America’s Daughter

August 2nd, 2017 13 Comments


Darleen and I were watching an old movie with Fred MacMurray awhile back when she happened to say something that jogged my memory, and I asked her if she had ever worked with MacMurray. To cut to the chase, by the time the conversation was over, I realized I am married to the girl who has had, probably, more fathers than any actress in Hollywood today.

The fact that this hadn’t dawned on me before tells you how much we discuss The Business, but counting Fred MacMurray, Darleen has had seven famous on-screen fathers, most of whom she charmingly and lovingly drove nuts on-screen, much as she does her husband today off-screen.

Fred MacMurray was her dad in a two-hour movie of the week, intended as a pilot for a series, called The Chadwick Family, and she caused him plenty of stress and distress in that movie.

Henry Fonda was her father in a television series called The Smith Family, that ran for thirty-nine episodes, where he had to deal with challenges from a girl who was growing up faster than he could cope with.

David Niven played her extremely harried father (I know exactly how he felt) in The Impossible Years, where the poor man had to deal with both Darleen and an equally troublesome Cristina Ferrare.

Robert Young was her father in two movies of the week called All My Darling Daughters and All My Darling Daughters Anniversary, Darleen giving that poor man fits in both movies.

Karl Malden had it slightly easier in The Streets of San Francisco because she had grown up considerably, but she kept getting kidnapped or threatened or in jeopardy somehow, so poor Karl Malden had his hands full.

Glenn Ford was her father in Once an Eagle, where Sam Elliot had taken on much of the responsibility for her as her husband. He and I should commiserate sometime.

And in an excellent but short-lived (it was ahead of its time) series called Miss Winslow and Son, the son being out-of-wedlock, Elliot Reid played her somewhat shocked father, but the situation unfortunately shocked viewers of that day too much for the series to continue.

All of these men had a taste of how much trouble she can be, but having lasted twenty-five years with her, I feel I am the one who really deserves an award. Or possibly canonization. Or maybe both.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for reminding us of how great your lady is. The challenge is finding some of these shows you mention to watch, but I do see there are some ways to see parts, if not all of the shows online. At least Streets is on DVD.

    I caught, a while back, an episode of Deep Space Nine in which she played a not so nice alien. She was as usual excellent in that. I especially liked that her beauty wasn’t obscured by makeup or prosthetics. The hairdo was rather funky though. A wig or was that her red hair she let be sculpted?

    You two also had great chemistry on your Series. It would be nice to see you two do something together again on screen. There must be a good role and script for you two out there. Or is coaxing you two out of retirement at least once just out of the question?

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s quite an impressive “lineage” that Darleen can claim, but rightfully so because she comes across onscreen as a consummate professional. During the 70s and part of the 80s we didn’t have a television (cult thing), so because most things pop culture were forbidden, I think this is why I am fascinated by television history today, and how ratings reflected the culture. I watched an episode of “Love American Style” last week and wondered how anyone ever thought it was humorous. Or, for heaven’s sake, the cheesiest camp of all, The Love Boat, ever lasted as long as it did. What lenses did viewers look through to view this as a entertainment? Conversely, what factors prevent a genuinely good TV show from being successful? Even with my quirky fondness for old TV, I have never heard of Miss Winslow and Son. I’m familiar with a lot of shows that only lasted a few episodes because they were bad (oftentimes that’s how they gained notoriety), but it’s too bad when shows with promise and talent can’t find an audience, especially when they could be highly relatable to a specific struggling population. I think a current example of this is the show Downward Dog. A show about a talking dog sounds ridiculous, but it was one of the most well-crafted and profound shows I have come across recently. Sadly, cancelled after a few episodes.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Both you and your lovely wife can honestly say you have had some truly great people come into your lives – professionally and personally. Often both. Gifts to you both. Treasure them.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m not surprised your good lady gave all her onscreen dads hell 😉 look how feisty a gal she turned into in her later roles as a heroine and a no-nonsense one at that! I bet she is the same in real life too 🙂

    I’m glad you mentioned ‘Once an Eagle’ haven’t seen that for many a good year, I was a kid when it was on here in England in the seventies and my dad loved it so we all had to watch it. Just bought it complete from Amazon to enjoy again. Been a big fan of Sam Elliott ever since, just as big a fan as I am of you and Mrs P as the years marched on. Mrs P was not your average damsel in distress, she was a joy to watch as she made great strides for womankind on telly and she was/is a great role model for women today.

    Much love to you both, be safe, be well, be happy.
    Claire X

  5. Anonymous says:

    Canonisé ou pas, soyez heureux encore longtemps ensemble !!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a great little story. I’ve always thought she was a great actress.! I’m happy for the both of you and wish you many more wonderful years to come!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have never seen those movies of the week, but I do remember her from the episodes she did on Simon and Simon. That show was my favorite during the eighties.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I was always very fond of her in my youth and then she went off and married that actor fella from the tv. Clearly she has an effect on people. Now he has a mustache.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Still waiting anxiously for them to put “Miss Winslow and Son” and “The Smith Family” on DVD. Have all the others either on DVD or VHS tapes.
    Need to tell you though Jameson you left one off the list I have the complete series of this show she was in called “The Oregon Trail” in the episode “The Last Game” William Windom played Darleen’s father.

    Nancy Darlene

  10. Anonymous says:

    Jameson just to clarify William Windom actually was in two episodes of “The Oregon Trail” series instead of just one as Darleen’s father. She was in the show in all episodes except the pilot. I had forgotten he also played her father in the episode titled “Hard Ride Home”

    Nancy Darlene

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    after three weeks off accompanied by two strenuous teenaged girls my pity for you poor victim is very limited 😉 … and your complaint after twenty-five years is a little late, don’t you think? So I guess it can’t be too bad….
    Besides you’re not an easy character either (my assumption, please correct me if I’m wrong) but she just don’t write about it. I’d very much like to hear her opinion about it !?

    Best wishes and many happy years with your wife
    “Es gibt kein größeres Leid, als das der Mensch sich selbst andeit”
    🙂 🙂 🙂


    I keep my fingers crossed for Mackie. He’s got such a wide range of acting skills. Lat time I saw mhim was in “House of cards”. Wow!

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