Sherry Jackson wore her Star Trek costume to lunch and immediately got cast in a movie
The former Make Room for Daddy star landed a role in a spy caper thanks to this jumpsuit.
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Child stars tend to get typecast. Jerry Mathers could not shake being the Beaver. The Brady Kids are forever the Brady Kids. It's tough to claw out of the pigeonhole, unless you switch to the other side of the camera like Ron Howard.
Few young actors worked harder than Sherry Jackson to shed their sweet and innocent image. Looking at her as Andrea in the Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" — wearing that iconic green-blue jumpsuit — its easy to forget that Jackson was once Terry Williams, the 11-year-old daughter on Make Room for Daddy.
In her six seasons on Make Room for Daddy (later titled The Danny Thomas Show), Jackson went through her teenage years in front of the camera. Her final episode, "Terry Goes Steady," saw her worrying her dad that she might run away and elope. Turns out, Jackson was eager to flee the sitcom behind the scenes. Penny Parker briefly took over the role of Terry in 1959. Meanwhile, Jackson set to work diversifying her filmography.
She immediately played a runaway on 77 Sunset Strip in "The Kookie Caper," the first of a handful of appearances on that hip crime show. She was a true pistol married to an outlaw on Maverick in "Red Dog," the final episode starring Roger Moore. Perry Mason cast her as a murder suspect and client in "The Case of the Festive Felon."
Her path to Star Trek included guest appearances on The Twilight Zone and Batman. In the latter, she was the Riddler's moll, dressing up as Little Bo Peep to fool Robin.
And that brings us to 1966 and "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Jackson was dressed up and ready to play the android Andrea.
"I took the role very seriously, and gave much thought to what an android might think and feel,” Jackson said in a 2016 interview with The Spectrum. "I was only 24 and at the peak of my attractiveness. The outfit also helped make the episode memorable!"
She goes on to explain how Andrea's wardrobe landed her a part in a movie.
"A friend took me to lunch in the noisy Paramount commissary while I was wearing the costume. I'm terribly near-sighted and when we walked in, it got quieter and quieter, so I asked what was happening. Turns out, they were all looking at me. All the seats were full, so we got a table in the director's room where Blake Edwards happened to be sitting," she explained. "My friend told me he began pointing to me and giving hand signals to Craig Stevens in another part of the room and yelling to him 'Sam! Sam!' That turned out to be a character in Edwards' next film, Gunn, and I was offered the part."
Gunn happened to be the reboot of Peter Gunn, reuniting creator Blake Edwards with star Craig Stevens. It was clearly an attempt to ride in the wake of James Bond's popularity. Jackson was thus the "Gunn Girl" of the picture. Risqué scenes from the film, with Jackson in a towel, appeared in a 1967 issue of Playboy. "Make Room for Sherry," the headline declared. Turns out, people hadn't entirely forgotten her sitcom roots.