Betsy Jones-Moreland

Active - 1957 - 1993  |   Born - Apr 1, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York  |   Died - May 1, 2006   |   Genres - Mystery, Drama, Crime, Science Fiction, Comedy

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Biography by Bruce Eder

Betsy Jones-Moreland is best remembered today as a statuesque actress and leading lady of the late 1950s and early 1960s, especially in the films of Roger Corman. Yet she was always a somewhat reluctant actress, even as she pursued a career in the field. Born Mary Elizabeth Jones in Brooklyn, New York, in 1930, she seems never to have considered a career in entertainment, or any particularly "public" profession, while growing up. She was an office worker and secretary, her sole contact with the entertainment business being the fact that the company she worked for owned the rights to several children's shows of the 1950s. She began taking acting lessons as a way of overcoming her basic shyness, and that led her to getting work as a showgirl, which resulted in her earning a role in a touring company production of The Solid Gold Cadillac. She ended up in Hollywood, starting with bit roles in major releases, such as The Brothers Rico and The Garment Jungle. She soon became part of Roger Corman's stock company, starting with The Saga of the Viking Women And Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957) and culminating with the title role in The Last Woman on Earth (1960) and the female lead in Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961). In between these quickie productions and some small-screen work, Jones-Moreland also appeared in one notable Western: André de Toth's Day of the Outlaw (1959). Her television appearances included episodes of Perry Mason, McHale's Navy, Have Gun, Will Travel, My Favorite Martian, and Ironside. Her most memorable television appearance was in the Outer Limits episode "The Mutant", in which she appeared as part of a space expedition that's endangered when one of their number encounters deadly radiation. Corman later used her in his first big-budget movie, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), and she followed this up with small roles in theatrical films such as The Hindenburg and Gable and Lombard. She closed out her career as a trial judge in a handful of episodes of the 1990s revival of Perry Mason.

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