Joyce Meadows’ creative life began at a very early age. Joyce Burger was born on a farm in Arrowwood, Alberta, Canada, and she could always be found singing and dancing for anyone who would listen or watch her. She recalls singing “This Little Light of Mine” on the back porch to her family at the age of four.Joyce Meadows-2 [small for web]

It wasn’t until she was eight years old and living in Montana that she even saw her first movie. Her family moved to Sacramento, California shortly after that, and in high school, she had leads in all her school plays. She also formed a song-and-dance team with her best girlfriend over the years, Ruby Chandler Racine. It was during her school years that she experienced her passion to perform and realized that acting was the profession for her, and at Sacramento’s Little Eaglet Theater she played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. She also pursued a music career, studying voice at the Geary Conservatory and musicianship and voice with Lyle and Laura Hart. In addition to singing, Joyce also taught herself guitar. She eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career, studying with legendary drama coach Jeff Corey. Joyce received a scholarship to study at the Pasadena Playhouse, and also studied acting with Mira Rostova and Stella Adler in New York.

Joyce soon found herself getting lots of work in Hollywood, appearing in over 200 television episodes on the major networks. Some of her most memorable were the four starring roles on Alfred Hitchcock’s series. Not noted for repeating stars, the immortal Hitchcock saw something special in her work and kept requesting her for additional episodes. Some of the other classic series she appeared in include General Electric Theater, The Millionaire, Tales of Wells Fargo, M Squad, Johnny Ringo, The Texan, Bachelor Father, 77 Sunset Strip, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Cheyenne, Wagon Train, Lawman, Maverick, Slattery’s People, The F.B.I., Perry Mason, the soap operas The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, and General Hospital, and later in her career, Santa Barbara, L. A. Law, Punky Brewster, and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. She also had recurring roles in two series, The Man and the Challenge and Two Faces West.Joyce Meadows-20 (small)

Her first feature film role was her most famous, when she co-starred with John Agar in the 1957 cult classic, The Brain From Planet Arous. Despite its exploitive title, it’s one of the most beloved 1950s low-budget films in its genre. Joyce appeared in many other motion pictures, including The Girl in Lovers Lane, Walk Tall, Frontier Gun, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Back Street, Zebra in the Kitchen, True Identity, and Bad Influence. She also starred in numerous made-for-TV movies, such as Murder of Innocence, Something to Live For, and The Sitter.

Despite her success as an actress, Joyce never left her music far behind. In 1968, she traveled to Vietnam and put on her own USO show with three musicians and a comic. She later devoted herself to social service, and for several years was involved with the Meridian Theater, which worked with mentally impaired adults from the ages of 16 to 45. Here she felt the thrill of witnessing how the art of performing could help others express themselves beyond what they thought they could do. This experience led her into other areas of education, and she conducted drama workshops in schools from California to Virginia. These classes went well beyond the common “how to” lectures so often given, as she instead provided her students with a real feeling of what it is like to be performing on stage. She also appeared at media events, where her workshops have been extremely popular and well-received, as she’s gotten top reviews from drama and English teachers, as well as supervisors.Joyce Meadows-92 (small for web)

The stage has always been the place where Joyce has felt the most comfortable, rewarding, and creative, and her theater career has been a memorable  one, including being directed by Broadway star Tony Tanner in such classics as Hamlet (Gertrude), Moliere’s Learned Ladies (Pilamente/Belise), King Lear (Goneril), Media (the Nurse), Scenario for Orestia (Clytemnestra). Other roles include Scanarelle (Nurse), Glass Menagerie (Amanda), Richard III (Queen Margaret), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena), The Subject Was Roses (Nettie), The Rainmaker (Lissie), and Romeo and Juliet (Lady Capulet). Among her greatest triumphs was her own creation, Will Will Fulfill, Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Performance.

To read an interview I did with author Tom Lisanti, please visit Sixties Cinema.



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