Catherine McLeod

Catherine McLeod

Catherine McLeod (July 2, 1921 – May 11, 1997) was an American actress who made over 60 television and movie appearances between 1944 and 1976. She memorably portrayed the one woman whom James Garner‘s character Bret Maverick wanted to marry on the 1957 ABC/Warner Brothers television series Maverick, in the episode “Rage for Vengeance.”

McLeod was born in Santa Monica, California. Her schooling came in an Alhambra convent. She acted in a Los Angeles little theater and studied in the Bliss-Hayden drama workshop. She worked in a movie theater in Reno and later became a chorus girl in musicals.

McLeod made two guest appearances on Perry Mason: Lorraine Ferrell in “The Case of the Vagabond Vixen” (1957) and Nora Huxley in “The Case of the Glittering Goldfish” (1959). In both roles, she played the wife of the murder victim, but was neither the defendant nor actual murderer.

McLeod appeared in dozens of other series, including The MillionaireMeet McGrawRichard Diamond, Private DetectiveMaverickopposite James Garner77 Sunset StripMickey Spillane’s Mike HammerBroncoColt .45Lawman (in the 1961 episode “The Prodigal Mother”, with child actor Billy Booth), BonanzaHazelHawaiian EyeHave Gun – Will TravelThe Outer LimitsThe VirginianGunsmoke, and the “Ten Thousand Horses Singing” episode of Studio One opposite James Dean and John Forsythe.

Her films included the leading performance as a concert pianist in Frank Borzage‘s I’ve Always Loved You (1946), Courage of Lassie (1946), The Fabulous Texan (1947), Borzage’s That’s My Man (1947),  Old Los Angeles (1948), My Wife’s Best Friend (1952), A Blueprint for Murder (1953), William Witney‘s The Outcast (1954), Ride the Wild Surf (1964), and Lipstick (1976).

McLeod’s greatest impact upon American consciousness by far, however, was as purveyor of one of the most ubiquitous catchphrases of its era when she portrayed the woman in the 1963 headache remedy Anacin television commercial, who plaintively but irritably said, “Mother, please! I’d rather do it myself!” The announcer’s voiceover would then intone, “Sure you have a headache… tense, irritable…. but don’t take it out on her.”

McLeod married Bill Gerds {January 30, 1947 – 1949) (divorced), who was then a dental student in San Francisco. They eloped to Reno on January 3, 1947. McLeod’s second husband was actor Don Keefer7 May 1950 until her death on 11 May 1997 having three children together

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