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Jean Arthur on TV and Broadway: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Friday, 05 Jun 2015 09:28 AM

Jean Arthur was a powerhouse on the big screen. During her 30-year motion picture career, she appeared in a number of noteworthy films, including "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," and "Shane."

However, her talents did not just lend themselves to films. Although it was a new medium, Arthur also appeared on television, including a situation comedy bearing her name.

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She also took a couple of turns on the Broadway stage as well before her acting career ended in the late 1960s.

Here is a glance at how Arthur fared on TV and Broadway:

1. "The Jean Arthur Show" (1966)
As the final act of her illustrious career, Jean Arthur took on the challenge of the sitcom in a show bearing her name in 1966 on CBS. The show debuted in September of that year and had the premise of a mother and son who ran their own law firm in Los Angeles.

Arthur starred as Patricia Marshall, and Ron Harper portrayed her son, Ron. Other regulars in the cast included Richard Conte and Leonard Stone. Some of the actors who guest-starred on the show included Mickey Rooney and Ray Bolger.

The show appeared on Mondays at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time, following "Family Affair" and right before "I've Got a Secret." However, the show had major competitions from ABC's "The Big Valley." It ended up 65th in the 1966-67 overall TV ratings and was canceled in December after only 12 episodes.

2. "Gunsmoke"
Prior to her accepting the role in "The Jean Arthur Show," Arthur ended her self-imposed acting sabbatical by appearing in an episode of the top-rated CBS western, "Gunsmoke."

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She appeared in an episode in 1965 as Julie Blane, a friend and mentor to saloon owner Kitty Russell, portrayed by Amanda Blake. CBS officials thought enough of her to offer her the part in the show for the following season that would bear her name.

3. Broadway
Throughout her career, Arthur occasionally took breaks from film work to appear on the Broadway stage. Examples of this include 1932's "Foreign Affairs, which ran for 22 performances at the Avon Theatre in April and May of 1932, and "Count Me In," which ran for 61 performances in 1942 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

Before her last film appearance in 1953's "Shane," she even took on the lead role in "Peter Pan" in 1950 and 1951, appearing in 321 shows as the boy who wouldn't grow up. After "Shane, she appeared on the Broadway stage one more time, in George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan," in 1954, but a nervous breakdown during rehearsals ended her stage career.

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Jean Arthur was a powerhouse on the big screen. During her 30-year motion picture career, she appeared in a number of noteworthy films, including "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," and "Shane."
jean arthur on broadway, TV, star power
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2015-28-05
Friday, 05 Jun 2015 09:28 AM
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