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June 3, 2023

30 Gorgeous Photos of Joan Shawlee in the 1940s and ’50s

Born 1926 in Forest Hills, New York, American actress Joan Shawlee began to work as a model for the John Robert Powers agency in New York as the age of fourteen.

Shawlee is known for her recurring role as “Pickles” in The Dick Van Dyke Show, a career-defining turn in Billy Wilder’s comedy titled Some Like It Hot (1959) playing Sweet Sue, the abrasive martinet in charge of Marilyn Monroe’s all-girl jazz band, and as the flamboyant Madame Pompey in the 1957 Maverick episode “Stampede” with James Garner.

In the early 1960s, Shawlee and actress Mitzi McCall teamed up as a night club act. They opened at the Club Robaire in Cleveland. In January 1961, syndicated newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen reported that the team was “causing quite a stir”, while drawing attention to – and exaggerating – their discrepancy in height: “Joan being six feet, three inches tall and Mitzi four feet, 10 inches short.”

Shawlee died of breast cancer, in Hollywood, California, in 1987, aged 61. Take a look at these gorgeous photos to see the beauty of young Joan Shawlee in the 1940s and 1950s.


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