Mayberry's Joyce Jameson was the most ''Fun Girl'' Robert Vaughn ever met

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. star thought his friend deserved to be the next Carol Burnett, but she was typecast.

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In Mayberry, a pair of gal pals named Daphne and Skippy, known as the "Fun Girls," showed up a few times to shake things up on The Andy Griffith Show. Daphne usually ended up on Andy's arm, and Skippy on Barney's.

Usually, we think of the two actors who played the Fun Girls — Jean Carson and Joyce Jameson — as an inseparable pair, but today we want to take a moment to split the duo and give Joyce Jameson a little special attention.

Because, as it turns out, Jameson did have a best friend who stuck by her side and considered her one of the most "fun girls" he ever met. That friend was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. star Robert Vaughn.

Vaughn described his special friendship with Jameson in his autobiography, A Fortunate Life.

"She was the most fascinating girl I ever met," Vaughn wrote.

He said they met in 1957, well before The Man from U.N.C.L.E. premiered in 1964, when Vaughn was invited by Ken Berry's future wife, Jackie Joseph, to watch the Billy Barnes Revue.

"You ought to come and see the show," Jackie said. "You'll like it. And Joyce is the woman for you. She's sexy, funny, smart, and she does a terrific Marilyn Monroe."

Vaughn was sold, so he went to the show, where he and Jameson instantly clicked. She became his girlfriend, his longest relationship as a bachelor, he said.

"She moved in, out, and through my life for the next dozen years," Vaughn wrote, remembering that he found Joyce to be everything Jackie promised "and more."

At that point, Jameson was known for her impressions. She could do Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland or Bette Davis at the drop of a hat. But she was best known for her Marilyn.

One review in a "Hollywood Today" column joked that Marilyn Monroe could sleep easier when Jameson stopped doing her "devastating" impression of the pop icon. That decision came at a moment when Jameson hoped to do more with her career than lean into playing ditzy blondes. One show that allowed her to show her range was The Waltons, which cast her as a dance contestant in "The Marathon." She breaks down crying and screams, "Spanky, no!"

Jameson on 'The Waltons'

But she never could escape the "dumb blonde" stereotype, and over time, Vaughn said he watched his former girlfriend and longtime friend grow depressed.

Vaughn remained her friend until the end, at one point insisting that she see a psychiatrist, but in 1984, Jameson took her own life, tragically, just like Marilyn Monroe.

"On The Steve Allen Show, she created a character that she called her 'dummy,'" Vaughn said. "Her dummy was the Honee Girl, and she was Joyce's take on a Marilyn Monroe type who she identified with personally, the Hollywood blonde whose life ended tragically."

Vaughn knew early on that there was so much more to Jameson than her impressions and the empty-headed girls she played.

"Critics called Joyce the most versatile comedienne with sex appeal of her era," Vaughn said. "I agreed."

Unfortunately, Jameson soon became irreversibly typecast for playing ditzy blondes, and Vaughn said this ended up limiting how much fame she could hope to achieve. He thought if people knew how witty, funny and smart she was, she could've been as big as Carol Burnett.

"Her greatest professional shortcoming was her inability to present the same pleasing, warm personality to an audience," Vaughn said, explaining she could pivot between many different personalities that he described as "pleasant, provocative and fun to be with."

"This was the fatal flaw that prevented her from enjoying the kind of career she otherwise enjoyed — hosting a comedy show on television, like the one featuring the well-loved Carol Burnett," Vaughn said.

