Joan Staley
Joan Staley

Joan Staley was a popular movie actress who made a great impact in the entertainment industry in the 1960s and 1970s.  She recorded appearances in movies like Playhouse 90, Hawaiian Eye, and her famed role in Broadside. The entertainer’s first entry into the industry was at the age of six as a child violinist, a skill she acquired after she fell head over heels in love with the musical instrument that brought her a measure of success.

The diva ruled the screens in her prime and was featured as Miss November 1958 on Playboy magazine. She also made it as one of the twelve distinguished actresses of Hollywood Deb Stars for 1962. Joan passed on in 2019 at the age of 79, but the impact she left in the entertainment industry will always always be with us.

Before Venturing Into Acting, She Made Name As A Violinist

When Joan Staley was just three, she went with her mother to a concert where she first watched how the violin was played and fell in love with the instrument. This necessitated the acquisition of her own violin by her mother, who also got her an instructor to teach her how to play.

After a few years, the young lady soon became proficient and it was therefore not surprising when she won an audition to join Peter Meremblum’s Junior Symphony, consequently earning her first film appearance in Emperor Waltz in 1948. After the young talent finished with her college education, she worked as a teletype operator at the William R. Stats brokerage firm before she ventured into films and television work.

Joan Staley Started With Stage Performances After A Long Hiatus From Acting

After making that debut appearance as a child actor in 1948, Joan was not seen again for a long time; however, she resurfaced on the entertainment scene by joining The Little Theater in Hollywood, subsequently appearing in stage plays such as The Robe, Brigadoon, and My Sister Eileen.

Starting her rise in the world of showbiz, Joan Staley’s hot body and beautiful personality earned her Playboy magazine’s Miss November 1958. She also was among the twelve actresses chosen in 1962 as the Hollywood Deb Star.

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Playboy's Miss November 1958: Joan Staley

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With these appearances, the actress’s name began to gain popularity and she landed a role in the television series Perry Mason the same year, subsequently featuring in several episodes of the highly-acclaimed series. This led her to briefly appear in an episode of the 1959 TV series Laramie.

She Began Making Regular On-screen Appearances From 1959

Before the end of 1959, Joan played Hannah in the television series 77 Sunset Strip, and until 1964, she made appearances in nine more episodes. As the 1960s was being ushered in, the actress started landing roles in more movies. After recording a few uncredited roles, she starred in the western Gun Fight, sharing the screen with Hollywood greats like James Brown and Gregg Palmer. Joan had a supporting role in the Oscar-winning cult movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s, with stars like Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, and Patricia Neal in the lead.

During her early days in acting, Joan Staley appeared in quite a few number of Hollywood’s most-watched films from the 1960s era, they include the likes of Ocean’s 11 and Midnight Lace in 1960, Jerry Lewis’ The Ladies Man that was released in 1961, as well as the 1962 drama thriller movie Cape Fear. In 1964, the popular entertainer showed up in the musical film Roustabout with Elvis Presley in the leading role.

Joan then turned her focus towards TV roles, recording a streak of supporting and recurring performances in critically acclaimed television series like Hawaiian Eye 1959 to 1963, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet 1952 to 1966, Wagon Train 1962 to 1965, as well as Burke’s Law.

She Had Her Most Prominent Role On The Set Of Broadside

Joan Staley
Joan and Don Knotts On Set image source

Joan Staley’s journey to fame was a gradual process, it was not until 1964 that the actress secured her most prominent role; playing Roberta Love in the television series Broadside. She appeared on the comedy series in 32 episodes as Roberta and till the end of her acting career that spanned over a decade, the Minnesota native never recorded a greater success.

The one that came a bit close was her role in the 1966 movie Gunpoint. Important to note that Broadside was a spinoff of 1964 McHale’s Navy which the entertainer also appeared in. By 1966, Joan made an appearance in the leading female role in the family comedy movie The Ghost and Mr. Chicken with Don Knotts. She also showed up in The New Phil Silvers Show and The Lively Ones in 1960.

A Horse Riding Accident Forced Her To Curtail Her Appearances

Joan Staley was forced to cut down on her acting roles after suffering a back injury which was incurred in a horse-riding accident. However, she still went on to play supporting roles in television series such as Rango, Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats, Ironside, and Mission Impossible in 1967. Between 1969 and 1972, the actress appeared in a couple of episodes of Adam-12 television series.

Joan called it quits with acting in 1972, however, she had to make an exception for her last acting engagement which occurred in 1982. For her last role, she briefly appeared in the Mama Dearest episode of the romance series Dallas. In her brief but rather prosperous entertainment career, the Minnesota native was primarily active for only 10 years. Joan Staley added over 65 acting credits to her professional portfolio.

Joan Staley Was Just 16 Years Old When She Experienced Marriage For The First Time

The actress had just turned 16 when she caught the eyes of the famous television director – Charles Staley. The movie mogul is one of the pillars of the entertainment industry best known for his work in the comedy film Cracking Up which came to light in 1977. The duo became an item and exchanged marriage vows in August 1956.

The couple’s marriage was just three years old when their daughter Sherrye Dee Staley came to join the family in 1959. Sadly, the two could not handle the pressures of marriage and thus had to go their separate ways; their marriage eventually ended in a 1960 divorce.

She Became The Wife of Frederick Dale Sheets in 1967

After seven years as a single woman, Staley gave marriage another shot when she wedded Frederick Dale Sheets in 1967. Sheets is an executive with Music Corporation of American (MCA). They worked together to establish a company called International Ventures Incorporated where they scout and manage young talents.

Their marriage was blessed with three kids; whose names are Stephanie and Greg (Twins) and a daughter named Dina whom they raised alongside three of Dale Sheets children and Joan Staley’s daughter from her ex-husband. In all, they were seven wonderful children trained by the couple.

Joan Staley Passed On In November 2019

Joan Staley is no more with us, the Ghost And Mr. Chicken actress has passed on and according to reports, her death occurred on the 24th of November 2019 at the age of 79. However, her cause of death was not made public. She is survived by her husband Frederick Dale Sheets, children Dina, Linda, Victoria, Patricia, Sherrye, Stephanie, and Greg, 10 grandchildren, and 26 great-grandchildren.

It was Joan’s first husband TV director Chuck Staley who took to Twitter to announce the news of her passing. According to the movie maker, Joan, who was his first wife died on the 24th of November 2019 and his second wife, makeup artist Penelope Staley also died on the same date albeit in 2010. Chuck saw it as ironic.

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