Former actress-turned-CEO Joan Hotchkis celebrates her eighty-third natal anniversary today, and if you’re scratching your head in bewilderment as to why she’s getting today’s birthday shout-out it’s because I’ve recently been enjoying her presence tremendously in some Odd Couple reruns I’ve been watching for an essay due at Ed Copeland’s on Friday. Joan played Dr. Nancy Cunningham in eleven Couple episodes as a love interest for Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison—and why they wrote out her character remains a mystery to me, because I thought she was always first-rate. (It might have something to do with the fact that Elinor Donahue would join the show as a semi-regular in Couple’s third season…also playing a medico, only she was Felix’s on-and-off girlfriend in that particular instance.)
Hotchkis’ best-remembered boob tube showcase, however, is that of Ellen Monroe—wife of columnist/father John Monroe (William Windom) on the 1969-70 sitcom My World and Welcome to It. I’ve talked about this wonderful show here on the blog in the past, and I have not wavered from my belief that it’s positively criminal it’s not available on DVD—particularly in light of how many other shows have gotten the tap, and lesser ones to boot. (I could name names, but I’d rather protect the innocent.) Hotchkis’ cinematic resume is a bit skimpy—she can be glimpsed in such vehicles as The Late Liz (1971), Breezy (1973) and Ode to Billy Joe (1976)—but she made the rounds of several hit programs from TV’s classic past; among them Bewitched, Mannix, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law and Lou Grant.
According to the IMDB—the last word in accuracy for this type of thing—Hotchkis “worked as a part-time paraprofessional in aggression training at the