Fresh out of the Connecticut College for Women, Susan Saint James secured work as a model, then talked her way into a contract with Universal Pictures. With no previous acting experience, Susan was given a co-starring assignment as magazine researcher Peggy Maxwell in Universal's made-for-TV Fame is the Name of the Game (1966). Susan would continue as Peggy in the subsequent TV series Name of the Game, which ran from 1968 to 1971 and which earned her an Emmy. During this time she also had a recurring role as kooky lady jewel robber Chuck Brown on the Robert Wagner TV weekly It Takes a Thief. Possessed of a breezy, garrulous, inquisitive quality, Susan was very much an acquired taste so far as many TV critics were concerned. Nonetheless, she achieved worldwide popularity as Sally McMillan on the TV detective series McMillan and Wife (1971-77) in which she costarred with Rock Hudson. The actress' comic skills grew sharper the longer she remained in the business; her best film appearance was as the constitutionally sloppy lady love of vampire George Hamilton in Love at First Bite (1979). In 1984, she co-starred with Jane Curtin in the single-mom sitcom Kate and Allie, which lasted until 1989. Her off-screen pursuits have leaned towards politics, ecology and social consciousness; she has been very active in the Democratic Party, and in 1974 hosted a fund-raising telethon for the party in the company of Hubert Humphrey.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Began her career as a teenage model.
- Had her first break on the television movie Fame Is the Name of the Game, which spawned the series Name of the Game, in which she also starred.
- Became involved with the Special Olympics in the early 1970s, around the same time her future husband Dick Ebersol began his involvement with the Olympic Games.
- Best known for her roles on Kate & Allie, in which she played a divorcée sharing an apartment with another single mom; and McMillan and Wife, playing the wife of a police commissioner opposite Rock Hudson.
- Retired from acting after the birth of her fifth child.
- Her 14-year-old son died in a 2004 plane crash that also seriously injured her husband and another son. In 2009, she spoke at Maria Shriver's Women's Conference panel about death and grief, along with Elizabeth Edwards, who had also lost a teenage son.