Lucas (m. 1971-1977)
Dick Ebersol (m. 1981)
Children5, including Charlie

Susan Saint James (born Susan Jane Miller; August 14, 1946) is an American actress and activist, most widely known for her work in television during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, [1] especially the detective series McMillan & Wife (1971–1976) and the sitcom Kate & Allie (1984–1989).

Contents

Early life

Saint James was born in Los Angeles, California, to a Connecticut family, the daughter of Constance (Geiger), a teacher, and Charles Daniel Miller, who worked in business. [2] Saint James was raised in Rockford, Illinois, where she began modeling as a teenager. [1] In her younger school years she attended the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois. She later attended the Connecticut College for Women. [1]

Career

She moved to California at age 20, when she began her acting career. Her first screen role was in the TV movie Fame Is the Name of the Game (1966) with Tony Franciosa, launching her career when it became a series two years later. Among her other early television appearances were two episodes of the first season of Ironside ("Girl in the Night", December 1967 and two months later, playing a different role in the episode "Something for Nothing"). She also had a supporting role in Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows (1968), the sequel to The Trouble with Angels .

From 1968 to 1971, as a result of her first role in Fame Is the Name of the Game, she had a regular part in the series The Name of the Game , winning an Emmy Award for her role as research assistant Peggy Maxwell in 1969 and establishing her as a popular young actress. The series format, set at a large media company, featured rotating lead characters played by Tony Franciosa, Gene Barry, and Robert Stack  generally only one of their characters seen each week. Saint James provided a measure of series continuity by appearing as a research assistant at various times to all three. She appeared in approximately half the episodes, usually in a supporting role, although her Peggy Maxwell was the primary character in the second-season episode "The King of Denmark," alongside Franciosa's "Jeff Dillon". As well, in the first-season story "Pineapple Rose" (a Gene Barry segment), Saint James was prominently featured when her character was kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity.

Saint James as Peggy Maxwell in the television series The Name of the Game, 1969 Susan Saint James 1969.jpg
Saint James as Peggy Maxwell in the television series The Name of the Game , 1969

In 1967, Saint James had a small part in the pilot episode of the Robert Wagner crime-caper series It Takes a Thief . This led to a recurring role playing a new character, Charlene "Chuck" Brown, Alexander Mundy's fellow thief and "casual" love interest. She was featured in four episodes of the series from 1968 to 1970. She went on to appear in the pilot episode of the western series Alias Smith and Jones (1971).

Then came her first starring role as Rock Hudson's younger supportive wife, Sally McMillan, in the popular, light-hearted crime series, McMillan & Wife (1971–1976), for which she received four Emmy Award nominations.

Saint James left the show due to a contract dispute, but went on to further her career as an actress in feature films, such as co-starring with Peter Fonda in the film Outlaw Blues (1977). She achieved significant success in the vampire comedy Love at First Bite (1979) and followed up with a role in the comedy How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980), co-starring Jessica Lange and Jane Curtin. Between films, she made a guest appearance in the March 3, 1980 episode of M*A*S*H (Episode 192: War Co-Respondent). After other film ventures failed to establish her, she returned to television, starring in the comedy series Kate & Allie opposite Jane Curtin from 1984 until 1989. She received three more Emmy Award nominations for this role.

Saint James was a celebrity guest commentator for the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania 2 event in 1986 along with Vince McMahon.

Susan Saint James's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star. Susansaint james.jpg
Susan Saint James's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star.

In her mid-40s, Saint James proclaimed herself retired after Kate & Allie ended. [1] [3] In addition to motherhood (her second-youngest son was born during the fourth season of Kate & Allie), she's been an active volunteer with the Special Olympics (an organization she began actively supporting in 1972); [4] [5] she has in the past also served on their board [3] and served as Civitan International's celebrity chairperson for their Special Olympics involvement. [6] In 1998, Saint James, her sister Mercedes Dewey and friend Barrie Johnson founded "Seedling and Pip", a baby gift basket business. She also is a board member of the Telluride Foundation. [7]

Saint James occasionally has emerged from retirement to appear in television series guest roles, such as the mother of (her real-life lookalike niece) Christa Miller in the first season of The Drew Carey Show , and ten years later, as a defense attorney on the February 28, 2006, episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit . She also starred in a Warner Theatre (Torrington, Connecticut) 1999 production of The Miracle Worker . [3] On June 11, 2008, Saint James was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Personal life

Saint James in 1970 Susan Saint James 1970.JPG
Saint James in 1970

Saint James married aspiring writer-director Richard Neubert at age 21, but the marriage lasted only a year. She was married a second time in 1971, to Thomas Lucas, a makeup artist. They had a daughter, Sunshine Lucas (born 1972), and a son, Harmony Lucas (born 1974); the marriage lasted six years.

