Beverly Garland, the B-movie actress who starred in 1950s cult hits such as “Swamp Women” and “Not of This Earth” and who went on to play Fred MacMurray’s TV wife on “My Three Sons,” died Friday at her Hollywood Hills home after a lengthy illness.
She was 82.
Garland made her film debut in the 1950 noir classic “D.O.A.,” launching a 50-year career that included 40 movies and dozens of television shows.
She gained cult status for playing gutsy women in low-budget exploitation films such as “The Alligator People” and a number of Roger Corman movies including “Gunslinger,” “It Conquered the World” and “Naked Paradise.”
“I never considered myself very much of a passive kind of actress,” she said in a 1985 interview with Fangoria magazine. “I was never very comfortable in love scenes, never comfortable playing a sweet, lovable lady.”
Garland showed her comedic chops as Bing Crosby’s wife in short-lived mid-’60s sitcom “The Bing Crosby Show.”
She went on to be cast in “My Three Sons” as the second wife of MacMurray’s widower Steve Douglas during the last three seasons of the popular series that aired from 1960-72.
Garland was born Beverly Fessenden in Santa Cruz, Calif., and grew up in Glendale. She married actor Richard Garland, but they were divorced in 1953 after less than four years together.
In 1960, she married real estate developer Fillmore Crank, and the couple built a Mission-style hotel in North Hollywood, now called Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn. Garland, whose husband died in 1999, remained involved in running the hotel.
She was the honorary mayor of North Hollywood and served on the boards of the California Tourism Corp. and the Greater Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau.