JoAnna Cameron, the star of the CBS Saturday morning show Isis — later dubbed The Secrets of Isis — of the '70s, has died following a stroke.
She was just 70.
Cameron's Isis co-star Joanna Pang Atkins, announced the death on Twitter, writing:
"Sad to post that JoAnna Cameron 'The Mighty Isis' has flown to heaven. She suffered a stroke and passed away from complications on Friday, 10/15. We shared the wonderful lasting experience of making 'The Secrets of Isis'. May she RIP."
When Isis bowed in 1975, it became the first American live-action TV series featuring a woman superhero as its lead — beating Wonder Woman and Lynda Carter by a year — and was also noteworthy for providing a juicy role for an Asian woman, Pang Atkins's Cindy Lee. (She left after one season.)
Isis followed teacher Andrea Thomas, who unearths the legendary Tutmose amulet, allowing her to transform into Egyptian goddess Isis at will. Long before the superhero craze, it featured crossover appearances by Captain Marvel (John Davey) of the companion series Shazam! (1974-1977).
The series was canceled after Season 2 in spite of its popularity.
Born September 20, 1951, Cameron starred in over 100 commercials, landing her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
A raving beauty, she made her film debut opposite comedy iconsBob Hope and Jackie Gleason in 1969's How to Commit Marriage, going on to appear in I Love My Wife (1970) with Elliott Gould and Brenda Vaccaro, Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971) — one of Quentin Tarantino's all-time favorites —with Rock Hudson, and B.S. I Love You (1971).
She guested on a number of TV series and starred in the memorable 1973 satire The Great American Beauty Contest, a TV movie in which she played an earnest feminist who enters a beauty contest in order to trash it once she wins. Along the way, she faces competition from Farrah Fawcett, Susan Anton, Tracy Reed and Barbi Benton, and is schooled on her world view by Eleanor Parker. It's phenomenal.
Other TV work included Columbo (1974), McMillan & Wife (1977), The Amazing Spider-Man (1978), Switch (1975 & 1978), and her last role, which was — ironically — in the TV movie Swan Song (1980).
After retiring from acting, she worked in home healthcare as a nurse and in hotel marketing in Hawaii.
Don't miss this fan's truly sweet memory of meeting JoAnna at what I gather was a fairly rare appearance at a sci-fi show.