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Joan Hackett

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Title: Joan Hackett  
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Subject: Only When I Laugh (film), Will Penny, The Last of Sheila, A Piano in the House, Richard Mulligan
Collection: 1934 Births, 1983 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Actresses, Actresses from Los Angeles, California, Actresses from New York City, Actresses of Italian Descent, American Film Actresses, American People of Irish Descent, American People of Italian Descent, American Stage Actresses, American Television Actresses, Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe (Film) Winners, Burials at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Cancer Deaths in California, Deaths from Ovarian Cancer, Drama Desk Award Winners, Obie Award Recipients, Theatre World Award Winners
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Joan Hackett

Joan Hackett
Hackett in Support Your Local Sheriff! in 1969
Born Joan Ann Hackett
(1934-03-01)March 1, 1934
East Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 8, 1983(1983-10-08) (aged 49)
Encino, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Ovarian cancer
Resting place Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Ethnicity Italian mother
Irish father
Occupation Actress
Years active 1959–1983
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Richard Mulligan
(1966-1973) (divorced)

Joan Ann Hackett (March 1, 1934 – October 8, 1983) was an American actress of film, stage and television.[1] For the 1981 film Only When I Laugh, she won a Golden Globe Award and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also received a Best Foreign Actress BAFTA Award nomination for the 1966 film The Group.


  • Early life 1
  • Acting career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Death 4
  • Partial filmography 5
    • Selected television guest appearances 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

She was born in New York City, the daughter of Mary (née Esposito); and John Hackett. She had a sister, Theresa and a brother, John. Her mother was from Naples, Italy and her father had Irish ancestry, and they reared her Roman Catholic and sent her to Catholic schools.[2][3][4]

Acting career

Hackett debuted in 1959 with the role of Gail Prentiss in the television series, Young Doctor Malone. In 1961 she won a Theatre World Award, an Obie Award for Best Actress, and a Drama Desk Award for her Off-Broadway portrayal of Chris in Michael Shurtleff's play Call Me By My Rightful Name.

She had a recurring role on the CBS legal drama The Defenders (1961–1965) as the fiancee of Kenneth Preston (played by Robert Reed), partner in the father-and-son law firm led by patriarch Lawrence Preston (E.G. Marshall). She appeared regularly in scenes with both lead actors. She had a leading role in The Twilight Zone episode "A Piano in the House". In the 1963-1964 season, she guest starred on the ABC drama about college life, Channing starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones.

Hackett had one of the starring roles in the 1966 Sidney Lumet film The Group, along with Candice Bergen, Larry Hagman, Richard Mulligan, Joanna Pettet and others.

One of her notable movie performances was the role of Catherine Allen, a young mother struggling to survive on the frontier, in the 1968 Western Will Penny, with Charlton Heston in the title role. Hackett also had notable parts in the classic Western comedy Support Your Local Sheriff!, with James Garner, and the 1973 murder mystery The Last of Sheila. After this she primarily had parts in TV movies and on episodes of TV series.

In 1978, she appeared in a PBS adaptation of Mourning Becomes Electra as Christine Mannon; her performance earned her some of the best reviews of her career. Clive James said that it entitled her to be called a great actress. The same year, she was a regular in the cast of the short-lived CBS situation comedy Another Day, portraying Ginny Gardner.

Hackett won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1981 movie Only When I Laugh, the last movie she made before her death. She could also be seen in Paul Simon's film One Trick Pony.

Personal life

From 1966 to 1973 she was married to actor Richard Mulligan, who also appeared in The Group.


Crypt of Joan Hackett at Hollywood Forever

Hackett was diagnosed with cancer in 1983. Hackett died in 1983 of ovarian cancer at Encino Hospital in Encino, in California. Both of her parents as well as her former husband Richard Mulligan also died of cancer. She is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where her epitaph reads "Go Away—I'm Asleep", a reference to her love of beauty sleep.

Partial filmography

Selected television guest appearances

  • 1960 Diagnosis: Unknown in "Gina, Gina" (episode 1.7) September 6
  • 1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents playing "Sylvia" in episode: "Servant Problem" (episode #6.34) June 6
  • 1962 The New Breed (1961) playing Angie in episode: "Cross the Little Line" (episode #1.15) January 9
  • 1962 The Twilight Zone (1959) playing "Esther Fortune" in episode: "A Piano in the House" (episode # 3.22) February 16
  • 1962 Gunsmoke (1955) playing "Mady Arthur" in episode: "The Widow" (episode # 7.25) March 24
  • 1963 Combat! (1962) playing "Gabrielle" in episode: "The Chateau" (episode # 1.19) February 12
  • 1963 Empire (1962) playing Dolores Lanza in episode: "Between Friday and Monday" (episode # 1.31) May 7
  • 1964 Channing (1963) playing Djuna Phrayne in episode: "A Rich, Famous, Glamorous Folk Singer Like Me" (episode # 1.15) January 8
  • 1964 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962) playing "Helen Clarvoe" in episode: "Beast in View" (episode # 2.21) March 20
  • 1965 Bonanza (1959) playing "Margarita Miguel" in episode: "Woman of Fire" (episode # 6.17) January 17
  • 1966 Run for Your Life (1965) playing Diana Murrow in episode: "The Sex Object" (episode # 2.6) October 17
  • 1967 Judd, for the Defense (1967) playing Ruth Massey in episode: "The Living Victim" (episode # 1.14) December 15
  • 1969 Daniel Boone (1964) playing "Theodora Liggett" in episode: "A Pinch of Salt" (episode #5.26) May 1
  • 1971 Dan August (1970) playing Nancy Williams in "The Assassins" (episode # 1.26) April 8
  • 1971 Alias Smith and Jones playing Alice Banion in "The Legacy of Charlie O'Rourke" (episode # 1.15)
  • 1979 Trapper John, M.D. (1979) playing "Wilma" in episode: "The Surrogate" (episode # 1.10) December 23
  • 1979 Taxi playing "Charlotte", the sister of "Alex Reiger" in episode: "Honor Thy Father" (season 2, episode 2) aired on 18 September 1979
  • 1982 Paper Dolls (1982) playing "Julia Blake" mother of teen model Taryn Blake


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, October 12, 1983.
  2. ^ "The Palm Beach Post". 
  3. ^,,20082225,00.html accessed 8/16/14
  4. ^ accessed 8/16/14

External links

  • Joan Hackett at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Twilight ZoneAllmovie Review of her episode of
  • Combat!Review of her episode of
  • episodeBonanzaAllmovie Plot synopsis of her 1965
  • Joan Hackett at Find a Grave
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