There was a rumor Lee Meriwether was going to marry Joe DiMaggio

They were just friends. She tied the knot instead with this Sixties TV star.

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Lee Meriwether is an actor known to classic TV fans for exciting early roles like her portrayal of Catwoman in the 1966 Batman movie.

In the Seventies, she impressed while acting alongside some of classic TV’s favorite leading men, cast on shows like Barnaby Jones and The New Andy Griffith Show.

But before all that, in the 1950s, Meriwether felt that she had no acting skills at all, despite appearing on TV as early as 1954. She said she was going purely on gut instinct when acting onscreen in these early appearances.

"As far as acting was concerned, I didn’t know the teacup from my fingernail," Meriwether told the Pacific Daily News in 1974.

So, after winning the Miss America crown in 1955, young Lee Ann Meriwether, as she was known then, took her scholarship money straight to the Actors Studio. There, she planned to finally study acting and extend her skills to pursue more work onscreen.

The very next year, rumors started flying, when the nationally known columnist Walter Winchell reported in mid-1956 that Meriwether would wed ex-Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio, who at that time was not long divorced from Marilyn Monroe.

According to Winchell, he accompanied Meriwether and DiMaggio on a tour of Atlantic City nightspots on a Saturday night and, "At the 500 Club, when their starry-eyed presence was noted and greeted with a public announcement that they would soon marry, Lee Ann gave a gasp and Joe looked down at the tablecloth – but they wouldn’t say a word in denial."

Although DiMaggio’s relationship with Monroe was famously tumultuous, the baseball player never remarried after her death. On his own deathbed, his last words stand as a record to his devotion to Monroe. "I’ll finally get to see Marilyn," he said.

Meriwether denied the rumors that she was engaged to DiMaggio, insisting they were only friends.

"I am not getting married to DiMaggio and we are not engaged," Meriwether told the The Alternative Press in 1956. "I hope this story doesn’t spoil our friendship."

Instead, Meriwether got engaged a few years later to the actor Frank Aletter, whom she met in her acting classes.

The story goes that Aletter won Meriwether’s heart because of "many things" like being "kind and considerate and very gentle," Meriwether told the The Alternative Press in 1958.

She also joked that she liked him because "he can talk like Donald Duck."

The couple met in 1957 and they got engaged when Aletter slid a one-carat diamond ring on Meriwether’s finger on New Year’s Eve 1958.

They wed in Meriwether’s hometown San Francisco, inviting friends and family to a church for an afternoon wedding where Meriwether walked down the aisle in a lace and satin gown.

They were deeply in love by then, and Aletter’s wedding band was inscribed to say "For Ever..." and Meriwether’s "...and Ever."

Aletter and Meriwether remained married as both of their careers took off.

For him, that meant starring in the short-lived Sixties sitcom Bringing Up Buddy after a brilliant Broadway career.

When that series was cancelled, Aletter continued appearing all over TV in series like The Twilight Zone and Perry Mason. Then he was cast again as a series lead in The Cara Williams Show.

Again, the series failed and Aletter developed an unfortunate reputation as an actor who couldn’t carry his own TV show.

Meanwhile, Meriwether’s acting classes paid off, as she too appeared in iconic roles in Sixties series Star Trek, Batman, and Perry Mason. She impressed so much, she even joined the cast of The Time Tunnel, her first major series role.

That series, too, was fated to be as short-lived as Aletter’s, but both continued acting as their family grew to include two daughters.

Through the Seventies, both actors remained busy, appearing on hit shows and movies, and Meriwether said by 1974 when she was cast in Barnaby Jones, their marriage had become strained.

"If you become too emotional, you carry your anxiety over to your family," Meriwether told the Pacific Daily News in 1974. "The important thing is not to bring outside anxieties into your home."

That year, they separated amicably, and then divorced.

"We separated because we thought it was better for the children," Meriwether said. "We’re both mature adults, so there was no trauma involved in the separation."

Meriwether remarried in 1986 to actor Marshall Borden, but like DiMaggio, Aletter never remarried.

When she was newly divorced, Meriwether threw herself into Barnaby Jones, enjoying her time working with a top-notch TV star like Buddy Ebsen.

"Buddy is a dream of the first order," Meriwether said.

Andy Griffith, who twice acted as Meriwether’s husband, said she was just as dreamy to work with.

