Jean Allison, Character Actress Seen in “Bonanza”, “Perry Mason” and More, Dead at 94

The veteran actress' career spanned three decades, as she appeared in dozens of shows like 'Charlie's Angels', 'Gunsmoke', 'Emergency!' and more

<p>Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> Tim Matheson and Jean Allison appearing in ABC

Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Tim Matheson and Jean Allison appearing in ABC's 'Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law' in 1971

Jean Allison, a veteran TV actress, has died. She was 94.

Allison’s death was confirmed by her family in an obituary. According to the memorial, the performer, who was known for roles in shows like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and other series, died on Feb. 28 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Allison built an impressive resume throughout her career as a character actress. She appeared in episodes of an extensive list of popular series such as Charlie’s Angels, The Detectives, Emergency!, Hawaiian Eye, Starsky & Hutch, The Waltons and many others, per her IMDb page.

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The star was born on Oct. 24, 1929 and grew up in Tarrytown, New York. She eventually attended Adelphi College on Long Island and later studied acting under Sanford Meisner.

She was first scouted by an agent while appearing in a stage performance of the drama Teach Me How to Cry and made her on-screen debut in an episode of the CBS anthology General Electric Theater in 1957.

<p>Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty </p> Jean Allison on 'Griff' in 1973

Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Jean Allison on 'Griff' in 1973

Allison also appeared in a handful of film roles. Her feature film debut came in 1958 in the thriller Edge of Fury, in which she starred opposite Michael Higgins. Other roles included The Devil’s Partner (1960), The Steagle (1971), Bad Company (1972) and Hardcore (1979).

Her career spanned over three decades, as she landed character roles into the mid-80s on shows like Highway to Heaven, Simon & Simon, and St. Elsewhere.

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Allison was married three times, including to fellow character actor/director Lee Philips, boxing trainer Jerry Boyd (who wrote the story adapted into the screenplay for 2004’s Million Dollar Baby) and Phil Toorvald, with whom she raised three children with.

Following the deaths of their respective spouses, she also formed a connection with longtime cameraman Jack Couffer, who she first met on the set of Edge of Fury 50 years prior. The two remained companions until his death in 2021.

She is survived by her three children, Erin, Sven and Tina.

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