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Jean Allison, Actress in ‘Edge of Fury’ and Loads of TV Shows, Dies at 94

Jean Allison, the familiar character actress who appeared on dozens of TV shows, from Have Gun — Will Travel, Bonanza, Hawaiian Eye and The Rifleman to McCloud, Adam-12, The Waltons and Highway to Heaven, has died. She was 94.

Allison, a resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, died Feb. 28, her family announced.

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Allison made her big-screen debut as a woman menaced by a psychopath (Michael Higgins) in the United Artists drama Edge of Fury (1958), and her film résumé also included The Devil’s Partner (1960), Paul Sylbert’s The Steagle (1971), Robert Benton’s Bad Company (1972) and Paul Schrader’s Hardcore (1979).

Born in New York on Oct. 24, 1929, Allison attended Marymount High School in Tarrytown, New York, and Adelphi College, also in New York.

While appearing on stage in the Patricia Joudry drama Teach Me How to Cry, she was spotted and signed by agent Doovid Barskin. Her first TV gig came in 1957 on CBS’ General Electric Theater.

During her three-decade career, Allison would also show up on Rawhide, Bourbon Street Beat and Wagon Train in the 1950s; Wanted: Dead or Alive, Bat Masterson, 77 Sunset Strip and The Dick Van Dyke Show in the ’60s; Cannon, The Rookies, Gunsmoke and Emergency! in the ’70s; and St. Elsewhere and Simon & Simon in the ’80s, among many other series.

Jean Allison Obit General Electric Theater
Jean Allison with Chuck Connors (center) and John Agar on ‘General Electric Theater’

Allison was married to and divorced from actor-director Lee Philips and boxing trainer Jerry Boyd — a story he wrote under the pseudonym F.X. Toole would be adapted for Million Dollar Baby — before she wed Philip Toorvald, a Stanford University senior studying electrical engineering, in 1961. They were together until his death in 1994.

Fifty years after they first met on Edge of Fury, she and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Jack Couffer (Jonathan Livingston Seagull) began a companionship that lasted until he died in July 2021 at age 96.

Survivors include her children, Erin, Sven and Tina.

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