Joan Ann Hackett
March 1, 1934
East Harlem, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 8, 1983 (aged 49)|
Encino, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
(m. 1966; div. 1973)
Joan Ann Hackett (March 1, 1934 – October 8, 1983) was an American actress of film, stage, and television. She starred in the 1967 western Will Penny. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1981 film Only When I Laugh. She also starred as Christine Mannon in the 1978 PBS miniseries version of Mourning Becomes Electra.
She was born in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City, the daughter of John and Mary (née Esposito) Hackett, and grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, where she became a model and dropped out during her final year of high school. She had a sister, Theresa, and a brother, John. Her mother was from Naples, Italy, and her father had Irish ancestry, and they raised her Catholic and sent her to Catholic schools.
Hackett debuted in 1959 with the role of Gail Prentiss in the television series, Young Doctor Malone. In 1961, she won a Theatre World Award, an Obie Award for Best Actress, and a Drama Desk Award for her Off-Broadway portrayal of Chris in Michael Shurtleff's play Call Me By My Rightful Name.
She had a recurring role on the CBS legal drama The Defenders (1961–1965) as the fiancée of Kenneth Preston (played by Robert Reed), partner in the father-and-son law firm led by patriarch Lawrence Preston (E.G. Marshall). She appeared regularly in scenes with both lead actors. She had a leading role in The Twilight Zone episode "A Piano in the House". In the 1963–1964 season, she guest-starred on Channing, an ABC drama about college life starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones.
Hackett had one of the starring roles in the 1966 Sidney Lumet film The Group, along with Candice Bergen, Larry Hagman, Richard Mulligan, Joanna Pettet, and others.
One of her notable film performances was the role of Catherine Allen, a young mother struggling to survive on the frontier, in the 1968 Western Will Penny, with Charlton Heston in the title role. Hackett also had notable parts in the classic Western comedy Support Your Local Sheriff!, with James Garner, and the 1973 murder mystery The Last of Sheila. After this, she primarily had parts in TV movies and on episodes of TV series.
She received top billing in the 1974 adaption of Michael Crichton's book The Terminal Man, where she played the brilliant Dr. Janet Ross, a psychiatrist who accurately predicts her patient's destructive behavior, opposite actors George Segal, Donald Moffat, and Richard Dysart.
In 1978, she appeared in a PBS adaptation of Mourning Becomes Electra as Christine Mannon. Her performance in that production earned her some of the best reviews of her career. Clive James said that it entitled her to be called a great actress. The same year, she was a regular in the cast of the short-lived CBS situation comedy Another Day, portraying Ginny Gardner.
She appeared in the September 22, 1979, episode "Grass Is Always Greener" of The Love Boat as Julie McCoy's former classmate from the line's cruise director course.
Hackett won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1981 film Only When I Laugh, the last film she made before her death. She could also be seen in Paul Simon's 1980 film One Trick Pony.
From 1966 to 1973 she was married to actor Richard Mulligan, who was also cast in The Group.
Hackett was diagnosed with cancer in 1981. She died of ovarian cancer on October 8, 1983, at Encino Hospital in Encino, California. A funeral mass was held on Wednesday, October 12, 1983, at St. Victor Catholic Church in Los Angeles, California. Her remains are entombed in The Abbey of The Psalms Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where her epitaph reads: "Go Away — I'm Asleep".