Mary Stuart (Mary Stuart)

Mary Stuart

Actress, Singer and Lyricist. She is best remembered for her role as ‘Joanne “Jo” Gardner’ on the CBS daytime television soap opera “Search for Tomorrow,” that aired from 1951 until 1986. Born Mary Stuart Houchins in Miami, Florida, her family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. When she was nine years old, Count Basie’s orchestra came to Tulsa and held a contest to find a young female singer to perform with them. They chose her, and she sang “Little Girl Blue” on two of their shows. She sang with local bands at age 12 and performed with the USO at various military bases during her high school years. After graduating from Tulsa Central High School, she worked as a photojournalist before moving to New York City, New York to pursue an acting career. A hat check girl and table photographer at New York’s Hotel Roosevelt Grill, she had started to sing on the club stage when she was discovered by producer Joe Pasternak who put her under contract with MGM. She moved to California but only received small obscure parts in several movies in the 1940s, including “The Big Street” (1942, with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball), “The Girl From Jones Beach” (with Ronald Reagan), “The Hucksters” (1947, with Clark Gable), “This Time for Keeps” (1947, with Esther Williams), “Adventures of Don Juan” (1948, with Errol Flynn), and “The Girl From Jones Beach” (1949, with Ronald Reagan), before signing a three-year contract with Warner Brothers in 1948. After her contract was terminated, CBS offered her a role in a new undertaking that would become known as the soap opera, or daytime serial. Their first project, “The First Hundred Years,” was cancelled after only one year on the air. While wary of launching a second show, CBS saw a future in daytime television soap operas and they commissioned a second series. The new serial was called “Search for Tomorrow” and she was cast as the Midwestern housewife ‘Joanne Gardner’ that turned out to be very successful. She was the only soap star to receive a primetime Emmy nomination for performance in a series. A capable vocalist, she collaborated with Percy Faith on an album in 1956 and with Michel Legrand in 1973. She also played guitar and wrote and sang songs on “Search for Tomorrow.” During her role as ‘Joanne Gardner’, she and co-star Larry Haines were given a special Emmy recognition for their work. In 1988 she played the role of ‘Judge Webber’ on the ABC daytime television soap opera “One Life to Live,” staying with it for a year. She then retired from acting but in 1996, she came out of retirement and accepted the role of ‘Meta Bauer’ on the CBS Daytime television soap opera “Guiding Light, “playing the part until her death. She died of a stroke at the age of 75 and after her death, it was revealed that she was also suffering from gastric and bone cancer. She was married to artist Michael Anthony (1946 to 1948), Time Life CEO Richard Krolik (1951 to 1966) and then Wolfgang Neumann (1986 until her death). In 1995 she was inducted into the Soap Opera Hall of Fame. An apron she wore while performing on “Search for Tomorrow” currently hangs in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Her autobiography entitled “Both of Me” was published in 1980. (bio by: William Bjornstad) Cause of death: Stroke

Born

  • July, 04, 1926
  • CountyFlorida

Died

  • February, 02, 2002
  • York

Cause of Death

  • Stroke

Cemetery

  • Lyons Plain Cemetery
  • Connecticut
  • USA

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