R.I.P. MIKKI JAMISON

scan0001Sad 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.

 

 

Comments: 27

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  • John Black

    Had never heard of that ARCHIE pilot before. I assume that it was intended to please the DOBIE GILLIS audience, since DOBIE had probably just ended (DOBIE GILLIS just came out on DVD today, finally!).

    ARCHIE is a strange property. A cruel puppet master, Archie continually plays the insecurities of Betty and Veronica against one another, although he appears to be a redheaded, freckle-faced boy with no discernible sex drive.

     
     
     
    • Very interesting and amusing take on Archie! Never thought of him that way. LOL Know there were a few failed Archie pilots. None were able to catch that comic book feel. As a kid in late 60s was a huge fan of their cartoon show and their music. “Sugar, Sugar” still one of my fave songs.

      Read about Dobie Gillis on DVD. There are so many shows I would love to buy and watch (like China Beach, Falcon Crest, Dallas) but just no time to do it.

       
  • John Black

    I remember one fun ARCHIE made-for-TV film (I think) that starred Karen Kopins as Veronica and Jim Carrey’s blonde ex-wife (can’t think of her name right now) as Betty.

    DOBIE GILLIS is memorable for the female guest stars: Yvonne Craig (several episodes), Tuesday Weld, Danielle de Metz, Mary Mitchel, Lyn Loring, Anna Capri, Cheryl Holdridge I think, Anita Sands, Sally Kellerman (whose autobiography is out now), and many others too numerous to mention.

     
     
     
  • Bill

    Wow. What a music line-up in Beach Ball!
    I’m reading Impossible Dream.. the story of the
    Walker Brothers right now. Scott Walker had a
    voice that was 2nd to none. Thx Tom for the story
    on Mikki and the vids!
    Call me crazy but with a better script, Archie might
    have been a hit, due to all that read it religiously
    as I did.

     
     
     
    • Thanks for heads up on Walker book. They had a great sound and always curious why they did not hit it bigger.

       
  • Bill

    Here’s a great article on Scott and the brothers.
    They were HUGE in the UK. Had more ppl
    in their fan club than the Beatles. I highly
    recommend the documentary about Scott
    . http://m.thetyee.ca/ArtsAndCulture/2012/12/06/Scott-Walker/

     
     
     
  • Norma

    You have Mikki’s date of death incorrect…she died June 10.

     
     
     
  • Hal Kee

    I met Mikki in 1961 when I was in the Navy. She was such a down-to-earth sweet person, I did not realize the success she had in the movies and TV. She NEVER acted like a Hollywood type starlet as far as I knew. She married another friend of mine for a while. His name was James Griffin. He was one of the 70’s group “Bread”. He also won an Oscar for a song he wrote that the Carpenters sang. He passed a couple of years ago. So sad to see Mikki has passed too. I’d like to take this time to thank another friend of mine who introduced both of these nice people to me. Her name is Anne Bartee. She was a fine singer too. Ah..memories!!

     
     
     
    • Thanks for sharing. She stayed friends with actor Aron Kincaid until he died. Wished she would have agreed to an interview, but she told Aron she was writing her own book that I guess never came to be.

       
    • Hello Hal….
      It’s Norma Sarkisian….Mikki’s roommate…. We all hung out together in Hollywood….How is Anne Bartee doing. I remember her desire to have a singing career. Yes, we had wonderful memories in the real Hollywood days!!!

      Take care….
      Norma

       
      • Sorry I do not know who Anne Bartee is.

         
      • Norma, I’ve been trying to get with you on facebook about Mikki Mcgoldrick-Jamison, and I haven’t heard from you yet; Please try to do so. I’m Eric.

         
    • Hello Hal….
      It’s Norma Sarkisian….Mikki’s roommate…. We all hung out together in Hollywood….How is Anne Bartee doing. I remember her desire to have a singing career. Yes, we had wonderful memories in the real Hollywood days!!!

      Take care….
      Norma

       
      • Sorry I have never heard of Anne Bartee. Tom

         
        • Hi Norma, I last saw Anne in 1973. She was living with a guy who looked EXACTLY like Earl Holliman! So close in fact, when we were at dinner (my wife, Anne & her beau), Jonn Cassavetes, the famous actor and director at that time, came up to OUR table to say hello! He was rather embarassed about it, but he recovered nicely and was a very nice guy! I don’t know anything beyond that? I’ve looked all over for her on ther computer? She was responsible for me meeting Pat and Lolly Vegas of “Redbone” fame. Also introduced me to Jame Griffin of “Bread”. Of course this was before they were stars. I wrote songs with Pat Vegas and had some published in the 60′;s. I met some real “you know whats”, in all my years in the biz, but Anne stayed the same…..always crazy!! I hope you are doing fine? Take care, Hal Kee

           
  • Eric Gomez

    In 2013 When I first heard of Mikki Jamison’s accident-death I was so devastated to hear about her passing. Does anybody know about how her last years on earth were like and was she in good health. I’s like to create a video tribute of her and post it on y-tube.

    If anybody know’s please let me know.

    Eric

     
     
     
    • She stayed in contact with Aron Kincaid for years and I believe was in the travel business in the Northwest. He asked her if I could interview her for my Hollywood Surf and Beach Movie book and she declined saying she was writing her own book. I do not think it ever came to be.

       
  • Eric Gomez

    Tom, Could you please let me know; what was Mikki Jamison’s personality like in real life was she nice or mean, rude or down to earth when you first met her. I’ve been trying to get with Norma Sarkisian so far on facebook but so far, no luck.

     
     
     
    • Sorry I never met or spoke with her. She did not want to be interviewed for my book.

       
      • Tom, that’s too bad that you were never able to speak with her. I did read about her in your book Drive in Dream Girls 2003. That’s too bad that she didn’t want to be interviewed.

         
  • Eric Gomez

    That’s too bad that she you weren’t able to get with her and that she didn’t want to be interviewed for your book “Drive in Dream Girls.”

     
     
     
    • Yes, Aron Kincaid tried to convince her but she said she wsa writing her own book. Don’t think that ever came to be.

       
  • Eric Gomez

    Tom, I have no idea how many still surviving starlets that you know and have met personally in your travels are there any that still act like divas and prima donna’s, rude, grumpy, grouchy and that they still live in the past and act like they are still famous and act like they are the center of the universe and act like they are still famous even when they are not. They all can’t be perfect personality wise. If you’d rather not say I understand. I think that it would have been very hard for M.J. to even get or have a book deal because she really wasn’t famous like most of these 60’s starlets. I would’ve like to have read about her. I do know three of them, but more on that later.

     
     
     
    • Sorry, but none that I have interviewed were that way. And regarding Mikki Jamison, Aron did his best but she wouldn’t talk with me. Neither would Noreen Corcoran another friend of his.

       
  • Eric Gomez

    You don’t have to say that you’re sorry Tom regarding there personalities; I GET IT! I REALLY DO; I’m sure that you were impressed that that they treated you well with regards to interviewing them for you’re book’s.

     
     
     
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