Linda Kaye Henning
...Linda Kaye Henning
Country folk were big business in the 60s, thanks to producer Paul Henning.The creator of the hit show The Beverly Hillbillies knew a good theme when he
saw one.In the fictional town of Hooterville he
placed not only the Douglases of Green Acres but a widow, Kate Bradley, and her
three gorgeous daughters : Betty Jo, Bobbie Jo and Billie Jo.Between 1963 and 1970 the series featured two actresses as Bobbie Jo -- Pat Woodell (1963-1965) and Lori Saunders (1965-1970) -- and three young women as Billie Jo, Jeannine Riley (1963-1965), Gunilla Hutton (1965-1966) and Meredith MacRae (1966-1970).But there was only one Betty Jo, Linda Kaye Henning
was the boss's daughter, no one ever accused Paul Henning of favoritism.Says Linda
, 53, with a chuckle, I got the least billing, the least money -- everything. And, she
adds, I loved it..
By the time Linda Henning was doing showcases and theater in her
native California, her
dad had already spent years writing for George Burns and Gracie Allen, had written the 1961 movie hit Lover Come Back and had been nominated for an Oscar for his
screenplay for 1964'sBedtime Story.Henning recalls, I was doing something with Bea Benederet's son, Jack Bannon (who later appeared on the series Lou Grant), and Bea came to see the show with my parents.When CBS asked Paul Henning for a series, he
wrote Petticoat Junction, with Bea in mind as the lead.She
said to him, Have your own daughter be a character.' He
would never have thought of it.He
was always worried about nepotism.So he
let me try out and left it up to the rest of the people involved in the series.The first year everybody was looking at me to see if was I going to be the brat kid or what.But it all worked out..
...Linda Kaye Henning
The first year everybody was looking at me to see if I was going to be the brat kid or what, says Henning
was 18 when the series started, though Betty Jo was supposed to be 15.I looked it, Henning tells PEOPLE Online.I was very young when I started -- it was like going to school for seven years with all the best teachers.Bea Benederet was a mentor in a way.She
was a wonderful lady to work with.We had the finest character actors in the business on our show -- Edgar Buchanan, Smiley Burnette, Regis Toomey, Elvia Allman.And we got to do so many fun things.
Mike did another part on the show the first year that we were on, says Henning
then came on the show as a regular in the part of Steve in the fourth season.We were married about five years, and we be still friends. She
says Minor continues to work as an actor in New York, where he was on All My Children and As The World Turnsfor a time, in addition to performing in the theater.
For the last four years Henning
has been married to actor-musician Leon Adams.They have no children.She
has continued her
acting career and can currently be seen as the mother of Quinn, the main Slider on the series Sliders, now on the Sci-Fi Channel.Henning
also works as a member of the California Artists Radio Theater.We do plays on the radio before a live audience, tape them, and they are later broadcast, she
says.i have worked with people like Lynn Redgrave and (the late) Roddy McDowall..
Hennings' non-show biz activities include working at an L.A. gift shop.She
says, it be something I really enjoy doing, because I like the people and it gives me flexibility with the hours. She
also lectures and leads tours for the Los Angeles Zoo.
...Linda Kaye HenningHenning
currently appears on the sci-fi show Sliders.
As for the other Petticoat gals, Lori Saunders lives in Southern California and concentrates on her
sculpting and painting.She
recently had a showing of her
pieces, and a second exhibit is in the works.She
is married and has a son, Ron, and a daughter, Stacy.
...Linda Kaye Henning
is thrilled that people are interested in Billy Jo, Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo.It was one of the most wonderful events of my life, she
says.Even getting up at five in the morning..
MARIA CIACCIA-- MARIA CIACCIA (pronounced cha cha)
To visit Maria's website, click here.
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PHOTO : Linda Kaye Henning
then : (Everett Collection) ; now (Fitzroy Barrett/Globe Photos)
Click on the photos to see an enlarged version.