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Joan Tompkins

Personal information
Birth dateJuly 9, 1915
Place of birthNew York, USA
Date of deathJanuary 29, 2005(age 89)
Death placeOrange County
SpouseKarl Swenson (widowed in 1978)
ChildrenFour stepsons, including Steven Swenson

     Home | American actors | Joan Tompkins

Joan Tompkins, legally known as Joan Swenson (July 9, 1915 January 29, 2005) was an American actress of television, film, radio, and stage, who co-founded with her husband, Karl Swenson, an acting company in Beverly Hills, California. In the 1962-1963 television season, Tompkins played legal secretary Trudy Wagner in twenty-eight episodes of Edmond O'Brien's NBC legal drama Sam Benedict, co-starring Richard Rust. From 1967-1970, she guest starred nine times as Lorraine Miller in Fred MacMurray's CBS situation comedy, My Three Sons, with her last appearance in the episode "St. Louis Blues" on December 19, 1970.

According to the Social Security Death Index, Tompkins, listed as Joan Swenson at death, was living in New York when she procured her Social Security number, probably in the late 1930s. In 1938, at the age of twenty-three, she joined Henry Fonda in performing plays in White Plains, New York. Thereafter, she performed on radio in the soap opera role of Nora Drake on This Is Nora Drake, which ran on CBS radio until 1959. She appeared on Broadway in New York City in stage productions of Pride and Prejudice and My Sister Eileen. During her radio performances, she met Karl Swenson, who portrayed the Scandinavian Lars Hanson on Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie NBC television series. Tompkins herself guest starred twice on Little House. The couple married sometime after Swenson and his first wife, the former Virginia Hanscom (1908 2003), divorced. They were living in southern California by 1957.

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