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|Also Known As:||Susan Jane Miller||Died:|
|Born:||August 14, 1946||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Los Angeles, California, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor reporter model|
This lovable, large-eyed brunette was a surefire audience pleaser playing somewhat kooky, mildly klutzy and generally free-spirited types on TV, and in the occasional film, since the mid-1960s. The typical Saint James character was a beautiful innocent who would boldly stumble in where more sober types feared to tread. She remains best known for two long stints as a series co-star on the mystery-cum-romantic comedy "McMillan and Wife" (NBC, 1971-76) and the quietly feminist sitcom "Kate & Allie" (CBS, 1984-89). The former cast her as the adventurous wife of the slightly stuffy but decidedly studly San Francisco Police Commissioner. Her Sally McMillan had a penchant for trouble which required the heroic intervention of her atypical bureaucrat hubby Stewart a.k.a. "Mac" (Rock Hudson).
Subsequently paired with Jane Curtain's uptight and traditional Allie Lowell, Saint James was the relatively glamorous, modern and somewhat frivolous Kate McArdle. They meshed well as two divorced high school chums who share a Greenwich Village apartment while raising their respective kids as single moms.
Legend has it that Saint James kick started her career with a remarkable display of spunk. Desiring to become a model but unable to find an agency to represent her, she reportedly arrived in the offices of a leading agency making the breathless announcement that she was off to SEVENTEEN magazine for a modeling job. "Fretting" that some 50 other magazines were also offering modeling jobs, Saint James said that she needed someone to sign her up immediately to "handle all the deals for her." Her gambit worked; a contract was written up and she became a professional model.
Saint James' ascendant career led her to Paris, France, where she became associated with singer-composer-actor Charles Aznavour. She became his assistant and he urged her to take up acting. With a six-week acting course under her belt, the neophyte performer returned to the US and threw herself into the tumult of the 60s (e.g. attended Black Panther meetings). Saint James also signed a long-term contract with Universal Pictures.
Saint James landed her first TV job in the well-received telepic "Fame Is the Name of the Game" (NBC, 1966). This remake of the 1949 Alan Ladd vehicle "Chicago Deadline" cast her as the bright, ambitious and intermittently kooky "girl Friday" to several dynamic magazine editors. Saint James won the 1968/69 Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series for reprising the role in the subsequent series "The Name of the Game" (1968-71). She also played a recurring role as a kooky thief who complicates the assignments of the protagonist (Robert Wagner) of "It Takes a Thief" (ABC, 1968-70).
Around this time, Saint James also began turning up in supporting roles in some fairly forgettable films. She graduated to leading lady status on the big screen after departing "McMillan and Wife", playing a country & western backup singer who promotes the career of an ex-con (Peter Fonda) in "Outlaw Blues" (1977). Saint James turned to comedy in her next feature outings, "Love at First Bite" (1979), with George Hamilton, and "How to Beat the High Cost of Living" (1980)--which paired her with Curtain pre-"Kate & Allie"--before returning in the earnest drama "Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder" (1982). This last effort had her playing against type as a doctor opposite G.I. Dennis Christopher in a story about a Vietnamese orphanage.
Saint James has kept a low profile since the end of "Kate & Allie", devoting her time to child-rearing and the Special Olympics. She has made a few appearances in specials and guest shots in the 90s. Saint James has also done some work as a reporter on her own radio station in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
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