Meredith MacRae

Meredith MacRae

May 30, 1944 — July 14, 2000

Back then, all the little girls wanted to be her. The little boys - and the big ones, too - wanted to marry her. She was one the three "curves you get" in Hooterville when she appeared as Billie Jo Bradley on the hick television series, "Petticoat Junction". She was the oldest, the blonde. Then there was dumb Bobbie Jo (brunette) and tomboy Betty Jo (redhead).

Meredith was born on May 30, 1944 in Houston, Texas. MacRae, who hailed from an acting family, died of brain cancer at her Manhattan Beach, CA., home. She was 56 and died a year and a half after having a tumor removed from her brain (January 1999). Following that surgery, MacRae was given an excellent prognosis. Still, the end came too soon for the daughter of the late actor Gordon MacRae (who played Curly in the musical Oklahoma), is perhaps best remembered for her four-year stint on "Petticoat Junction," a 1960s television series revolving around a widow (Bea Benaderet), who operated the Shady Rest Hotel in Hooterville, her brother (Uncle Joe), and three daughters. Its spin-off series, "Green Acres," also was a huge hit. The teen-aged Bradley sisters were seen in the opening credits pulling their petticoats off the side of a water tower and their comeliness was alluded to in the show's theme song with the words, "lots of curves you bet and even more when you get to the junction." MacRae was one of three actresses to play Billie Jo and appeared on the series from 1966-1970. From 1963-1965, she had earlier been featured in the series "My Three Sons," as Mike Douglas's girlfriend, Sally Ann.

Her television stints came 10 years after she made her film debut with her father and Doris Day in By the Light of the Silvery Moon. In addition to her father, her mother is actress-comedian Sheila MacRae, who appeared as Alice Kramden in the original "The Honeymooners." In the 1980s, Meredith MacRae shifted careers, co-hosting (with Geoff Edwards) a television talk show, "Mid-Morning L.A.," for which she won a local Emmy Award in 1986. After eight years on "Mid-Morning," she launched "Born Famous," a show in which she interviewed children of celebrities. Acting was not her only passion, however, MacRae labored tirelessly for charities, including serving as host for 20 years of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation's telethon. MacRae also was actively involved in the organizations, Women in Film and the League of Women Voters. In addition, she often gave lectures about children of alcoholics, drawing on her experiences with her father, who suffered from the disease. MacRae also produced a television special on the subject.

Her first two marriages - to Richard Berger, a movie executive, and Greg Mullavey, an actor - ended in divorce. Since 1995, she had been married to Phil Neal, a business executive.

The Girls of Petticoat Junction (1968)

Linda Kaye Henning, Lori Saunders and Meredith MacRae

Meredith MacRae
Meredith MacRae link
Check out this beautiful tribute to Meredith
by her own daughter Allison
Includes lots of unique personal photos.
Merchandise is available!

Also try this other GREAT website with a wonderful tribute to Meredith MacRae