Gina Gillespie
Born (1951-09-20) September 20, 1951 (age 69)
OccupationActress, Attorney
Years active1958-1965 (as actress)
Spouse(s)James MacDonald (married 1973)
RelativesDarlene Gillespie (sister)

Gina Gail Gillespie (born September 20, 1951)[1] is a former child actress best known for her recurring roles in the television series Law of the Plainsman and Karen, and for playing Pippi Longstocking in a 1961 episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook. She later attended law school and became an attorney.

Early life

Gillespie was born in San Gabriel, California, the daughter of Herbert Gillespie and Rean Tibeau Gillespie, who had been vaudeville dancers. In 1955, when her sister Darlene became a Mouseketeer, the family moved to Burbank, California.[1] She has three other siblings.[2]

Acting career

Discovered by Alfred Hitchcock,[3] Gillespie began acting on television when she was four years old.[4] In 1958, she obtained small roles in Andy Hardy Comes Home and The Lost Missile.[1]

In 1959 she was cast in the recurring role of Tess Logan, an eight-year-old orphan, in the western television series Law of the Plainsman, which ran on NBC from October 1, 1959 to September 22, 1960. Reruns of the series were broadcast on ABC from July through September 1962.[5]

She continued to act in both television series and films, including playing dual roles in Pippi Longstocking, a 1961 episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook. The story differs from the famous children’s novel, for it is about a girl named Susan Ann Scholfield who tells her younger sister that, if she had her own way, she would be a girl named Pippi and live in a house with a monkey, a horse and a box of gold. The episode then shows the adventures Susan imagines.[6]

In 1962 Gillespie played the role of young Blanche in the critically acclaimed film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and received good reviews for her performance.[7]

In 1964 she was cast as Mimi Scott, the tomboyish younger sister in the television series Karen, which was broadcast on NBC from October 5, 1964 to August 30, 1965.[5]


Year Title Role Notes Reference
1958 Andy Hardy Comes Home Cricket Hardy Plays Andy’s daughter [8]
1958 The Lost Missile Little Girl in Underground Bunker Uncredited role [1]
1959 Playhouse 90 Kathy Patrick Episode: A Marriage of Strangers [9]
1959 Face of a Fugitive Alice Bailey Plays sheriff’s niece [10]
1959 It Happened to Jane Betty Osgood Played Jane’s daughter [10]
1959-1960 Law of the Plainsman Tess Logan Recurring role in series [5]
1960 The Slowest Gun in the West The Daughter TV special [11]
1961 Thriller Priscilla Episode: Mr. George [12]
1961 The Aquanauts Lisa Episode: Niagara Dive [13]
1961 Shirley Temple's Storybook Susan & Pippi Episode: Pippi Longstocking, played dual roles [6]
1962 What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Young Blanche Plays Jane’s sister as a child [7]
1964 The Fugitive Jenny Ammory Episode: The Witch [14]
1964-1965 Karen Mimi Scott Recurring role in series [5]

Later life

Gillespie graduated from Providence High School in Burbank, and married James MacDonald on May 5, 1973. She later attended the University of La Verne College of Law and graduated Cum Laude in 1988. After being admitted to the California State Bar she became a practicing attorney.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Aaker, Everett (16 May 2017). Television Western Players, 1960-1975: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. pp. 188–189. ISBN 978-1-4766-2856-1. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  2. ^ "Gina Gillespie Is Veteran Actress". Biddeford-Saco Journal. Maine, Biddeford. May 1, 1965. p. 9. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via
  3. ^ "Schoolgirl Star in New Series". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia, New South Wales, Sydney. February 15, 1965. p. 13. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via
  4. ^ Farber, Stephen; McClellan, Michael (13 March 2020). Cinema '62: The Greatest Year at the Movies. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-1-9788-0883-6. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946 – Present, 1st Edition, page 340 & 320, Ballantine Books, 1979
  6. ^ a b Vincent Terrace, Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, page 193, McFarland, 2019
  7. ^ a b James Powers, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Review),The Hollywood Reporter, October 26,1962
  8. ^ The Essential Mickey Rooney, page 225, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016
  9. ^ "Playhouse 90: A Marriage of Strangers". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  10. ^ a b David Dye, Child and Youth Actors: Filmographies of Their Entire Careers, 1914 - 1985, page 86, McFarland, 1988
  11. ^ Mike Malloy, Lee Van Cleef: A Biographical, Film and Television Reference, page 180, McFarland, 1998
  12. ^ Alan Warren, This Is a Thriller: An Episode Guide, History and Analysis of the Classic 1960s Television Series, pages 98 - 99, McFarland, 2004
  13. ^ The Boston Globe, January 8, 1961, page 199
  14. ^ The Boston Globe, May 10, 1964, page 252