(above) The photo of today’s birthday gal, Sheryl Ullman of the 1969 Golddiggers, that appeared in a 1967 issue of TV Guide chronicling a match made on TV’s Dating Game between Sheryl and Ronald Reagan’s son, Michael.
A couple of years before she was chosen to be one of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers, SHERYL ULLMAN was faced with a choice of her own — one that she was asked to make before millions of viewers on national television: As a contestant on the Saturday night prime-time edition of ABC’s The Dating Game, she had to decide which of three eligible bachelors, visible to the audience but not to her, would be her pick to accompany her on an all-expenses-paid chaperoned jaunt to Victoria, British Columbia. The two who DIDN’T make the cut were actor Sal Mineo and UCLA quarterback Norman Dow, hero of the 1966 Rose Bowl. The lucky winner? Michael Reagan, son of then-California Governor and future President Ronald Reagan.
On top of the usual large audience that The Dating Game‘s matchmaking always drew, the pairing of Sheryl Ullman and Michael Reagan gained extra coverage, due to its being selected by TV Guide to illustrate a typical Dating Game outing (the photo shown here is from that issue). “When Cinderella Meets Prince Charming” read the article’s title. While Sheryl, who was 20 at the time, tells us that she and Michael (then 22) saw a bit more of each other after that first encounter, ultimately, she found her true Prince Charming in her husband, Jim. To that, we’d add that for anyone fortunate enough to know the ever-lovely Sheryl, they’ve found one of the sweetest, most giving, most genuine friends they’ll ever have. And that’s no fairy tale.
So we hope everyone reading this message will join us in wishing Sheryl a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.
(above) Dean Martin (l.) dines with Larri Thomas (r.), as Sid Caesar (center), portraying a daft violinist, repeatedly interrupts their meal, on the Dec. 15, 1966 episode of The Dean Martin Show.
It apparently went unnoticed on websites and in publications that regularly cover Dean Martin, but we at Dean, Golds and Dings have learned that LARRI THOMAS, the striking platinum blonde actress and dancer who was a familiar presence on The Dean Martin Show during its first three seasons, died this past October at the age of 81, shortly after suffering a fall at her home in Van Nuys, California. In addition to being seen weekly on Dean’s series from 1965-68, she also appeared in two feature films in which he starred — the 1964 Rat Pack ensembler, Robin and The 7 Hoods, and the first of Dean’s four Matt Helm spy spoofs, 1966’s The Silencers. Her long list of movie and TV credits included many other parts, as well.
Even showbiz bible Variety failed to note her passing, but The Hollywood Reporter filed this obituary on October 22: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/larri-thomas-dancer-actress-silencers-dies-650121
For more on the life and career of Larri Thomas, see:
• her Dean’s List profile on The Golddiggers Super Site: CLICK HERE
• an online bio of her on the Glamour Girls of The Silver Screen website: CLICK HERE
• a list of her credits on the Internet Movie Database: CLICK HERE
(above) Paula Cinko, whose birthday falls in December, made her national television debut during the height of the summer on Dean Martin Presents The Golddiggers.
Whether it’s a matter of coincidence or serendipity, it seems fitting that the birthday of someone as widely admired and beloved as Paula Cinko would occupy a spot on the calendar at this time of the year, since her personal qualities embody so many of the virtues, and so much of the spirit, traditionally associated with the holiday season: joy, kindness, sincerity, integrity, humility, humanity, and beauty both inside and out.
If there were a Facebook button to “like” this talented alumna of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers and veteran of the Broadway stage, we suspect that she’d be “liked” by everyone who’s ever known her — because in the real world, she already is. So, we’d like to invite everyone reading this message to join us in wishing Paula a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.
Join many alumnae of The Golddiggers, Dingaling Sisters and other cast members of The Dean Martin Show, as well as their fans, by Liking our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:
(above) Birthday gal Taffy Jones helps host Dean Martin dress for the part on a “Records ’Round and ’Round” segment originally telecast during the 1971-72 season of The Dean Martin Show
Almost everyone is familiar with the old saw that “clothes make the man.” And for a gent as sharp-looking as Dean Martin, the opposite might be said, as well. Although rarely seen on his show in anything but his trademark tux, every once in a while, the script would call for him to effect a quick change of clothes, and usually there to help him avoid a wardrobe malfunction were attractive ladies at the ready with the needed garments. During the 7th season of The Dean Martin Show, such assistance was provided by The Dingaling Sisters — as when that quartet’s TAFFY JONES, pictured here, brought Dean a hat and raincoat to aid his imitation of fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra.
