R.I.P. Bridget Hanley, the sweet Candy Pruitt from Here Come the Brides
The self-described ''tomboy'' played the love interest of teen idol Bobby Sherman.
When Here Come the Brides premiered in 1968, the papers pitched its redheaded star as a tomboy. In a syndicated entertainment column, Bridget Hanley was shown in midair, floating above the dirt in a frock, a football cocked back in her arm like Bart Starr. Her uncle, Dick Hanley, had been the head football coach at Northwestern University. Her father, Lee F. Hanley, played for the Wildcats.
Her pop and his four brothers grew up in Spokane, Washington, across the street from Bing Crosby.
You could say Bridget was the perfect actress to play the lead in Here Come the Brides, a lighthearted Western rom-com loosely based on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The show was set in the lumberjacking community of Seattle, Washington. Men needed female companionship, so, well, "Here Come the Brides." Hanley herself grew up in Seattle.
"I was a real tomboy," she told the papers in 1968. "The family lived on a big property that had a forest. Some of the tree camps my sisters and I built are still up." Her high school track coach wanted her to run on the boys' team — until her dad put the kibosh on that idea.
Here Come the Brides aired for two seasons as the Sixties came to a close, on the tail end of the Western television boom. Mark Lenard (Star Trek), David Soul (Starsky and Hutch), and teen idol Bobby Sherman filled out the cast alongside Hanley. Sherman played her love interest. The show also happened to feature the only dramatic, non-martial arts role in Bruce Lee's career — he appeared in one episode as a guest.
A decade later, Hanley landed a starring role in Harper Valley PTA, alongside former Jeannie Barbara Eden. In between, the actress popped on shows such as Love, American Style, Welcome Back, Kotter, Emergency!, CHiPs and The Odd Couple. She married director/producer E.W. Swackhamer, who helmed episodes of The Partridge Family, The Rookies, Hazel, Gidget and, yes, Here Come the Brides.
Hanley switched acting gears and transitioned to more stage work later in her career. Hanley passed away on December 15, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 80.