One of the most startling results of time’s relentless passage is when you wake up and realize that somebody you lusted after in your youth has suddenly turned, well, old. That phenomenon struck me when actress Susan Saint James, of McMillan & Wife fame, celebrated her 60th birthday in 2006, and again when The Avengers’ Diana Rigg turned 70 just two years after that. How could these small-screen beauties be clocking so many birthdays when I still thought of them as nubile 20-somethings?
I’m in the grip of that same peculiar nostalgia today, as I note the 70th birthday of Sherry Jackson.
Although this Idaho-born actress made her film debut at age 7, was featured in a few of the Ma and Pa Kettle comedies of the 1950s, and was a regular on The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) from 1953 to 1958, playing Thomas’ daughter, my immediate memory of Jackson always casts her as Andrea, the supposedly unemotional android she played in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?,” one of the earliest episodes of Star Trek. Andrea, as any veteran Trekkie can tell you, was the alluringly attired sexual companion of medical archaeologist Dr. Roger Korby, a man who once sparked the passions of the Enterprise’s Nurse Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett).
I’m embedding a selection of scenes from that episode below. Jackson is of course the chestnut-tressed, full-lipped, cleft-chinned temptress in the cleavage-showcasing crossover top:
When she shot that memorable episode, Jackson was a mere 24 years old. Yet that’s the way she remains in my mind’s eye.
During the decades since I first watched “What Are Little Girls Made Of?,” I’ve spotted her in a variety of other productions, from 77 Sunset Strip and Perry Mason to My Three Sons, Love, American Style, and The Rockford Files. She featured in two installments of the oft-campy TV series Batman, playing The Riddler’s once again skimpily outfitted cohort, Pauline. She guest-starred on Lost in Space, Matt Helm, The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, Switch, and The Incredible Hulk; notched up two showings on The Wild Wild West; and did another turn with Star Trek’s William Shatner, this time playing a San Francisco casino dealer in his 1975-1976 TV series, The Barbary Coast.
Jackson was cast in Blake Edwards’ Gunn, a 1967 big-screen sequel to his TV series Peter Gunn (which included a tame nude scene--unfortunately cut from the U.S. version--and led to her appearance in Playboy), and then won the part of renowned comic-book news-gatherer Brenda Starr in a failed, 1979 TV pilot film, Brenda Starr, Reporter. The International Movie Database (IMDb) records her final screen performance as being in Casino, a 1980 teleflick starring Mannix’s Mike Connors.
Since that time, Jackson has remained largely out of the spotlight, though she did receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1980, and she shows up occasionally for fan events. There’s also an Official Sherry Jackson Website and Fanbase, where you’ll find photos and video segments from her appearances over the years.
To celebrate her 70th birthday today, I’ve tracked down a couple of fan-created videos to share with the rest of you. This first one compiles clips from The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space, Batman, The Wild Wild West, and naturally, Star Trek:
The second “tribute” assemblage--set, appropriately, to Hot Chocolate’s 1975 song “You Sexy Thing”--shows Jackson in Starsky & Hutch, The Incredible Hulk, Gomer Pyle, USMC, Casino, and assorted other films or series I don’t immediately recognize:
For leaving me with 40 years of wonderful memories, I salute you today, Sherry Jackson! In my mind, you will always be young and seductive-eyed, and look stunning in that crossover top.
READ MORE: “Space Babe to Radio Guest” and “‘Make a Wish,’” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet); “From Baby Sherry to Sherry Baby: My Memorable Afternoon with Sherry Jackson,” “60’s Chic(k): The Retro Fantasy World of Sherry Jackson,” and “The Times--They Are A-Strange Thing: Sherry Jackson and the End of the 1960s,” by Mel Neuhaus (Examiner.com).