Shelley Fabares

Shelley Fabares

Fabares at the 1991 Emmy Awards
Born Michele Ann Marie Fabares
(1944-01-19) January 19, 1944
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Other names Shelly Fabares
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1947present
Spouse(s) Lou Adler (m. 1964; div. 1980)
Mike Farrell (m. 1984)
Relatives Nanette Fabray (Aunt)

Michele Ann Marie "Shelley" Fabares (/fæˈbr/; born January 19, 1944) is an American actress and singer. Fabares is known for her roles as Donna Reed's daughter Mary Stone on The Donna Reed Show (1958–1963), and as Hayden Fox's love interest (and eventual wife) Christine Armstrong on the sitcom Coach (1989–1997). She was Elvis Presley's co-star in three films. In 1962, her recording of "Johnny Angel" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Early life and career

Michele Ann Marie Fabares was born in Santa Monica, California.[1] She is the niece of actress Nanette Fabray.[2] Fabares began acting at age three, and at age 10 made her television debut in an episode of Letter to Loretta. After guest-starring on various television series, Fabares landed the role of Mary Stone in the long-running family sitcom The Donna Reed Show.

Her national popularity led to a recording contract and two "Top 40" hits, including "Johnny Angel," which went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1962,[2] and peaked at number 41 in the UK.[3] It sold over one million copies and was certified gold.[4] Fabares left The Donna Reed Show in 1963 (she would return periodically until its end in 1966) to pursue a film career. She appeared in a number of motion pictures, including three Elvis Presley movies: Girl Happy (1965), Spinout (1966), and Clambake (1967), the most by any one actress. In two other 1960s movies, she played the love interest of Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits in Hold On! and of a young Hank Williams, Jr. in A Time to Sing.

During the 1970s, Fabares appeared on several television series, including Love, American Style, The Rockford Files, The Interns, Mannix, The Practice, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and Fantasy Island. In 1971, she starred along with Billy Dee Williams and James Caan in the successful TV movie Brian's Song, the true story of terminally ill Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo. Caan played Piccolo, and she played his wife, Joy. In 1981, Fabares played Francine Webster on One Day at a Time, a role she reprised throughout the series' run.

In 1989, she won the role of Christine Armstrong Fox on the ABC sitcom Coach. For her work, Fabares was nominated twice for a Primetime Emmy Award,[5] and in 1994, she was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award for her role as Mary Stone on The Donna Reed Show.[6] After Coach ended in 1997, Fabares voiced the role of Martha "Ma" Kent in Superman: The Animated Series. She reprised the role twice, once for a 2003 episode of Justice League and again for the 2006 direct-to-video film Superman: Brainiac Attacks.

Personal life

Fabares was a lifelong friend of Annette Funicello, whom she met in catechism class in the seventh grade.[7] She was at Annette's bedside with her family when she died of multiple sclerosis on April 8, 2013.


Fabares married record and movie producer Lou Adler in June 1964, separated in 1966, and was divorced in 1980.[8] In 1984, she married actor Mike Farrell, and is stepmother to his two children, Erin and Michael.[7]

Health issues

In October 2000, Fabares received a life-saving liver transplant after being diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis.[9][10]


Year Title Role Notes
1955 The Girl Rush Kim - Age 9 Uncredited
1956 Never Say Goodbye Suzy Parker
1956 The Bad Seed Margie Uncredited
1957 Jeanne Eagels Teenage Girl Uncredited
1958 Summer Love Twinkie Daley
1958 Marjorie Morningstar Seth's Girl Friend Uncredited
1964 Ride the Wild Surf Brie Matthews
1965 Girl Happy Valerie Frank
1966 Hold On! Louisa Page Alternative title: There's No Place Like Space
1966 Spinout Cynthia Foxhugh
1967 Clambake Dianne Carter
1968 A Time to Sing Amy Carter
1971 Brian's Song Joy
1987 Hot Pursuit Buffy Cronenberg
1990 Love or Money LuAnn Reed Alternative title: For Love or Money
2006 Superman: Brainiac Attacks Martha Kent (Voice) Direct-to-video release
Year Title Role Notes
1954–1958 Letter to Loretta Marie Schumann
2 episodes
1955 Producers' Showcase Rebecca Gibbs 1 episode
1955 Matinee Theater Young Cathy 1 episode
1955 Captain Midnight Mary Kingsley 1 episode
1956 Annie Oakley Prudy Warren 1 episode
1957 Fury Midge Mallon 1 episode
1958 Walt Disney Presents: Annette Moselle Corey 15 episodes
1958–1965 The Donna Reed Show Mary Stone 191 episodes
1959 The Rebel Nora Hendry 1 episode
1963 Mr. Novak Dani Cooper 2 episodes
1964 The Eleventh Hour Carol Hamilton 1 episode
1964 Arrest and Trial Donna Blaney 1 episode
1964 The Twilight Zone Ellen Tillman 1 episode
1968 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Vanessa 1 episode
1969 Daniel Boone Charity Brown 1 episode
1969 Lancer Melissa Harper 1 episode
1969 Bracken's World Hilary Saxon 1 episode
1969 Medical Center "Mike" Carter 1 episode
1971 Longstreet Marianne Franklin 1 episode
1971 Brian's Song Joy Piccolo Television movie
1971 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Lorraine Latham 1 episode
1972 McCloud Natalie Rudell 1 episode
1972 Cade's County Stephanie 1 episode
1972 The Brian Keith Show Dr. Anne Jamison Unknown episodes
1974 Police Story Annette Weiner 1 episode
1974 Ironside Charlotte Black 1 episode
1974 The Rockford Files Jolene Hyland 1 episode
1975 The Rookies Ann McNeal 1 episode
1975 Matt Helm Chris/Tina 1 episode
1975 Barnaby Jones Susan Burke 1 episode
1976 Marcus Welby, M.D. Norma Fritchie 1 episode
1976 Spencer's Pilots Annette 1 episode
1976-1977 The Practice Jenny Bedford 27 episodes
1977–1978 Forever Fernwood Eleanor Major Unknown episodes
1978 Vega$ Linda Stockwood 1 episode
1978 The Incredible Hulk Holly Cooper 1 episode
1978–1984 One Day at a Time Francine Webster 23 episodes
1979 Hello, Larry Marion Alder 3 episodes
1979 Highcliffe Manor Helen 6 episodes
1980–1981 Mork & Mindy Cathy 3 episodes
1980–1985 The Love Boat Various roles 3 episodes
1983 Matt Houston Barbara Newton 1 episode
1983 ABC Afterschool Special Fran Brogliatti 1 episode
1983 Memorial Day Ellie Walker Television movie
1985 The Canterville Ghost Lucy Television movie
1985 Suburban Beat Mimi Television movie
1987 Newhart Diane Beckwith 1 episode
1988 Run Till You Fall Kathy Reuben Television movie
1989 Murder, She Wrote Liza Caspar 2 episodes
1989–1997 Coach Christine Armstrong 199 episodes
1993 Deadly Relations Shirley Fagot Television movie
1995 The Great Mom Swap Millie Ridgeway Television movie
1996 Superman: The Last Son of Krypton Martha Kent (Voice) Television movie
1996–1998 Superman: The Animated Series Martha Kent (Voice) 8 episodes
1997 A Nightmare Come True Lily Zarn Television movie
1998 Playing to Win: A Moment of Truth Movie Nancy Erickson Television movie
2003 Justice League Ma Kent (Voice) 1 episode


