R.I.P. MIKKI JAMISON
Sad to report the death of sixties starlet and Drive-in Dream Girl Mikki Jamison on June 10th. She was close with the late Aron Kincaid (he called her “a great gal”) and even long after she abandoned acting to return to Spokane, Washington where she worked in travel they remained good friends. Photo is of them ca. 1962. I even remember that Aron did his best to convince her to grant me an interview for my Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies book, but she kept declining because she was doing a memoir about her life in show business and the travel industry. I am not sure if it ever came to be.
Mikki Jamison was born Mikki McGoldrick on December 13 in Spokane, Washington. Described as a tomboy as a child, the athletic adolescent blossomed into a dark-haired beauty who loved the outdoors and natural foods. After graduating from Lewis and Clark High School, she passed on college to enroll at the Pasadena Playhouse where she was discovered by Warner Bros. talent scout, Sollie Biano. The studio put her under option for a year in 1962, and used in a number of their TV shows most notably 77 Sunset Strip where she made four guest appearances. She was also the studio’s choice to represent them as their Hollywood Deb Star for 1962. Despite this accolade, Warner Bros. dropped her option soon after without using her in a single movie.
Jamison continued appearing on the small screen and became one of a myriad of young shapely freelance TV actresses who specialized in playing the girl next door on a number of sitcoms. Among her leading young men were Dwayne Hickman on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Rick Nelson on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Bill Bixby on My Favorite Martian. She also brought Veronica Lodge to life in the unsold TV pilot Archie in 1964.
Mikki Jamison finally got her chance to shine on the big screen in Beach Ball (1965), Paramount’s answer to AIP’s Beach Party movies. Jamison co-starred with Chris Noel, Gail Gerber and Brenda Benet as four staid coeds who as members of their college’s finance committee decide to give a loan to poor music student Edd Byrnes who needs the cash to pay for his band’s instruments. When the gals discover that they have been duped and that Byrnes and his buddies (Robert Logan, Aron Kincaid and Don Edmonds) are dropouts and beach bums, they rip up the check and flee the boys’ swinging Malibu bachelor pad. Back in their dorm, though Jamison’s Augusta wants to put them in jail, Noel’s character Susan comes up with a plan to get the guys to go back to school. To reach that end, the girls take off their glasses, tease up their hair and trek to the beach. One especially amusing scene is when the girls are pressured to don bikinis and slink out of the beach cabana. Augusta is then paired with Kincaid as Jack the lead singer of the Wigglers. As Augusta, Jamison’s character is the most cynical and apprehensive of the girls and Mikki gives the character a comedic bite.
Also in 1965, Jamison turned up as one of the ski bunnies in AIP’s Ski Party (1965) starring Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Deborah Walley and Yvonne Craig. Aron Kincaid is also in the film as Freddie Carter a pompous ski champion who has all the girls on campus crazy for him. Unfortunately, Jamison is wasted here as just one of the background ski girls.
Jamison was off both the big and small screens for a short period of time before she was cast as Jean Reed, wife of Officer Jim Reed (Kent McCord) on the hit series Adam-12 in 1969. She was scheduled to play a recurring role, as her character was to represent the frustrating life being married to a police officer but she appeared in only two episodes. In “A Rare Occasion,” Jamison gives a particular convincing performance. Her character becomes more and more perturbed with her husband Jim who can’t keep his mind on her dinner party due to the hospitalization of two of his fellow policeman and his need to deal with a stoned teenage neighbor (David Cassidy).
In the mid-seventies, Mikki Jamison married attorney Gary Olsen who encouraged his new wife to give acting a try again. Now billed as Mikki Jamison-Olsen, she starred opposite Beach Ball co-star, Robert Logan, in The Sea Gypsies (1978). Playing a photojournalist, Jamison’s character inveigles her way onto Logan’s boat to document his around the world sailboat trip with his two young daughters and a young stowaway. Off the Alaskan coast, the boat is shipwrecked and the small party is marooned on an uninhabited island where the castaways are threatened by a bear and a whale.
Mikki Jamison gave up acting for good shortly thereafter to work as a Tour Director for Brennan Tours where she got to travel the world.