DCS: joan shawlee

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dancing queen

As a teenager, Joan Shawlee had aspirations to become a ballet dancer. In her 20s, she was appearing in Broadway productions. She made the jump to films, with roles in a number of Jack Lemmon/Billy Wilder vehicles. Joan played band member “Sweet Sue” in Some Like It Hot, “Sylvia” in The Apartment and “Amazon Annie” in Irma la Douce. She even appeared in Wilder’s final film, Buddy Buddy.

Joan enjoyed a abundance of guest roles on television, including three times as “Pickles Sorrell,” the usually unseen wife of comedy writer “Buddy” (played by Morey Amsterdam) on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

In the early 1960s, Joan teamed up with writer-comedian Mitzi McCall for a nightclub act. The strikingly tall Joan (at 5’9″) was a noticeable contrast to the short McCall (4’10”), causing entertainment columnist Dorothy Kilgallen to note the pair “caused quite a stir.”

Joan was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away in 1987 at the age of 61, leaving behind a successful career that lasted forty years.



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