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Geneva-Born Actress Joan Taylor, of Movies and 'The Rifleman' Fame, Dies at Age 82

Actress Joan Taylor, one of Geneva's claims to fame, dies of natural causes on March 4 in Santa Monica, CA.

Alert Geneva Patch reader Sonny Miller e-mailed with the sad news that has died.

She was born Rose Marie Emma in Geneva on Aug. 18, 1929, and according to Sonny, she did attend .

The Variety Staff on www.voy.com describes her as "Rose Freeman, an actress under the name Joan Taylor who later managed the Hawaii Five-O property created by her husband, writer-producer Leonard Freeman."

Variety says she "died of natural causes in Santa Monica on Sunday, March 4," at the age of 82.

Under the name Joan Taylor, she starred in such science fiction films as Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and 20 Million Miles to Earth and Westerns including Rose Marie, Apache Woman and War Paint.

But for a lot of us who grew up in the early '60s, she's best known as Milly Scott on The Rifleman, starring alongside Chuck Connors.

Her husband died in 1974, and the Variety staff say Taylor managed the Hawaii Five-O property, including the original series ran from 1968-80 and the CBS series remake that premiered in 2010.

Also, courtesy of Variety, she was born in Lake Forest, IL. Her mother was a vaudeville star in the 1920s and her father managed a movie theater.

She is also the first cousin of Geneva's very own Terry Emma, the executive director of the Geneva History Center.

"Her father, Joe, was my dad's brother," she said in a Geneva Patch comment to the earlier article about Joan. "Joe owned the theatre in Lake Forest and my dad worked for him as assistant manager and usher.

"They had three daughters and I was lucky enough in the 1980s to be a guest at one of their weddings."

Rose is survived by three daughters, two brothers and six grandchildren. 

Geneva History Center March 07, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Thought I'd share an e-mail from my mom that includes the following note from Rose's brother, Tom Emma - "In our family, we always knew Rose would be a star. She was the star of all our mother's annual dance recitals at the Deerpath Theater in Lake Forest, Illinois. So why wouldn’t she be a Hollywood star? It was more or less understood in our family, where my brother and I were known as “The brothers with the beautiful sister” that she would be the next Rita Hayworth. And she was an entertainer. During World War II, severely injured sailors in the burn ward at Great Lakes Naval Station Hospital, boys wrapped in bandages from head to toe, tried to applaud and whistle through their teeth when she and Marylyn Munkers danced to the strains of “Lovely Hula Hands” and “Little Grass Shack.” At her junior prom, Lake Forest High School couples formed a circle around her whenever she got up to jitter-bug with her date. So nobody was surprised, in 1946, when she left Lake Forest to attend The Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California. In 1948 when I was a student at The Sorbonne, I got a letter from Rose saying that she had landed a leading role in a Main Stage production of “The Petrified Forest.” Later, the same year, I got another letter saying that she would be starring in a movie called “The Fighting Man of the Plains,” with Randolf Scott. She was on her way.
Rick Nagel (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 11:53 PM
This is probably the coolest comment ever on Geneva Patch. Thanks, Terry!

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