But of course, as any regular viewer of the series knows, lending a hand with costumes and props was a very minor part of The Dings’ role on the program. For Taffy and her gal pals, most of their on-screen time was spent singing, dancing, and appearing in comedy sketches with Dean and his guests, in addition to performing their own featured number every week. For Taffy, it was the continuation of a musical journey that was preceded by a stint vocalizing with The Doodletown Pipers, and that would continue following her turn on The Dean Martin Show, when she sang in a band with the man who would become her future husband. Later, she imparted that same artistic sense of taste and élan to her own highly successful retail business dealing in women’s apparel.
Besides being a devoted wife and proud Mom, she’s a also a great lover of animals, and as anyone who knows her can attest, she is warm, witty, and always eager to help a friend if she can — attributes that never go out of style. And so, in our own special fashion, we want to wish Taffy a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.
Mix-’n-mingle with Taffy and other alumnae of The Dean Martin Show by Liking our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:
(above) Birthday girl Tara Leigh (r.) shares a tender moment with Dean Martin (l.) on the Nov. 23, 1972 episode of The Dean Martin Show
As the media have been relentlessly reminding us, today marks the anniversary of a tragic and traumatic event in our nation’s history. But apart from all of the darkness that surrounds November 22nd, there is at least one distinctly bright spot about this date; for it also commemorates the entry into this world of Renee Anderson — better known to fans of The Dean Martin Show, The Dingaling Sisters and The Golddiggers as Tara Lee, whose beautiful face and operatic soprano forever endeared her to millions of fans on Dean’s series, and who later gained a whole new following as Alexandria Quartermaine on TV sudser General Hospital.
What her admirers, and even some of her friends, may not know about Renee is that she’s not only highly talented in front of the camera, but behind it, as well. For proof, one need look no further than her gallery of photographs, on display at Fineart America, where it’s possible to browse her latest collection, and even pick up a Tara/Renee original to own. Before heading over there, though, we hope all of her fans and friends will join us here at Dean, Golds and Dings in wishing the most original Tara/Renee a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.
To view her gallery, just click this link: http://renee-anderson.artistwebsites.com/galleries.html.
(above) Janice Whitby of the 1970-72 Golddiggers, as seen (along with other members of the group) in a 1972 TV Guide fashion pictorial spotlighting women’s hats
We want to thank everyone brave enough to have ventured a guess in our Mystery Girl Photo Contest, and we congratulate Marilyn O’Leary-Baker of the 1970-71 Golddiggers, who was first to submit the correct answer, with DGD regular Barry Deslauriers following suit…One of the clues we gave was that if you could see that black-and-white picture of our mystery gal in color, you could quickly narrow down the possibilities. Well, now, with our just-posted photo of the lady in question all grown up and posing for a Golddiggers hat fashion spread in TV Guide, we think you can see why.
To followers of the Golddiggers, she’s the beautiful redhead who could kick up a storm or perform a delicate ballet on The Dean Martin Show and Golddiggers’ syndicated series. To sci-fi fans, she will forever be Katy, the cybernetic fembot from The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. To those familiar with her current line of clever and creative work, she is a first-rate graphic artist. But to all of her friends and family, she is the sweet and lovely JANICE WHITBY.
And since today is her birthday (what a coincidence, huh?!), we want to wish you, Jan, a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.
…and on our own Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:
Here’s a little challenge that we thought would be fun for all:
The vintage wire service photo that you see above originally ran in daily newspapers across the U.S. The kicker is that one of the young ladies taking part in the bottle and jug band in the picture — the one second from the right — would eventually grow up to be one of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. Can you guess which one AND who she is?
Our mystery gal has given us permission to conduct this little quiz, and both Dean Golds and Dings fans and alumnae are welcome to participate. So, c’mon…Take a guess! You can respond here, or better yet, on our Facebook page…and we’ll reveal the correct answer tomorrow.