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Remember 'The Rifleman' TV Show? Who Knew (I Didn't) That Joan Taylor Was Born in Geneva?

Here's some cool Geneva Trivia: The woman who played Chuck Connor's love interest was born in Geneva!

I'm always on the lookout for stories about Geneva, and when I saw this one a few minutes ago, I felt compelled to post something on Geneva Patch, for a three reasons.

First, I was surprised and delighted to discover, courtesy of an aside deeply buried in an article by Jonathan Pinkerton about "TCM's Summer Under the Stars," that the woman who played Millie Scott on The Rifleman TV series was born in Geneva.

For anyone from Geneva younger than me—which is at least three-quarters of the population—I should explain that The Rifleman was a very cool, very popular TV series in the early 1960s.

And "Millie Scott" was a knockout. To die for. The kind of star a young Geneva TV viewer could fall in love with. Chuck Connors had his eyes on her, I'm sure.

But I digress.

It turns out the actress' name is Joan Taylor, who starred in a lot of movies. You absolutely have to check out this website for more of her bio, but her credits include Fighting Man of the Plains with Randolph Scott, The Savage with Charlton Heston and War Paint with Robert Stack.

Her specialty, apparently, was playing an "Indian girl" in Westerns or, in the case of War Drums, "an exotic Mexican girl" named Riva. 

The first line of her bio explains that Joan Taylor was a stage name. In fact, she was born Rose Marie Emma, Aug. 18, 1929, in Geneva, IL.

Emma is a well-known Geneva name. Terry, of course, is the . I'm hoping to ask Terry if she is related. It's quite possible they're not. According to the bio, Rose Marie Emma's family moved to Lake Forest soon after she was born.

Joan is mentioned in the TCM context because War Drums is airing at 10 p.m. CST tonight, Thursday, Aug. 11. That's the second reason I felt compelled to write this up now.

The third is Pinkerton's cavalier and not-so-flattering reference to my favorite town in all the world:

"Side Note: Tarzan fans will no doubt recognize Barker who starred as the famed jungle man in five early 1950s films, having assumed the role following Johnny Weissmuller's departure. Taylor, who was born in the not-so-exotic locale of Geneva, Illinois, would go on to co-star as Milly in The Rifleman TV series."

OK, maybe we're not so exotic. 

But in the mind's eye of an aging Geneva resident, Joan Taylor certainly was—or is.

And it's about time she joined Bob Woodward and Gower Champion on the Wikipedia list of "Notable People" who were born and raised here.

Geneva History Center August 12, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Rick Rose Marie is my first cousin! Her father Joe was my dad's brother. Joe owned the theatre in Lake Forest and my dad worked for him as assistant manager and usher. Rose married Leonard Freeman who was the producer of the original Hawaii 5-0. That show has since been revived. They had three daughters and I was lucky enough in the 1980's to be a guest at one of their weddings - my first and only Jewish wedding experience. My mom has even more info and I sent the article to her. She keeps in touch with Rose and will forward it to her too. Maybe Rose will comment after she reads it! Thanks for reviving some great old family memories and history!
Geneva History Center August 12, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Forgot to mention that one of Rose's daughters was an extra in the movie "Back to the Future" with Michael J. Fox.
Rick Nagel August 12, 2011 at 07:18 PM
That is so cool! Thanks so much for the update, Terry!!! (And, of course, I should mention the purely empirical observation that beauty obviously runs in the family!)

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