Joan Benedict Dies: ‘Candid Camera’, ‘General Hospital’ Actor, Widow Of Rod Steiger Was 96

Joan Benedict Dies: ‘Candid Camera’, ‘General Hospital’ Actor, Widow Of Rod Steiger Was 96

Joan Benedict Steiger, who was part of the original stock company for Candid Camera and later became the wife of actor Rod Steiger, died June 24 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. She was 96.

Her death was announced by a family spokesperson.

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As Joan Benedict, she got her start on TV during the medium’s early days, appearing in the 1950s on Candid Camera and The Steve Allen Show. She would go on to score dozens of TV credits with guest appearances in the 1970s on such series as The Smith Family, Apple’s Way, The Incredible Hulk and Fantasy Island, among others.

Later TV and film credits include The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, Hotel, The Trials of Rosie O’Neill and Dollhouse. She recurred on soap General Hospital as the character Edith Fairchild, and also appeared in Days of Our Lives and Capitol.

Born July 21, 1927, in Brooklyn, Benedict began taking dance lessons as a child at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, later studying at the Rome Opera Ballet School. Returning to New York, she pivoted to acting classes at The Actors Studio, studying under Robert Lewis and Stella Adler.

Alongside her TV roles, Benedict appeared frequently on stage in regional theaters and Off Broadway productions of Promises, Promises, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Donald Margulies’ Collected Stories, Horton Foote’s The Traveling Lady, and solo shows Leona (about hotel magnate Leona Helmsley) and the autobiographical The Loves of My Life.

In an interview, she once said, “The theatre for me is like being in church. When you feel the audience, and feel that communication with other souls, it’s like music. As a performer, I’m always pursuing that wonderful experience where you are completely alert and clear, and yet transported through your imagination.”

Benedict met Steiger when she was just 19, and although they had a brief romance at the time, the two soon went their separate ways. Benedict then married actor John Myhers, and the two lived in Los Angeles for three decades until his death in 1992. In the late ’90s, she reconnected with Steiger through mutual friends.

“I got a call from him out of the blue,” she recalled years later in an interview. “He’d been at a party where someone had mentioned me, and we got together again after all those years.”

Benedict and Steiger were married from 2000 until his death in 2002. She subsequently was in a relationship with Once Life To Live actor Jeremy Slate until he died in 2006.

“Strangely, I met all three of these men when I was in New York, just beginning my career while I was still a teenager,” she said in a 2016 interview. “Both of my husbands, and my lifetime partner Jeremy, were wonderful men who respected me as an actress. They all died from different forms of cancer, so my memories are sometimes bittersweet, but with no regrets.”

Benedict is survived by daughter Claudia Myhers Tschudin and granddaughters Hanna Tschudin and Ashley Tschudin.


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