Joyce Van Patten


9 march, 1934



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Adept at both comedy and drama, veteran New York-born actress Joyce Van Patten (along with equally famous older brother Dick Van Patten), and already auditioning for modeling roles before reaching a year old prodded by a typically assertive stage mother. Born on March 9, 1932, in New York City, both Van Patten siblings displayed natural talent and did quite well for themselves at such an early age. By age 8, Joyce was appearing on radio and on Broadway in the William Saroyan play "Love's Old Sweet Song." A year later she and Dick had bit roles in the film Reg'lar Fellers (1941) and appeared together in the play "The Wind Is Ninety" (1945).

Following a relatively brief marriage to Thomas King at the age of 16 (she born a son, also named Thomas, a year later), Joyce grew into vivid young adult roles and found ripe parts in a number of popular plays including "The Desk Set" (1955) and "A Hole in the Head" (1957). She and Dick appeared together in New York with "The Male Animal" (1953), "The Tender Trap" (1955) and "Oh Men! Oh Women! (1955). Joyce tended to downplay her beauty for smart, cynical, earthier characters and specialized in wry, neurotic comedy. Her 1950s film career proved uneventful, however, as she was merely glimpsed in the tense drama Fourteen Hours (1951) and managed a featured bit in The Goddess (1958), a vehicle for Kim Stanley.

TV roles started coming her way in the late 1950s with one-season parts on the soap dramas "As the World Turns" (1956) and "Young Dr. Malone" (1958). Since then Joyce has divided her time between the stage and TV with intermittent film assignments coming along here and there, including such offbeat fare as I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968) and Making It (1971), the latter also featuring brother Dick. A regular on "The Danny Kaye Show" (1963) for four seasons, she was Herb Edelman's take-it-on-the chin wife in "The Good Guys" (1968), her best chance for series comedy stardom. She faltered with regular roles in ill-fated TV vehicles designed for Don Rickles and Mary Tyler Moore.

Over the years, a lion's share of Joyce's more prolific work has come from the Broadway stage. A wonderful presence in a number of popular shows such as "Spoon River Anthology," "Same Time, Next Year," "I Oughta Be in Pictures," "The Supporting Cast," "Brighton Beach Memoirs," "Rumors," "Jake's Women," she has more recently graced such plays as "Ring Round the Moon" (1999), "Taller Than a Dwarf" (2000), "The Oldest Profession" (2004), and "Rabbit Hole" (2006). A delight whether playing drab, shrill wives or nagging, nervous relatives, a major highlight was her appearance in a sparkling stage production of "Harvey" in 2003.

Joyce continues to make guest appearances on such popular TV shows as "Judging Amy" (1999), "Desperate Housewives" (2004) and "The Good Wife" (2009). Married four times, she is the mother of actor Casey King from her first marriage, and actress Talia Balsam from her second to actor Martin Balsam.

Position Actor