Studio albums

Featuring four tracks each by Shelley, James Darren and Paul Petersen
Songs from the movie sung by Shelley, The Marcels, James Darren and Paul Petersen
Second compilation featuring Shelley, James Darren and Paul Petersen

Soundtrack songs



Year Title B-Side U.S. Label and number
February 1962 "Johnny Angel" "Where's It Gonna Get Me" 1[2] Colpix 621
April 1962 "What Did They Do Before Rock 'n' Roll"(with Paul Petersen) "Very Unlikely"
(with Paul Petersen)
Colpix 631
May 1962 "Johnny Loves Me" "I'm Growing Up" 21[12] Colpix 636
August 1962 "The Things We Did Last Summer" "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" 46[13] Colpix 654
December 1962 "Telephone (Won't You Ring)" "Big Star" 109[14] Colpix 667
March 1963 "Ronnie, Call Me When You Get a Chance" "I Left a Note to Say Goodbye" 72[15] Colpix 682
October 1963 "Welcome Home" "Billy Boy"
Colpix 705
January 1964 "Football Season's Over" "He Don't Love Me"
Colpix 721
September 1964 "I Know You'll Be There" "Lost Summer Love"
Vee-Jay VJ632
May 1965 "My Prayer" "Pretty Please"
Dunhill D-4001
August 1966 "See Ya 'Round On the Rebound" "Pretty Please"
Dunhill D-4041

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1993 Primetime Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Coach
1994 Coach
1965 Laurel Awards Nominated New Faces, Female
2004 TV Land Award Nominated Favorite Teen Dream - Female The Donna Reed Show
1994 Young Artist Award Won Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award The Donna Reed Show


  1. Strodder, Chris (2000). Swingin' Chicks of the '60s: A Tribute to 101 of the Decade's Defining Women. Cedco Pub. p. 35. ISBN 0-7683-2232-4.
  2. 1 2 3 Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number One Single on Billboard's Hot 100 from 1955 to the Present (5 ed.). Billboard Books. p. 107. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.
  3. "Shelley Fabares - Johnny Angel". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  4. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 145. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. Lisanti, Tom (2000). Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema: Interviews With 20 Actresses From Biker, Beach and Elvis Movies. McFarland. p. 283. ISBN 0-7864-0868-5.
  6. "15th Annual Youth in Film Awards". Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  7. 1 2 Sanz, Cynthia (1991-04-15). "Shelley Fabares Fell for a Former M*A*S*H-Er, Mike Farrell". People. 35: 72. ISSN 0093-7673.
  8. "Shelley Fabares - The Private Life and Times of Shelley Fabares. Shelley Fabares Pictures". Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  9. Slaughter, Adele (2002-04-24). "Shelley Fabares 'coaches' life-giving game plan". Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  10. April 4, 2012. "Shelley Fabares: Illness and Liver Transplant - MedicineNet - Health and Medical Information Produced by Doctors". MedicineNet. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  11. 1 2 3 "Shelley Fabares". AllMusic. 1944-01-19. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  12. Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (6th ed.). New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 212. ISBN 0-8230-7632-6.
  13. "Shelley Fabares". AllMusic. 1944-01-19. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  14. Whitburn, Joel (2005). Bubbling Under The Billboard Hot 100 1959-2004 (2nd ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 94. ISBN 0-89820-162-4.
  15. Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (10th ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 234. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.

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