R.I.P. Abby Dalton, star of The Joey Bishop Show and Falcon Crest
She also appeared in fantastic episodes of The Rifleman, Maverick and Rawhide — not to mention hundreds of game shows.
The Andy Griffith Show began as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show, but it was not the only hit sitcom spun off from the series. A year after "Danny Meets Andy Griffith" aired, the episode "Everything Happens to Me" launched a new show spotlighting a member of the Rat Pack. The Joey Bishop Show, at last, gave a major lead role to the most comedic (and longest-living) member of the Rat Pack.
Slotted after Wagon Train on NBC, The Joey Bishop Show piggybacked the top-rated Western and ranked at the 24th most-popular show on television in 1961. Nevertheless, the network was disappointed with the show, which bode well for Abby Dalton. NBC completely retooled the sitcom, changing the profession of Joey's character and adding a new wife, Ellie, played by Dalton. Joey lovingly called her "Texas."
Dalton was hardly a newcomer. The actress, who was from Nevada, actually, was coming off a three-season stint as the female lead on Hennesey, a military sitcom co-starred Jackie Cooper. That performance earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Series.
In the late 1950s, Dalton made a string of unforgettable appearances in popular Westerns. She managed to guest star in some of the best episodes of beloved series. Take "Duel at Sundown," for example, the Maverick tale that saw James Garner and Clint Eastwood trading punches over her. Speaking of Eastwood, around the same time, Dalton popped up as a female sharpshooter in "Incident West of Lano," a standout early episode of Rawhide.
On The Rifleman, she can be seen in "The Marshal," the episode that introduced Paul Fix as Micah Torrance. She had a knack for turning up in important episodes.
Decades later, Dalton landing another recurring gig on Falcon Crest, the long-running Eighties primetime soap. On that drama, she portrayed Julia Cumson, the daughter of matriarch Angela Channing (Jane Wyman). It was a role she played for nearly 100 episodes.
Outside of her acting, she could be most commonly found on TV inside a square on The Hollywood Squares. In fact, she popped up in more than 380 episodes of the game show — not to mention other favorites like Pyramid and Password.
On November 23, Dalton died in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 88.