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Joey Heatherton

Real name: Davenie Johanna Heatherton
Birthdate: September 14, 1944
Status: N/A
Partner: N/A

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Biography

Christened Davenie Johanna, Joey is a native of the Long Island village of Rockville Centre, a suburb of New York. While living in Rockville Centre she attended St. Agnes Cathedral School, a Catholic grade and high school.

Particularly memorable was her guest shot on a May 1969 Tonight Show, where she energetically coached Johnny Carson on the finer points of dancing "The Frug". Vietnam War veterans and that era's TV viewers fondly remember her as a long-time member of Bob Hope's USO troupe who, between 1965 and 1977, delighted the GIs with her enticing singing, dancing and provocatively revealing outfits. Excerpts from the USO tours were televised as part of Hope's long-running series of NBC monthly specials, culminatating in the top-rated Christmas shows, where Joey's segments were always highly appreciated.

Even though Lolita was not to be, the movies Twilight of Honor (1963), Where Love Has Gone (1964) and My Blood Runs Cold (1965), showed that Joey could hold her own with veteran actors such as Claude Rains, Bette Davis and Susan Hayward, but they did not result in a sustainable film career. Each of the three films has her character involved in murder. In Twilight of Honor, her film debut, she appears as the sluttish young wife of a Southern small-town "rebel" (Oscar-nominee Nick Adams) who is accused of murder precipitated by her infidelity.

Finally, Blood was the second of three 1965 horror-suspense films directed by TV's William Conrad (Two on a Guillotine and Brainstorm were the other two). Joey's leading man was 1960's heartthrob Troy Donahue, but the movie was indifferently received by the public.

In a widely-publicized 1971 incident, Joey's short-lived marriage to Lance Rentzel, a top-rated pro football receiver, then playing for the NFL Dallas Cowboys, disintegrated following his arrest for indecent exposure in front of a ten-year-old girl. The 1969-72 childless union proved to be Joey's only trip to the altar.

A brief high point came in July 1975 when she headlined Joey & Dad, a four-week Sunday night summer replacement series for Cher's 1975-76 variety show. The 7:30-8:30 pm CBS production was a musical comedy hour in the final days of that genre. "Dad", of course, was Ray Heatherton and, in a nostalgic moment, he put on the familiar old uniform and sang his "I am the Merry Mailman" theme song. A highlight of each episode would involve Ray waxing nostalgic over life with Joey, while rooting through his attic.

In subsequent years, Joey performed in Las Vegas and acted in a few scattered TV shows and films, including 1972's critically-drubbed, all-star, European-made Bluebeard (with Richard Burton in the title role), in which she appeared topless, and a starring role as Xaviera Hollander in 1977's post-Watergate scandal-inspired The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, but clearly her time had passed. Joey's most recent acting role was in the 2002 Damon Packard film Reflections of Evil.

Between 1977 and 1982, Joey was famously parodied by Catherine O'Hara on the Toronto-produced series Second City TV (shortened to SCTV in 1981). O'Hara's character, Lola Heatherton, was a neurotic and insecure TV star of little talent—a constant guest on SCTV's own fictional talk show called “The Sammy Maudlin Show”, who responded to audience applause with the line, "I want to bear all your children...ha ha ha ha ha".



 


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