Childhood & Early Life
Pettet was born Joanna Jane Salmon, on November 16, 1942, in Westminster, London, England, to Cecily J. Tremaine and Harold Nigel Edgerton Salmon.
Her parents got married in 1940, in Chelsea, London.
Salmon served as a pilot in the 'British Royal Air Force' and was martyred during World War II.
After the war ended, her mother remarried and moved to Montreal, Quebec. Pettet was adopted by her stepfather and later changed her surname to “Pettet.”
At the age of 16, she arrived in New York City, U.S., to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She joined the 'Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre' and the 'Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ (‘Lincoln Center’), both in New York City, to hone her acting skills.
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Pettet began her acting career on stage. She became a cast member of several ‘Broadway’ productions and acted alongside well-known names of the industry.
Some of her ‘Broadway’ plays were 'Take Her, She's Mine,' 'The Chinese Prime Minister,' and 'Poor Richard.'
She made her TV debut in 1964, as ‘Millie Wilkins’ in 'Route 66.’
In 1965, she appeared in three series, 'The Doctors' (as 'Judy Lloyd'), 'The Nurses' (as 'Carol Lloyd'), and 'The Trials of O'Brien’ (as 'Liz Martin').
She made her feature-film debut in 1966. She was part of the ensemble cast in the drama movie 'The Group.' That year, she appeared in three series: 'The Fugitive’ (as 'Tina Andresen’), 'A Man Called Shenandoah' (as 'Julia Riley’), and 'Dr. Kildare' (as 'Yvonne Barlow’).
The year 1967 saw her appear in three movies: as 'Ulrike von Seidlitz-Gabler' in 'The Night of the Generals,' as 'Mata Bond' in 'Casino Royale,' and as 'Kate Clifton' in 'Robbery.' She also appeared in the TV film 'Three for Danger,' as 'Serena.'
She appeared in one movie each in 1968 and 1969, namely, 'Blue' (as 'Joanne Morton’) and 'The Best House in London' ( as 'Josephine Pacefoot’).
In 1970 and 1971, she appeared in two different episodes of 'Night Gallery’ (as 'Elaine Latimer' in 'The House' and as 'Claire Foster' in 'Keep in Touch – We'll Think of Something’). In 1971, she appeared in an episode of the series 'Mannix,’ titled 'A Button for General D.'
She was cast in six different TV productions in 1972, namely, 'The Delphi Bureau,' 'Miss Stewart, Sir,' 'The Weekend Nun,' 'Banacek,' 'Footsteps,' and 'Night Gallery.'
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She appeared in an episode of the series 'McCloud' and a TV film named 'Pioneer Woman' in 1973.
She essayed the role of 'Grace Henry' in the 1974 cult horror movie 'Welcome to Arrow Beach.’ The same year, she also appeared on TV shows such as 'Medical Center,' 'A Cry in the Wilderness,' 'Police Story,' 'Thriller' and 'Harry O.' The following year, she appeared in 'Thriller' and 'Harry O' again, but played different characters (not the same as the ones in the earlier episodes). In 1975, she was also seen in the TV productions 'Caribe,' 'Police Woman,’ and ‘The Desperate Miles.’
In 1976, she appeared as ‘Jesse Breton' in the TV film 'The Dark side of Innocence' and as 'Katherine Hennessey' in the TV miniseries 'Captains and the Kings.'
She appeared in two episodes of the British series 'Tales of the Unexpected' and was also seen in the TV film 'Sex and the Married Woman.'
In 1978, she was featured in another horror movie, 'The Evil.'
She essayed three different characters in three separate episodes of 'The Love Boat,' between 1979 and 1982.
In 1980, she appeared in the series 'Charlie's Angels,' the TV film 'Cry of the Innocent,' and 'Fantasy Island.' She appeared in two more episodes of ’Fantasy Island’ but played different characters in each episode.
She played 'Mindy Jordache’ in the movie 'Double Exposure' in 1982.
In 1983, she had a recurring role (as 'Det. Janet Baines’) in the soap opera 'Knots Landing.'
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She portrayed 'Joanna St. John' in the crime drama 'Knight Rider.'
She appeared as herself in an episode of 'The Fall Guy' (dedicated to 'James Bond') in 1984.
In 1984 and 1985, she appeared in the soap opera ‘Hotel' but was cast as two different characters in two separate episodes.
She was cast as 'Monica' in the 1987 movie 'Sweet Country' and as 'Virginia McCormack' in an episode of the crime-drama series 'Murder, She Wrote,’ titled 'The Way to Dusty Death.'
Her last on-screen role was in the 1990 film ‘Terror in Paradise.'
Family & Personal Life
In 1968, Pettet married Alex Cord, who is now a retired American actor. Three and a half months into the marriage, she gave birth to their son and named him Damien Zachary Cord.
In 1989, after 21 years of marriage, she divorced Alex. Following this, she did not remarry.
Her son died due to drug overdose at the age of 26.
She became actor Alan Bates’s caregiver during his last days, until his death due to pancreatic cancer in 2003.
Bates left her £95,000 in his will.
If gossip columns are to be believed, Pettet and Alan Bates, her co-star in the play 'Poor Richard,' had dated each other for a while.
Pettet was one of the last few persons to have seen actor Sharon Tate before she was brutally murdered. She met Tate on the fateful day of August 8, 1969, and they dined together in the afternoon.
Her meeting with Tate was part of the 2019 movie 'Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.' Actor Rumer Glenn Willis played Pettet in the movie.
American newspaper gossip columnist Walter Winchell once referred to her as "a breathtaking teen-age darling from Canada.”