Who was Peggie Castle?
Peggie Castle, also known as Peggy Castle and Peggie Call, was a yesteryear American actress best remembered for portraying the "other woman" in B-movies. She commenced her acting career with the radio soap opera ‘Today's Children’. She signed a seven-year contract with Universal-International after being discovered by a talent scout in a Beverly Hills restaurant. Her film debut happened with the comedy, music romance film ‘When a Girl's Beautiful’. Over the years, she mostly played somebody's "woman" rather than a girlfriend in B-grade action movies, dramas or westerns. These include ‘Jesse James' Women’, ‘The Prince Who Was a Thief’, ‘Wagons West’ and ‘Harem Girl’. However she also played other roles breaking the stereotype in films like ‘Miracle in the Rain’, ‘The White Orchid’, ‘99 River Street’ and ‘Payment on Demand’. Castle forayed into television in the 1950s and guest featured in many series including ‘Fireside Theater’, ‘The Restless Gun’ and ‘77 Sunset Strip’. One of her most memorable portrayals was that of saloon owner Lily Merrill in the American western television series ‘Lawman’ that marked her first continuing series. Castle received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Childhood & Early Life
Peggie Castle was born Peggy Blair on December 22, 1927, in Appalachia, Virginia, US to Doyle H. Blair. Her father served as an industrial relations director in a large corporation and later served American dancer, singer, and actor Donald O'Connor as his business manager.
At age eight, Castle took drama lessons. She studied at Mills College in Oakland, California, for two years. Later while working for the first time in studio, Castle found another actress with same last name Blair. She thus went on to change her last name.
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Castle began her acting career with radio performing in the soap opera ‘Today's Children’. She then worked on Radio Theatre in 1947 that paved her way for a screen test offer from 20th Century Fox.
She was first spotted by a talent scout while she was having food in a Beverly Hills restaurant. This led her to sign a seven-year contract with American film studio ‘Universal-International’. Billed as Peggy Call, the tall, green-eyed and sultry blonde made her big-screen debut with the September 25, 1947 released comedy music romance film ‘When a Girl's Beautiful’.
The Southern California Restaurant Association named her "Miss Cheesecake", while the Junior Chamber of Commerce named her "Miss Three Alarm", both in 1949.
The Bette Davis and Barry Sullivan starrer 1951 drama film ‘Payment on Demand’ featured her in the role of Diana Ramsey. That year she also appeared in the American drama war film ‘Air Cadet’ and in the American historical adventure film ‘The Golden Horde’.
In the ensuing years, Castle starred in films of different genres. These include westerns like ‘Wagons West’ (1952), ‘Cow Country’ (1953), ‘The Yellow Tomahawk’ (1954), ‘Overland Pacific’ (1954), ‘Tall Man Riding’ (1955) and ‘Quincannon, Frontier Scout’ (1956); drama films like ‘Invasion, U.S.A.’ (1952) and ‘Target Zero’ (1955); film noirs like ‘I, the Jury’ (1953), ‘99 River Street’ (1953), ‘The Long Wait’ (1954) and ‘Finger Man’ (1955); the adventure film ‘The White Orchid’ (1954); and the black-and-white science fiction film ‘Beginning of the End’ (1957).
She started featuring on the small-screen in the early 1950s. Between 1952 and 1954, she guest featured in various roles in three episodes of the NBC aired American anthology drama series ‘Fireside Theatre’. Moving on she appeared in single episodes of many other television series like ‘The Millionaire’, ‘Four Star Playhouse’, ‘Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater’ and ‘Cheyenne’ in 1956; ‘Conflict’, ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘Perry Mason’ in 1957; ‘77 Sunset Strip’ in 1958; and ‘Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer’ in 1959 among others.
She landed up playing saloon owner Lily Merrill, her first substantial role in television, in the American western television series ‘Lawman’. She joined the star cast of John Russell and Peter Brown at the start of season two of the series in 1959 and appeared in 105 episodes till 1962.
Meanwhile she joined hands with Brown and formed a song-and-dance team. They travelled to rodeos and performed in 1960 including in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Albuquerque, Chicago and St. Louis. On February 8 that year, Castle received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to the television industry.
Her last on-screen feature was in the guest role of Melissa in the 1966 episode titled ‘Morgan Starr’ from the American Western television series ‘The Virginian’.
Family & Personal Life
Castle was married to Revis Call from 1945 to 1950.
On January 4, 1951, she married Universal publicist Robert H. Raines. Their marriage however culminated into divorce on April 29, 1954.
She married for the third time in 1955 to producer/director William McGarry. Together they had a daughter called Erin. The couple later ended their marriage in 1969.
In 1971, Castle married Arthur Morganstern. Morganstern died in April 1973. Same year, on August 11, Castle’s body was found on the couch of her Hollywood apartment by her third husband, William McGarry. Cause of Castle’s death, who became alcoholic in her later years, was determined to be cirrhosis.