In the late 1970s, during an interview, she stated: "About eight and a half years ago, my husband and I decided to stop eating meat and then about six months later we stopped eating fish. … I had two beautiful births as a vegetarian; they were great labors—no bleeding, no complications, no problems. The diet worked perfectly for me." [8]

While guest-hosting Saturday Night Live in 1981, Saint James met her third husband, then-SNL executive producer Dick Ebersol; they married within the year. The marriage produced three sons, Charles, William, and Edward (Teddy). In March 2002 Saint James filed for divorce from Ebersol, but the couple reconciled later that summer. [3] Ebersol was chairman of NBC Sports until May 2011.

On November 28, 2004, a private plane carrying Ebersol and two of their sons crashed during an attempted takeoff from Montrose Regional Airport in Colorado. Ebersol and son Charles survived, but son Teddy, age 14, died, as did the pilot and flight attendant Warren T. Richardson III. [9] Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields at Lederman Park in Boston, MA is named in memory of Saint James's son, and an episode of the television series Scrubs was dedicated to him.

She is an aunt of actress Christa Miller. Saint James holds honorary degrees from six Connecticut institutions The University of Connecticut, the University of Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut State University, Albertus Magnus College, the University of New Haven, [1] and Goodwin College. [10] She was a featured speaker at The Women's Conference in 2007, at a session called "Beyond Courage: Overcoming the Unimaginable." [5]

Filmography

Film

YearFilmRoleNotes
1968 P.J. Linette Orbison
1968 Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows Rosabelle
1968 What's So Bad About Feeling Good? Aida
1968 Jigsaw Ida
1970 The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County Mrs. Martha Kid
1977 Outlaw Blues Tina Waters
1979 Love at First Bite Cindy SondheimNominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1980 How to Beat the High Cost of Living Jane
1981 Carbon Copy Vivian Whitney
1982 Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder Katherine Cross

Television films

YearFilmRoleNotes
1966 Fame Is the Name of the Game Peggy Chan
1967Ready and WillingJulia Preston
1972Magic CarpetTimothea Lamb
1976Scott FreeHolly
1978Night CriesJeannie Haskins
1978Desperate WomenEsther Winters
1979 The Girls in the Office Rita Massaro
1979Sex and the Single ParentSally
1979 S.O.S. Titanic Leigh Goodwin
1982The Kid from NowhereSamantha 'Sam' Kandal
1983I Take These MenCarol Sherwood
1983After GeorgeSusan Roberts

Television series

YearFilmRoleNotes
1967 Ironside Elaine MoreauEpisode: "Girl in the Night"
1968 Ironside Verna CusackEpisode: "Something for Nothing"
1968 It Takes a Thief Stewardess Anne EdwardsEpisode: "A Thief Is a Thief"
1968–70 It Takes a Thief Charlene 'Charlie' Brown4 episodes
1968–71 The Name of the Game Peggy Maxwell36 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1970–71)
1970 McCloud Officer KeachEpisode: "Walk in the Dark"
1971 Alias Smith and Jones Miss PorterEpisode: "Alias Smith and Jones"
1971–76 McMillan & Wife Sally McMillan34 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (1972–74)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1972–73)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
1980 M*A*S*H Aggie O'SheaEpisode: "War Correspondent"
1984–89 Kate & Allie Katherine 'Kate' McArdle122 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1983–84)
1989 Tattingers SusanEpisode: "Broken Windows"
1996 The Drew Carey Show Lynn O'BrienEpisode: "Drew and Kate and Kate's Mom"
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Monica BradshawEpisode: "Gone"
2011 Suits Joy McAffertyEpisode: "Bail Out"

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Susan Saint James". Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  2. "Susan Saint James Biography (c. 1968-)".
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Where Are They Now? — Susan St. James uses her mom-sense". People . November 26, 2002. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  4. "Special Olympics Announces Official Launch of Urban Strategy in New York City" (Press release). Special Olympics. November 2006.
  5. 1 2 Speaker Spotlight: Susan Saint James Archived 2007-11-09 at the Wayback Machine , The Women's Conference.
  6. Armbrester, Margaret E. (1992). The Civitan Story. Birmingham, AL: Ebsco Media. p. 149.
  7. Board of Directors, Telluride Foundation.
  8. Berry, Rynn (1979). "Susan Saint James". The Vegetarians. Brookline, MA: Autumn Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN   0-394-73633-8.
  9. Interview about Teddy, The Today Show , 2004-12-03.
  10. "2016 Graduates Urged to Make an Impact - Goodwin College". 10 June 2016.