Laurel Goodwin

Active - 1962 - 1965  |   Born - Aug 11, 1942   |   Genres - Comedy, Western, Action, Science Fiction, Romance

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Laurel Goodwin started working as a child model at the age of seven and decided in her teens to move into acting as a profession. She was born in Wichita, KS, but moved to San Francisco, CA, where she attended Lowell High School and San Francisco State University as a drama major. In the summer of her freshman year, her teacher advised her to do summer stock work in Shasta, CA, and in her spare time she ended up baby-sitting for the children of cinematographer Kurt Gunther; in return, he took some stills of her and passed them to the publicity department at Paramount, where he was working. She was invited to audition and became a contract player in 1962. Goodwin was noticed by producer Hal Wallis and cast in the Elvis Presley vehicle Girls! Girls! Girls! as the "nice girl" vying for the rock 'n' roll king's heart, in competition with female lead Stella Stevens. Goodwin received good notices for her debut and other film roles followed; in Papa's Delicate Condition she was Jackie Gleason's older daughter and in the A.C. Lyles-produced Stage To Thunder Rock she played alongside such veteran actors as Barry Sullivan, John Agar, and Lon Chaney Jr. Goodwin's third and last feature film was the Sam Peckinpah-authored, Arnold Laven-directed Western The Glory Guys, where she had the chance to make the acqaintance of a promising young actor in the cast named James Caan. By this time in the mid-'60s, however, film production was slowing to a relative trickle and there wasn't too much demand for actresses of Goodwin's type. Her subsequent career was confined to television, where she played a multitude of roles, ranging from ingenue parts to voluptuous hippie-chicks, in episodes of The Virginian, Mannix, Get Smart, and The Beverly Hillbillies, through the end of the 1960s. If she has any screen immortality beyond the Elvis Presley movie, however, it is from her work in "The Cage", the original pilot episode for Star Trek, starring Jeffrey Hunter and Susan Oliver, in which Goodwin played Yeoman Colt. Later recut into the two-part episode "The Menagerie" and then restored to circulation intact, "The Cage ended up one of the most renowned touchstones of 1960s science fiction. After losing the lead in Gidget because she was too tall, Goodwin gradually eased out of performing, apart from commercials. Since the 1970s, she has been married to film executive William Wood, and together the two have been involved in the making of several feature films, including Stroker Ace.

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