Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> JOAN STALEY
Joan Staley in "Gunpoint"
Universal Pictures 1966


Click image to enlarge

Original 11x14-inch lobby card (No. 8 of 8) for the 1966 Universal picture, "Gunpoint."

The lobby card shows Joan Staley, who co-stars opposite Audie Murphy. Staley has been a Valencia resident since 1989, while Murphy (1925-1971) was added posthumously (2010) to the Newhall Walk of Western Stars for work he performed in the Santa Clarita Valley. ("Gunpoint" was filmed in St. George, Utah.)

Produced by Gorgon Kay and directed by Earl Bellamy from an original story by Mary and Willard W. Willingham, "Gunpoint" also features Warren Stevens, Edgar Buchanan, Denver Pyle, David Macklin, Nick Dennis, Royal Dano, Kelly Thordsen, Morgan Woodward, William Bramley, Robert Pine, John Hoyt, Ford Rainey, Mike Ragan and Roy Barcroft.

Uncredited cast includes Jimmie Booth, Forrest Burns, Jeff Burton, Dee Cooper, Buck Harrington, William Henry, Adair Jameson, Hans Moebus, William H. O'Brien, Joe Phillips, Waclaw Rekwart, Bernard Sell, Casey Tibbs and Max Wagner.


About Joan Staley:

Actress Joan Staley, a Valencia resident since 1989, was born Joan Lynette McConchie on May 20, 1940, in Minneapolis, but she grew up in Los Angeles.

At age 3, her mother took her to a concert, after which Joan requested a violin. When her mother realized she was serious, she obliged. Her first instructor was Karl Moldrem, founder of The Baby Symphony in Los Angeles. By age 6, she had won by audition first chair-second violin in Peter Meremblum's Junior Symphony (Andre Previn was an alumnus). This led to her first film appearance, as a child violinist, in "The Emperor Waltz" starring Bing Crosby and Joan Fontaine.

Her mother and father were missionaries in Africa, after which her father joined the Army as an Army chaplain. His career facilitated her high school experiences in Chicago, Washington D.C., Munich and Paris.

She briefly attended Chapman College, after which she moved to San Francisco — where her father was stationed — to find work as the only teletype operator at the William R. Stats brokerage firm. In 1956 she married Charles Staley, whom she had met in France. They moved to Memphis, where he was working as a television director. Staley worked as an legal secretary for Homer L. Armstrong, a Memphis attorney. It was during this period that Staley sang occasional backup for Sun Records, of Elvis fame.

L.A. beckoned, so Joan and Chuck went West.

The Little Theater in Hollywood proved a welcome vehicle for Joan's talents. She procured roles in "The Robe," "Fiona" in "Brigadoon," and "My Sister Eileen" with Joanne Worley. This led to small roles in live television, such as "Playhouse 90," "Climax" and "Studio One" with such luminaries as Joan Blondell. These appearances opened the door for her in film and television. Joan's first role in film was in a Perry Mason episode.

In early 1958, Lawrence Schiller, a Life photographer, approached Staley and asked her to pose for Playboy. They did a photo shoot together, which resulted in the actual spread used by Playboy. Publisher Hugh Hefner selected her to be Playmate of the Month, Miss November 1958.

Her first marriage to television director Chuck Staley lasted five years. They had a daughter, Sherrye Dee Staley, born in 1959.

During this time, MGM signed her to contract. She was one of the last actresses blessed by the great MGM contract system. Her working experience in the opening credits with Vincent Minnelli for "Bells Are Ringing," starring Judy Holliday, was, for her, a memorable start to her film career. Staley enjoyed a film and television career that lasted through the 1960s and into the early 1970s. Her first guest-starring role was on "The Untouchables."

For her first ongoing series role, she made multiple appearances on the popular sitcom, "The Tab Hunter Show," where she was widely recognized for her comedic abilities. In 1961, she appeared in several roles in "The Lawless Years," a 1920s crime drama starring James Gregory. After "The Lawless Years," she enjoyed a recurring role as David Nelson's secretary in "The Ozzie and Harriet Show." She went on to guest star on Phil Silvers's sitcom, "The New Phil Silvers Show." A year later, she co-starred with Vic Damone in "The Lively Ones" for NBC, the summer replacement series for "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show." She was a featured artist in the Elvis Presley movie, "Roustabout."

Staley made guest appearances on multiple episodes of such series as "Perry Mason," "Stoney Burke," "Wagon Train," "McHale's Navy," "The Virginian," "Burke's Law" and "Batman," "Maverick," "Hawaiian Eye" and "Surfside Six," among others. She was also a regular as Hannah, the secretary to series character Stuart Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) on the seventh and final season of the ABC/Warner Brothers crime drama, "77 Sunset Strip." One of her favorite roles was a small part in "A New Kind of Love" starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, in which she had a sequence with Newman.

In 1964, she appeared on "McHale's Navy" and was signed to a Universal contract for the "McHale's Navy" spin-off, "Broadside," where she co-starred with Kathleen Nolan, Sheila James and Dick Sargent. Her character was Roberta "Honey-Hips" Love, an ex-stripper who had joined the Navy.

In 1966, she appeared opposite Don Knotts in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." That same year Staley suffered a serious back injury as a result of a horseback riding accident; she stopped working in films after that and concentrated on television.

She also worked alongside other up-and-coming artists such as Charles Bronson. She joined the cast of William Shatner, David Janssen and Carroll O'Connor in two pilots; unfortunately, neither saw screen time. She co-starred alongside Audie Murphy in the action Western, "Gunpoint." Her character sang in one sequence (Joan's own voice), and she was thrilled to have been accompanied by Laurindo Almeida, the famous guitarist.

She married again, in 1967, to Dale Sheets, an executive with MCA. Collectively, the Sheets have seven children (he contributed three, she contributed one, and they had three together). As of 2013, they have 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

She and her husband founded International Ventures Incorporated (1969) and continue to manage talent to this day. The Sheets live in Valencia and Staley is active in the L.A. area in consumer affairs, her church, and prison ministry.

— Joan Staley and Dale Sheets, with Kim Stephens


LW2692: 19200 dpi jpeg from original lobby card purchased 2014 by Leon Worden.
JOAN STALEY

thumbnail
TV Interview 2013


thumbnail
Gunpoint 1966

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ]
SCVHistory.com is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV • Additional copyrights apply