Dannielle Mardi was quite an enigma before
April 2, 2007. On that date I received a very nice letter with
all kinds of information about the actress from, you guessed it, the
actress herself! How wonderful! I always enjoy hearing
directly from the people I discuss, so this was quite a treat.
Now Dannielle Robertson, she lives in Leesburg, Indiana and runs a
Dannielle Robertson began her career at age four, on
the Gene Autry
Radio Show as the "warm up" act for the live audience. She was
the daughter of famed guitarist, Noel Boggs. He would accompany
her version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". From those very
early years into theater, films, television, and USO tours, Dannielle
has had a very busy and interesting life. When asked, she says
glibly, "My life has been my career, all I needed was a series of jobs
to support it!" Jobs, she's had.
She trained as a ballerina, but wanted to be Dale
told the job was taken, she was disappointed, but went on to create a
more varied life for herself than even Dale could imagine.
In television, she has worked with Dean Martin,
Carol Burnett, the
Laugh-In group, numerous guests on "The Hollywood Palace Show" as well
as the recognizable, very British, Helen Thompson character for three
years on "The Beverly Hillbillies". Her stories about how she got
these, as well as numerous other "show biz" jobs are just the stuff to
make anyone giggle. Her film credits include "My Fair Lady",
"Paint Your Wagon", "Thoroughly Modern Millie", "Oliver" and others.
She readily talks about the capriciousness of
Hollywood and the reality of ageism. "I've aged out of so many
careers," she laughs, "that I am almost back to where I began!"
While she openly laughs about the situation, she is deadly serious
about its outcome. "I grew up in an entertainment family, so I
guess it was natural to become part of the 'family business'," she
quips. But in reality, she also listened to her mother and got
that good education. She took a double major of Theater/English
with a minor in Journalism at a small Quaker college in Southern
California. While touring with different stage shows she would
take courses, some for credit, wherever she was if her stay was long
"I think the most bizarre classroom experience was
at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I was taking a rather
serious Philosophy course in critical thought. I had to miss a
lecture because I was involved in this really insipid contest.
Unfortunately, it was televised. When I won it and returned to my
classroom commitments, the Prof said he would excuse me if I gave him
an autographed photo. I really felt stupid."
She took her studies seriously, finishing her PhD in
Philosophy from the University of California, Irvine, in 1975. As
an Associate Professor at Claremont College, in California, she
realized her joy in teaching was genuine. "I loved the classroom
and my students, but I hated the collegiate politics and
posturing." Subsequently she began doing documentaries for
PBS. Calling upon the talents of old friends, she did
"Nachtwacht" (Nightwatch) for the BBC with Audrey Hepburn, "El Despitar
en los Campos" (Desperation in the Fields) with Andy Garcia for WGBH,
WNET, and KCET as well as others. "I love being behind the
camera," she admits. "It's like painting a moving picture that
talks. For me, it was so personally rewarding."
As if Hollywood and Las Vegas were not enough,
Dannielle has also performed live in numerous theatrical performances,
including the National Tour of the musical "Company".
"I loved that show, and my character Amy, the
absolute Queen of Neuroses. A live audience is a new teacher
every night, and applause is the ultimate reward."
And why Indiana? "Well," she says,
thoughtfully, "I wanted a greater quality to my life. You have
it, I wanna get me some!"
And so she is!
Candid: May 2007
I love this photo! Comes from May 2007. She had
just finished a play version of "Doctor Dolittle" at the middle school
where she teaches. It was a huge success! Dannielle is on
the far left wearing the green pants and the big, friendly smile that
got her places since she started in entertainment at age four!
Publicity: Miss Showgirl International (1969, Las Vegas, Nevada)
Regis Philbin is with
her as announcer. Winning
this contest actually got Dannielle the attention needed to land the
Helen Thompson on "The Beverly Hillbillies".