Kate once called Charlie's Angels, the show that shot her to international fame, a bit of fluff "so light it would take a week to get to the floor if you dropped it from the ceiling."
Dark Shadows Character:
Appeared in: 70 episodes
First episode: #1067, July 28, 1970
Last episode: # 1238, March 24, 1971
Born: Birmingham, Alabama; October 29, 1949
Fresh out of acting school, Kate Jackson made her TV debut as a non-speaking ghost on Dark Shadows in 1970, but it was six years later, as an "angel" that she found enormous fame and landed on the cover of Time magazine.
Kate made her grammar school stage debut as a box of Special K cereal. That gave her a taste of acting she couldn't forget. She studied drama at both the University of Mississippi and Birmingham Southern University before taking off a summer to serve an apprenticeship at The Stowe Playhouse in Vermont. At the end of the summer, she moved to New York and enrolled in The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and found work as a tour guide at NBC. She graduated in 1970, and two months later landed the role of Daphne on Dark Shadows.
When DS was canceled, Kate made her movie debut in Night of Dark Shadows, then moved to the West Coast. After a couple of high-profile guest-starring roles (on The Jimmy Stewart Show and Bonanza) she caught the eye of producer Aaron Spelling, who cast her in his new series The Rookies. Kate played nurse Jill Danko in the crime drama. While on the show, she made a few TV movies, including Satan's School for Girls (1973) and Killer Bees (1974).
The Rookies lasted from 1972 to 1976. When it was canceled, Kate still had time left on her contract with Spelling, so she ended up on his next series, Charlie's Angels, in the part with which she will always be identified: Sabrina Duncan, a private investigator on Charlie's Angels.
Along with co-stars Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Jaclyn Smith, Kate was soon at the center of a hailstorm of publicity, featured on dozens of magazine covers (including Time), as well as toys, games, and posters.
Kate made headlines in May 1979 when she was fired from Charlie's Angels. The actress had described the show as a bit of fluff "so light it would take a week to get to the floor if you dropped it from the ceiling," so she wasn't exactly heartbroken to leave it behind.
Though just as beautiful as her costars on the show, Kate had long been labeled "the smart one," and was unhappy on the Angels set, refusing to go bra-less and wear the skimpy costumes that gave the show its "jiggle quotient."
Along with her husband, Andrew Stevens, Kate appeared in a made-for-TV remake of the 1937 romantic ghost story Topper in 1979-taking over the role originally played by Joan Bennett's sister, Constance.
Over the next few years, she made more films and TV movies, returning to series television in 1983's Scarecrow and Mrs. King.
In the show's pilot, Kate's character, a recently divorced housewife and mother, accidentally gets pulled into a web of espionage by square-jawed, big-armed hunk Bruce Boxleitner. Through several unlikely twists of fate, (Mrs.) Amanda King found herself working as a secret agent, building up sexual tension with her sexy colleague. The show was on the air until 1987.
Kate's next TV outing was a short-lived 1988 series based on Diane Keaton's 1987 film Baby Boom. Kate reprised Diane's role as J.C. Wiatt, a single, busy executive who finds herself an instant mom when she unexpectedly gets custody of a dead relative's infant daughter. Also in the TV cast was Joy Behar, who later became one of the hosts of the ABC talk show The View.
In 1989's feature film Loverboy, Kate played a seductive, horny housewife chasing after a pizza delivery boy (Patrick Dempsey). More TV movies followed-including Armed and Innocent (1994), Panic in the Skies! (1996) and a remake of Satan's School For Girls (2000). TV guest spots have included roles on Ally McBeal (1997) and Batman Beyond (1999), on which she voiced a villain called Bombshell.
Kate's successful battle with breast cancer made the cover of People magazine May 11, 1992. In the cover story, she recounted the life-changing experience. "I had to decide whether I wanted to live or to die," she said. "Once you choose life, as I did, it's never the same."
Single after three marriages ending in divorce, Kate adopted a son in 1995.
In 2000, she told Biography Magazine the she was purposely keeping a relatively low profile, so she could spend time with her child and selectively choose acting roles that appealed to her.
DAYTIME TV: Donny & Marie (1998), Good Morning America , Hour Magazine (1985), Mike Douglas Show (1977), Dinah!, $25,000 Pyramid, Match Game, Hollywood Squares (1973).
PRIMETIME TV: The New Healers (Nurse Michelle Johnson, 1972, pilot), Bonanza (1971), The New Jimmy Stewart Show (1971), Movin' On (Cory, 1972, pilot), The Rookies (Jill Danko, 1972-76), Charlie's Angels (Sabrina Duncan, 1976-79), Us Against the World (1977), Saturday Night Live (1978), The Emmy Awards, ABC's 25th Anniversary (1978), The National Disaster Survival Test (1977), Scarecrow and Mrs. King (Amanda King, 1984-88), The People's Choice Awards, Baby Boom (J.C. Wyatt, 1988-89), Magical World of Disney (1988), People's Choice Awards (1985), Star Wars Special (1984), Australian Logies Award Show (host, 1983), The Mad Mad World of the Super Bowl, The Sensational Shocking Wonderful Wacky 70's, Tonight Show, The Late Show, Ally McBeal (1997).
TV FILMS: One Ace Too Many, The Jenny Storm Homicide, Satan's School for Girls (Roberta Lockhart, 1973), Killer Bees (Victoria Wells, 1974), Death Cruise (Mary Frances Radney, 1974), Death at Love House (Donna Gregory, 1976), Charlie's Angels (Sabrina Duncan, 1976, pilot), Death Scream, aka The Woman Who Cried Murder (Carol, 1975), James at 15 (Robin, 1977), Topper (Marion Kirby, 1980), Thin Ice (Linda Rivers, 1981), Inmates: A Love Story (Jane Mount, 1981), Listen to Your Heart (Frannie Greene, 1983), . Sweet Deception (1998), Satan's School For Girls (remake, 2000).
TV COMMERCIAL: Dentyne (1969).
SCREEN: Loverboy (1989), Making Love (1982), Dirty Tricks (Polly Bishop, 1979), Thunder and Lightning (1977), Limbo (1971), Night of Dark Shadows (Tracy Collins, 1971).
THEATER: Night Must Fall, The Constant Wife, Little Moon of Alban (all for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Welcome (Vermont).
MISC: Directed episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Executive producer for Child's Cry, TV film, 1986.