"She’s a professional," Griffith told the The Washington Post in 1974. "Besides, she is pretty and just about anyone who sees her just knows that she is a nice person."

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PulsarStargrave 22 months ago
Without question Ms.Meriwether remains my favorite CATWOMAN followed closely by Michelle Pfeiffer! She really captured the essence of a character who had only relatively recently returned from publishing limbo in the 60s! Another favorite character was what I think T.V.Guide described as "...a sad faced Siren!" on STAR TREK!

Like Kathryn Leigh Scot (Josette DuPres/Dark Shadows) Ms.Meriwether only seems to become more beutiful every year!
JHP 24 months ago
she was smokin - as so very pretty on Barnaby Jones
DethBiz JHP 24 months ago
Miss Kitka!
Nala92129 25 months ago
Joe's heart belonged to Marilyn.
DethBiz Nala92129 24 months ago
And Myrna Fahey.
JHP 25 months ago
she was smokin!

signed Joe:)
Delmo 25 months ago
Frank Aletter a tv star? More like a tv actor.
MarkSpeck 25 months ago
One of Lee Meriwether's and Frank Aletter's daughters, Kyle Aletter, followed Mom into acting, appearing a couple of times on Barnaby Jones, and later became one of the models on The Price Is Right.
F5Twitster 25 months ago
“Meanwhile, Meriwether’s acting classes paid off, as she too appeared in iconic roles in Sixties series Star Trek, Batman, and Perry Mason.”

Meriwether never appeared in the “Batman” television series, itself; she played Catwoman/Miss Kitka in the 1966 feature film based on the series.
LoveMETV22 F5Twitster 25 months ago
King Tut's Coup- S2 E53:
Batman's Waterloo- S2 E54:
" appeared in two episodes of the Batman TV series in 1967 as Lisa Carson, a love interest to Bruce Wayne in the episodes "King Tut's Coup" and "Batman's Waterloo".,%22%20and%20%22Batman's%20Waterloo%22.

So those two episodes aren't the television series? just curious?

LoveMETV22 F5Twitster 25 months ago
Lee Meriwether as Lisa Carson (Batman)the series
PulsarStargrave LoveMETV22 22 months ago
"Milk and cookies you say?"

She made the cookies herself...

(Great day in the morning!)
Deleted 25 months ago
This comment has been removed.
DDDDDuane 25 months ago
What ever gave you that idea? This article?
Michael 25 months ago
These webpages are bad enough with the bouncing and clutter. But tonight the ad that pops up at the bottom of the screen can't be dismissed. That's really annoying when making comments.
JHP Michael 25 months ago
hint hint - ublock original
Pacificsun 25 months ago
A not so simple visit to wiki shows he co-starred in an ill-fated Sherwood Schwartz TV Series, who's only came to fame was the intriguing theme song. "It's About Time ... It's About Space.

Aletter had a regular role in It's About Time, a Sherwood Schwartz series on CBS in 1966–1967
Pacificsun Pacificsun 25 months ago
... that should be claim to fame ...

I didn't want to repost it and loose the YouTube link, which is pretty cool for the sound and lyrics!
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 25 months ago
I’ve watched clips from that show. I would have loved to have watched when I was about 10 years old.
Michael MrsPhilHarris 25 months ago
I was 7 when it aired. I did watch it. Midway through the season, they reverse, everyone in the present, the cave people lost in modern society.

It's most important legacy is the variation of the theme song the kids at school sang.

"It's about time, it's about space, it's about time I slap your face".

I was thinking about that. Where would mivies and tv be without face slaps? Will Smith was influenced by generations of it.
MrsPhilHarris Michael 25 months ago
That is so true. I watch the old, classic movies and if someone isn’t getting slapped, some is talking about slapping someone.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 25 months ago
Actually (IMO) The Three Stooges inspired it, but it came from old Vaudeville routines and early movies, when physical comedy was the standard. Perhaps because audio technology wasn't sufficient.

Teachers in school were busy correcting the boys if they tried any of those moves on each other!
bbaorbb 25 months ago
"Aletter never remarried."
A simple visit to IMDb shows that he did remarry:
Spouse Estella R Gelerter (26 May 1984 - 13 May 2009) (his death)
Lee Meriwether (20 April 1958 - February 1974) (divorced) (2 children)
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