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Noreen Corcoran

Corcoran with John Forsythe, 1961.
Personal information
Birth nameNoreen M. Corcoran
Birth dateOctober 20, 1943(age 73)
Place of birthQuincy, Massachusetts, USA
OccupationRetired actress and dancer in Chatsworth, California
SpouseNever married

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Noreen M. Corcoran (born October 20, 1943) is a former actress and dancer best known for her costarring role as the teenager Kelly Gregg, the niece of wealthy attorney Bentley Gregg, played by John Forsythe, in the television sitcom Bachelor Father, the only series to have been carried at one time by all three major networks during its run from 1957-1962.

Corcoran was the third of eight children born in Quincy, Massachusetts, to William "Bill" Corcoran, Sr. (1905 1958), and the former Kathleen McKenney (1917 1972). In 1947, the Corcorans moved to Santa Monica, California, where the father became the maintenance chief at MGM Studios. Her sister, Donna Corcoran, earned a speaking role in the 1951 film Angels in the Outfield.

Thereafter, the Corcoran children studied dramatics or dance as a means to launch potential acting careers. During the 1950s, younger brother Kevin Corcoran gained fame in the role of Moochie on Walt Disney's The Adventures of Spin and Marty with Tim Considine and David Stollery and in the serial Moochie of the Little League on ABC's Walt Disney Presents. Other Corcoran siblings who went into acting were Brian Corcoran, Hugh Corcoran, and Kelly Corcoran (1958 2002). Bill Corcoran, Jr. (died December 2007), became the dean of students at California State University, Fresno. Noreen herself attended California State, where she studied English and drama for two years from 1962-1964 but did not graduate.

Noreen's screen debut was a small role in the emotional film, Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie at 20th Century Fox. She was next cast in the MGM musical I Love Melvin in 1953. More roles followed, including the role of "Anna," the girl who was granted another birthday in "Tusitala," a 1955 Four Star Playhouse production starring David Niven as Robert Louis Stevenson; and Band of Angels in 1957 and television appearances in Circus Boy, starring Micky Dolenz, later of the singing group The Monkees. Noreen also had a part in the short-lived series The World of Mr. Sweeney with Charles Ruggles.

In 1957, future U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, who was working at the same studio on his General Electric Theater on CBS, viewed the screen tests for Bachelor Father and recommended Corcoran to John Forsythe for the part of Kelly. In the story line, Kelly Gregg was orphaned at thirteen when her parents were killed in an automobile accident. She was hence reared by her bachelor uncle.As a popular young actress, Corcoran made the cover of numerous magazines. Slowly before the viewers' eyes, she seemed to grow from a somewhat awkward teenager into a sophisticated young woman. The series ended as Kelly entered college. In the story line, Kelly was often acting as an unwelcome matchmaker for Uncle Bentley.In 1963, Corcoran played a supporting role in Paul Wendkos' Gidget Goes to Rome and starred in William Witney's The Girls on the Beach, an attempt by Paramount Pictures to compete in the "Beach Party" genre of films, which had been particularly successful for Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. The movie featured great performances from the Beach Boys and The Crickets (after the death of Buddy Holly).

Corcoran guest-starred in two similar series, NBC's Mr. Novak with James Franciscus and ABC's Channing with Jason Evers. She appeared in 1964 as Alice Lang in NBC's medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour in the episode "You're So Smart, Why Can't You Be Good". Then she appeared in two westerns, CBS's Gunsmoke with James Arness, and ABC's The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck. In the latter, she played "Sharon" in a 1965 episode entitled "The Brawlers".

Noreen Corcoran left acting for a private career behind the scenes in theatre arts and dance. In 1966, she began an 11-year association with the Lewitzky Dance Company, which was opened that year by the renowned choreographer Bella Lewitzky. Corcoran has been retired since 2004. She resides in Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley with her brother Hugh. She never married. She kept in contact with her friend John Forsythe until his death.

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