Today, Pat Crowley — a too-often-overlooked TV mom — turns 88!
Pat was Joan Nash on the confection Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1965-1967), which definitely felt like it ushered The Brady Bunch into existence. Based on a best-selling book, it was a lovely sitcom about an English professor, his newspaper columnist wife, their four rowdy sons, their maid and Ladadog, a gigantic sheepdog.
Aside from this untaxing but beloved role, Pat appeared in three Broadway plays before launching a serious acting career on early live TV with shows like The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre (1950), Kraft Theatre (1950) and The Ford Theatre (1950). Another early highlight was Guilty Is the Stranger (1954) on Goodyear Television Playhouse opposite Paul Newman and Fay Bainter.
She made her film debut in Forever Female (1953) with William Holden (he was tough on her, but later apologized) and Ginger Rogers and then plunged into the world of Martin and Lewis with Money from Home (1953) and Hollywood or Bust (1956). She also worked opposite Tony Curtis in the film noir gem The Square Classic (1955) and Barbara Stanwyck (who she adored) in 1955's There's Always Tomorrow.
She had other film-career highlights, working with many greats, but always gravitated back to television whenever parts were not forthcoming.
Her taste in TV — or her good fortune! — was impeccable: she not only acted in many televised plays, she was a major part of the pilots for The Untouchables (1959) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), appeared on highly regarded shows like The Name of the Game (1971) and had a memorable turn as a victim on particularly filmic episode of Columbo (1971).
Crowley continued working steadily on TV through the '90s, including an appearance on Friends (1998), and had a long-running role on the soap Port Charles from 1997-2001.
In 1995, Roseanne Barr (RIP to that version of Roseanne Barr) graciously invited Pat and several other TV moms onto her hit show as a nod to their trailblazing — the others were Alley Mills, Barbara Billingsley, Isabel Sanford and June Lockhart.
Her last TV performances were on The Closer (2006) and Cold Case (2009) — still true to her dramatic roots — and her final film appearance was her first-ever indie, Mont Reve (2012), which was a passion project of a friend's daughter.
Here is an interview with her husband, TV producer Andy Friendly (who was 65 at the time), in which Pat is also seen:
Happy birthday to this class act.