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WhiteRook 8 days ago
I recall Joyce Jameson and Robert Vaughn working together on The Man from U,N.C.L.E. I could tell their was definitely something going on between them.
TheProf51 26 days ago
I remember faintly hearing a ditzy blond comedian uttering the question, "coopcake, hoh-nee?" which was really "cupcake, honey?". Also this comment, "my plezz-youre, I'm syoo-er" or "my pleasure, I'm sure". I picture Joyce Jameson or maybe Barbara Nichols, who had that kind of accent. Some 50's nuggets, none-the-less.
TeeTwoThree 30 days ago
Great piece on Ms. Jameson. One correction should be made: Ms. Jameson died on January 16, 1987, not 1984.
Moonpie 1 month ago
She was great on her two Munsters episodes.
EricFuller 1 month ago
Another comparison would be Judy Holiday, who passed away too soon.
Johnnyp 1 month ago
I love Joyce, Very talented lady. She was hilarious in her movies with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. And if you search you tube for her skit with Sid Caesar on Ed Sullivan, it’s hysterical. She was also a well trained opera singer. So sad how she passed
denny 1 month ago
Not sure if true, but someone on imdb board years ago claiming to be her daughter said she had cancer and was dying, so she ended herself. She was also saloon gal in The Outlaw Josey Wales, near the end of the movie.
Kai denny 1 month ago
Damn, you're right! I've seen that movie many times, and am very familiar with her Griffith character, but never put the two together.
DethBiz 1 month ago
Loved Joyce Jameson in the Comedy of Terrors with Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. She was also great in the 1975 flic Death Race 2000.
TheDavBow3 1 month ago
Very sad about Joyce Jameson. Truly was a versatile and super talented actress. And very intelligent! Vaughn's autobiography is a very interesting read
Pacificsun TheDavBow3 1 month ago
Wish I could give you 2 likes!!
stephaniestavropoulos 1 month ago
For all of you soap fans out there, who among you recognized who Joyce Jameson's dance partner was?!?! That was none other than Bernard Barrow, who the following year, {the JJ episode aired in 1974,} went on to star as the patriarch on Ryan's Hope, playing John Ryan. (Which aired "on another network." The Walton's aired on CBS and Ryan's Hope, aired on ABC.)
Bernard Barrow was not Joyce's dance partner on that episode of The Waltons. He was the man in charge of the marathon. Joyce's dance partner was Lennie Weinrib
Pacificsun 1 month ago
Dang I’ve never seen Robert Vaughn take a bad picture! 😉 But I digress… !

Fortunately the MFU series was on MeTV from 2015 through 2017 and the episode “The Dippy Blond Affair” was written just for her! An irreverent review can be read at this link.
http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/2010/02/dippy-blonde-affair-ep-216.html

It is indeed encouraging that MeTV Staff took time to read Robert Vaughn’s autobiography, which for fans is chocked full of chatty Hollywood gossip and namedropping! With a relatively small portion devoted to MFU. His recollections confirm what the Hollywood "scene" was like back then. And from his own perspective, was about glamor and networking among contemporaries. How everyone seemed to know everyone else! Yet it could be devastatingly competitive and discouraging (as the article points out). The lesson learned, which RV shares, is about what it took to achieve Star status. And much of it was about being in the right place at the right time! An apt title for his book!

Of course this article is meant to highlight Ms. Jameson’s appearances on TAGS and Gomer Pyle, by contributing her special talents of humor and sparkle! The one thing not mentioned here (which should be read under the “fun girls” hyperlink (https://www.metv.com/lists/10-things-you-never-knew-about-the-fun-girls-of-the-andy-griffith-show ) was Ms. Jameson’s intellectual strength! A graduate of UCLA and well read. The equivalent of RV who was pursuing his doctorate in communications and his focus on politics. Had Ms. Jameson simply been a “fun girl” in his life, the relationship wouldn’t have developed into the deep friendship that it did. A mark of Vaughn’s sensitivity and loyalty!

Thanks MeTV Staff for a great story!
TheDavBow3 Pacificsun 1 month ago
I believe that pic of RV might have come from his role in "Bullitt"
OldTVfanatic TheDavBow3 1 month ago
It is from Bullitt.
Pacificsun TheDavBow3 1 month ago
Right you are!
Andybandit 1 month ago
Wow, I didn't know that about those lady. Funny, I just saw Robert Vaughn on Columbo on January 31st.
teire 1 month ago
A sad story, but very interesting to learn more about someone so memorable.
texasluva 1 month ago
Some actors get typecast through a just a few years of TV Shows. It gets stuck to them like glue. Many able through time to get out while others will forever be known as. Sadly later to find out they have passed on because their own thought and shortcomings in life.
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Pacificsun TheDavBow3 1 month ago
Later in his life, I think he was in a series called "Hustle" too. I've only seen it on YouTube and he had a minor part appearing with an ensemble cast. My quickest impression was that they created capers somewhat like Mission Impossible. So it was a good way to stretch their talents!
TheDavBow3 Pacificsun 1 month ago
Yes! I forgot about that! He played Albert. Such a great show! Jaime Murray was in it. Beautiful lady. I always thought the younger blonde guy on the show sounded a lot like the Geico Gecko's voice 😂. But awesome show.
TheDavBow3 Pacificsun 1 month ago
And I remember him guesting on one of the Law and Orders. His character was in a wheel chair and he had pure white hair. I wonder if that was a real life circumstance as well. Good episode. Maybe one this last acting jobs
texasluva Pacificsun 1 month ago
!!Wanted!! but preferred Alive
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JohnDavid 1 month ago
Wow! I never knew any of that. I feel real bed for Miss Jameson. Robert V. should of married her. I would of loved seeing as more than what she was typed cast as. 1984 is only 20 years after the fun girls. I never knew she did that. My friend and I still mention the fun girls. They were great!
It's "should have", not "should of" & "would have", not "would of". Maybe you should read more & watch less TV.
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