Guest stars are the underrated necessity to any TV show. Someone has to be a victim, be a villain, be a good guy, be a witness, be a friend, be a bystander, be a customer. In short, the main cast needs someone else to interact with on occasion just to keep things interesting.
I have a list of my favorite guest stars that I think are worthy of posts of their own. These are my people.
On any given day of the week, it’s entirely possible that I’ll see Virginia Gregg on one of my reruns. Sometimes it seems like she was on every show ever made for about thirty years. Sometimes it seems like I see her every day of the week.
Of course, this isn’t a bad thing.
It’s also not too far off from impossible.
When I played my Me-TV guest star game last fall, the only person that had more guest appearances on the shows of the fall line-up was Vitto Scotti. When I said Virginia Gregg was in everything, I’m not really exaggerating the truth by much.
Of the current Me-TV summer line-up, she’s in 72 episodes of 22 of the shows.
So, yeah, it’s not far-fetched to possibly see her every day in a given week on this one channel.
She was a favorite of Jack Webb’s so she was in Dragnet (both TV incarnations, two movies, AND the radio version), Emergency!, and Adam-12 (13, 8, and 6 episodes, respectively). With Westerns as popular as they were back in the day she did Gunsmoke (didn’t everyone?), Bonanza, Big Valley, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Wagon Train, The Rebel, Daniel Boone, and Rawhide. Detective shows? Try Streets of San Francisco, Mod Squad, Cannon, and The Rockford Files. She was on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Thriller, and The Twilight Zone. Perry Mason and The Fugitive. And lest you think she could only do drama, she was on episodes of Happy Days and Make Room for Daddy.
And those are just shows on ONE station.
You can witness her fabulousness on Mission: Impossible, Ironside, My Three Sons, Charlie’s Angels, Marcus Welby MD, Bold Ones: The Lawyers, Bold Ones: The New Doctors, The Virginian, Maverick, Alias Smith and Jones, and so many more (I just listed shows I watch).
Being on so many shows, she’s played a variety of characters. The easiest way to get a sample of her range is to watch her episodes of Dragnet ’67. She played a cynical journalist, a gypsy grifter, the wife of a wounded veteran police officer, a no-nonsense secretary, the head of a pyramid scheme, a robbed candy store employee, a widow attempting insurance fraud, a gambler’s wife, a business owner not impressed with crime prevention, and a woman trying to get two police officers in trouble, just to name more than a few.
My personal favorite of her appearances, though, was on an episode of Adam-12 in which she bashed her own car because she was mad at her husband for drinking all the time. She wailed on that thing. It was impressive. And fun.
And so is Miss Virginia Gregg.
Be sure to catch her. She’s on any given day of the week.
2 thoughts on “Rerun Junkie–Guest Stars: Virginia Gregg”
I love old time radio detective shows, and Virginia Gregg is in tons of them! I’m usually impressed and surprised when I hear her name in the credits because she has such great range. I didn’t realize she had done so much work in TV as well. Great post!
I knew she did a lot of radio (she and Martin Milner are the only two that did the radio Dragnet as well as the ’50s and ’60s series, I think), but I haven’t had the pleasure of listening to any of the shows. I just love it when she shows up on one of my reruns, though. She really did have an impressive range.