Susan Oliver (Susan Oliver)

Susan  Oliver

Actress. Director. Pilot. Born Charlotte Gercke to journalist George Gercke and Ruth Hale Oliver. Her parents were divorced by the time she was 3 years old. Both sets of grandparents were well off, so she led a very privileged life during her early years. As a child she went to a variety of public schools and to a boarding school for four years. Susan’s mother was a noted Hollywood astrologist, who passed away in 1988. She spent over a year with her father and his new wife in Japan. When she returned to America, she studied Drama at Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College followed by professional training at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City and worked in summer stock. She adopted the stage name Susan Oliver and first appeared on television playing a supporting role in the July 31, 1955 episode of the live drama series Goodyear TV Playhouse, followed by parts in other Golden Age of TV shows. In 1957 she went to Los Angeles and acted in her first movie, “The Green Eyed Blond.” She played Vina, in the episode “The Menagerie” from the 1960s TV series Star Trek, which has become a classic episode. In 1966 she appeared in the continuing role of Ann Howard on ABC’s prime-time serial “Peyton Place.” She was a genuine flying enthusiast who piloted her own aircraft. She co-piloted her Piper Comanche to victory in 1970 in the 2,760 mile transcontinental race known as the “Powder Puff Derby”. She was named Pilot of the Year that same year. Oliver attempted to become the first woman to fly a single-engine plane solo from New York to Moscow, but was deterred in Denmark when the Soviet government denied her permission to enter their air space. Her 1983 memoirs were titled “Odyssey: A Daring Transatlantic Journey.” She made dozens of TV guest appearances and briefly was a regular on the soap opera Days of Our Lives (1975-76). In 1964 she co-starred opposite George Hamilton in “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” portraying Audrey Williams, wife of country music legend Hank Williams. She received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in the 1976 made-for-TV drama, Amelia Earhart. Playing Amelia’s friend and mentor, aviatrix Neta “Snookie” Snook. She directed episodes of M*A*S*H and other television shows. Her film roles include “Butterfield 8,” for which she was nominated for an Oscar in a supporting role (1960) and Hardly Working (1981). She played in more than one hundred different television shows and made-for-TV movies. She died from lung cancer in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 58. There is some question about her birth year, but most feel it was 1932 because the dates of her college records are between 1949 and 1953.

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  • Susan Oliver -

Born

  • February, 13, 1932
  • USA
  • New York

Died

  • May, 10, 1990

Other

  • Cremated

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