DSO Day Player Profile

DSO Exclusive Image:
Mary Cooper played Josette Collins in five episodes during the 1841PT storyline, which were broadcast in 1971.This photo is circa 1961. Below: In costume as Josette, she poses on the Dark Shadows set.

Mary Cooper
Dark Shadows Role: Josette Collins
Number of episodes: 5, in Feb/March 1971

Career Highlights:
Movie: Bright Victory
(Nurse Bailey, 1951)
Plot Summary:
Following World War II, a soldier spends time in a hospital, recovering from the effects of a sniper's bullet in North Africa. Arthur Kennedy played the wounded man. Also in the cast was Jim Backus (later Mr. Howell on the campy TV classic Gilligan's Island).
TV: The Edge of Night (Mrs. Timmons, 1981); and Dark Shadows (Josette, 1971).
Broadway: The Doughgirls (1942, with Natalie Schaffer, later Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island); Winged Victory (1943); Harvey (1944-49); Cloud 7 (1958); The Ninety Day Mistress (1967, with Dyan Cannon)

Visit to Collinwood: During the 1841PT storyline, we got a chance to see what would have happened if Josette and Barnabas had lived happily ever after. Barnabas was dead (but his fangless son, Bramwell, was on hand), and Josette was a widow with a few dark secrets. Kathryn Leigh Scott had left DS by this point (1971), so the role of Josette was played by another actress, and since they were recasting, the producers went with a more age-appropriate performer: Mary Cooper, an accomplished stage actress. (No doubt, had she been present, KLS would have simply been buried under makeup to play the 60ish character herself.) During her five-episode stay, Cooper made a charming and lovely "older Josette."

Mary and Kathryn shared another role, besides that of Josette. They each appeared opposite James Stewart at different times as Nurse Kelly in the stage classic (and 1945 Pulitzer winner) Harvey.

Personal Info: The following comes from one of the actress' many stage playbill biographies:
"Mary Cooper bridged the gap from St. Joseph, Missouri, to New York through the grace of an acting school scholarship going on to a period of concentrated study with the fabled Nazimova. Once begun, her career moved brightly through a series of memorable productions including Harvey, Doughgirls, Winged Victory, In Bed We Cry, The Late George Apley, The French Touch, and Twilight Bar. In the historical Harvey, Miss cooper enjoyed the unique experienced of performing with each of the male stars in that play's lengthy run -- Frank Fay, James Stewart, James Dunn, Joe E. Brown and Jack Buchanan. Married to English producer Victor Payne-Jennngs, she joined British Actors Equit, playing the West End and the provinces until her recent return to America. Most noteworthy among her film credits was the New York Film Critics' Award winner Bright Victory."

[Note: I have to admit, I don't recognize many of the names or titles mentioned above -- but I do know that Nazimova was Alla Nazimova, a legendary silent film star who had a huge influence on Rudolph Valentino.]

An earlier bio included a few more facts:

• She began her professional career at the age of 3, in a commercial movie.

• She graduated from the Theodora Irvine dramatic school in New York.

• "Between performances, Miss Cooper is one of the famous Powers models, and poses for pictures which grace the covers of some of our leading magazines."



For more stories about the Dark Shadows cast, read the book Barnabas & Company by Craig Hamrick.

Dark Shadows Online © 2006 Craig Hamrick.
Dark Shadows © Dan Curtis Productions. All Rights Reserved.

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