Birthplace: Inglewood, CA
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wrangler Jane on F Troop
Melody Patterson joined a community theater group when she was five, and by adolescence she was a seasoned stage veteran. She was almost 16 when she auditioned for the role of "Wrangler Jane" on a sitcom to be called F Troop. But the script wasn't finished, so for her audition the producers asked her to read some dialogue from an old Doris Day movie, Calamity Jane -- which just happened to be Patterson's favorite movie, one she had seen several times on TV, and had often re-enacted while playing at home. She knew it so well she barely needed the script, all her nervousness evaporated, and the producers were left with their mouths hanging open.
To her own amazement, she was immediately taken upstairs to meet the producer, and soon someone asked the fateful question, "You're 18, right?" She answered with a hearty "Yup," and soon she was playing the sexy, quick-draw postmistress who pursued Captain Parmenter (Ken Berry). Six episodes had been filmed before the show's producers knew they had been hoodwinked, but by then "Wrangler Jane" was too popular to be replaced, and besides, Patterson was always on time, knew her lines, and seemed very professional. Her age, though, may be why the show's running gag had Berry rejecting her smooches, usually pulling away and saying, "Jane, not in front of the men!"
After F Troop, she had a daily show on Armed Forces Radio for the troops in Vietnam, and starred in several "drive-in" style films, including the classic Cycle Savages with Bruce Dern (tag line: "Hot steel between their legs").
During the long run of Hawaii Five-O, Patterson lived in Hawaii with her then-husband James MacArthur, who played sidekick cop "Dan-O". She appeared in several episodes of that show, and worked in plays staged in Honolulu, but her Hollywood connections drifted away, and she was rarely seen on screen or TV after that. She directed plays for regional theater, and wrote a column for Wildest Westerns, a genre magazine dedicated to old western movies and TV shows. Her last film was a low-budget brain-swapping horror called The Immortalizer, in 1991.
She died in 2015.
Husband: James MacArthur (actor, m. 12-Jul-1970, div. 1978)
Husband: Robert Seaton (business executive, div. 1993)
Husband: Vern Miller (musician, Comstock Cowboys, m. 28-Nov-1998)
University: BA Performing Arts, Sierra Nevada College (1999)
F Troop Wrangler Jane (1965-67)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Blood and Lace (17-Mar-1971) · Ellie Masters
The Cycle Savages (24-Sep-1969)
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