Garland was born Beverly Lucy Fessenden in Santa Cruz, California, the daughter of Amelia Rose (née Scherer), a businesswoman, and James Atkins Fessenden, a singer and salesman. Garland grew up in Glendale, California. She was a drama student of Anita Arliss. In the 1950s, many of her roles were of secure, tough women who could handle themselves in violent situations. One such role was as a secrets-keeping secretary in the classic film noir D.O.A. (she was credited as “Beverly Campbell”). 1956 was a busy year for Garland: she played a female marshal in the Western Gunslinger with Chris Alcaide as her deputy; a prison escapee in Swamp Diamonds; and a scientist’s wife who battles an alien in It Conquered the World. All three films were directed by Roger Corman and riffed in the 1990s by Mystery Science Theater 3000. Garland appeared from 1957-58 as undercover police officer “Casey Jones” in the syndicated television series Decoy, the first American television police series with a woman in the starring role. It lasted a single season of thirty-nine episodes. Garland guest starred in 1956 as Nelli Austin, a rodeo sharpshooter, in the episode “Rodeo Rough House” of Rod Cameron’s syndicated drama series, State Trooper. Claude Akins appeared in this episode as the murderous but unnamed rodeo clown. Garland and Akins appeared together again in the 1960 episode “Prison Trail”, Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV series) and again in the 1963 episode “The Chooser of the Slain” of The Dakotas. In 1955, Garland had been cast in the episode “Man Down, Woman Screaming” of Rod Cameron’s first syndicated series, City Detective, the story of a tough New York City police lieutenant. She appeared that same year as Sarah Garvey in the episode “Cattle Drive to Casper” of Frontier. On September 5, 1955, she co-starred in an episode of Science Fiction Theatre, called “The Negative Man”. Around the same time, she appeared in the first Brian Keith series Crusader. She appeared twice as “Doris Denny Bona” in the episodes “Remember the Alamo” and “The Widow of Kill Cove” in 1960 in Cameron’s third syndicated series, COronado 9. In 1960, Garland was cast as Dr. Nora James in the episode “Three Graves” of Riverboat.
She guest starred in 1963 as Marya Stone in the episode “What Did She Mean By Good Luck?” on The Eleventh Hour. She appeared in a season one episode, “Smoke Screen”, of The Fugitive. In the 1964-65 television season, she co-starred as Ellie Collins on The Bing Crosby Show. She appeared in the 1968 feature film Pretty Poison but is best known for playing suburban mothers on My Three Sons and Scarecrow and Mrs. King Garland was featured on Remington Steele as the mother of Laura Holt (played by series star Stephanie Zimbalist). Her decades of television guest appearances include appearances on episodes of Twilight Zone, Kung Fu, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. On 7th Heaven, she appeared in nine episodes as Ginger Jackson, stepmother of Annie Camden, opposite Peter Graves. In addition to working with Graves on 7th Heaven, Garland also starred opposite Graves’ brother, James Arness, in four episodes of Gunsmoke. On radio, she was an original player of the California Actors Radio Theatre. C.A.R.T. often recorded its programs on the grounds of Garland’s hotel in The Beverly Garland Little Theater, which was decorated with large movie posters from many of her feature films. For her contribution to the television industry, Garland has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard. On December 5, 2008, Garland died, from undisclosed causes, after a lengthy illness, in the mid-century contemporary house in the Hollywood Hills that was her home of over 40 years. A memorial service and reception was attended by several hundred people on December 13 at her namesake hotel property, Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn. Her body was cremated. She was survived by a son, a daughter, and two grandchildren.
- October, 17, 1926
- Santa Cruz, California
- December, 05, 2008
- Hollywood Hills, California