R.I.P. Jacqueline Scott, who played both the Fugitive's sister and Festus' love interest
She also played Dennis Weaver's wife in 'Duel'. She was 89.
Read to Me
"Once I'd be the good girl and once I'd be the bad girl," Jacqueline Scott told the blog Classic Film & TV Café in a 2016 interview. "I wanted to play all different characters. And I got to do that." Indeed, looking back at the half-century career of Scott, the thing that jumps out is her range.
While never landing a recurring lead role on a television series, the Missouri native nevertheless crafted unforgettable characters, while working alongside legends of the small screen.
Her most notable role is perhaps that of Donna Kimble Taft, sister of the falsely accused Dr. Richard Kimble (she called him "Dick") on The Fugitive. She first appears in the early episode "Home Is the Hunted," with Bill Mumy and Clint Howard as her kids, crying tears of both joy and panic when her brother (David Janssen) reaches out to her on the run. Her character would appear in five episodes, including the epic, record-breaking finale "The Judgment: Part II."
Like, on Gunsmoke, Smith made a mere handful of appearances but cut a memorable path through Dodge City. She portrayed the title character in "Abelia," a tough widow whose life is threatened by bank robbers and snake bites. Festus comes to her aid — and becomes a bit smitten with Abelia. She would return in "A Man Called 'Smith'" and "The Predators."
Again, Smith worked with some impressive child stars in those tales. In "Abelia," Susan Olsen of The Brady Bunch portrayed her daughter, in one of her first-ever roles. Jodie Foster is by her side in "The Predators."
Abelia was not her first character in Dodge City. Smith can be found in earlier black-and-white episodes such as "Love of a Good Woman," as the similarly named Abbie, a former nurse of Doc's.
She was Amelia in her first of three Perry Mason appearance, in the gripping, twisty early mystery "The Case of the Daring Decoy." Years later, she reunited with Raymond Burr for a couple of episodes of Ironside.
Elsewhere, while Scott was typically cast as "the wife," she continued to demonstrate her mesmerizing acting range. She was an outlaw's spouse on Bonanza in "The Hostage," the partner of an astronaut in The Twilight Zone's "The Parallel," and the significant other of Dennis Weaver in the brilliant Steven Spielberg made-for-TV chase Duel.
Quinn Martin, the producer of The Fugitive, constantly utilized her skills, casting her in his other productions such as The F.B.I., The Streets of San Francisco, Cannon and Barnaby Jones.
One of her earliest roles was Macabre, the 1958 horror film directed by the visionary William Castle. It was on that set where Scott met her husband, press agent Gene Lesser.
Scott nearly had a lead role. She auditioned for the part of Olivia on The Waltons. "I wanted to do The Waltons. I tested for the mother," she told Classic Film & TV Café. "Other than that, I never wanted to be a regular on a TV series."
On July 23, Scott died in her home in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 89.