Family & Companions
Slender, gentle-featured lead and supporting actress of the 1960s and 70s, most typically in nonglamorous roles. After experience as a model and acting training under Lee Strasberg and others, Hackett gained notice off-Broadway with her award-winning work in "Call Me by My Rightful Name" (1961). She became prominent in TV work soon thereafter, copping an Emmy nomination for an episode of "Ben Casey" and playing Robert Reed's girlfriend on the first season of the popular father-and-son lawyer drama, "The Defenders." Hackett's quiet intensity suited her well for a TV adaptation of "Rebecca" (1962) in which she played the mousy second Mrs. DeWinter. By 1964 she was playing leads in two feature-length installments of "The Bob Hope Chrysler Theatre," "Echo of Evil" and "The Highest Fall of All."
Hackett moved to feature work soon thereafter with an excellent debut in Sidney Lumet's ensemble study of female college classmates, "The Group" (1966), in which her wide emotional range as an actress was given full scope. Her subsequent screen work was intermittent but occasionally interesting (e.g. "Will Penny" 1968) but, beginning with the intriguing "The Last of Sheila" (1973), Hackett began alternating supporting roles with leads. TV-movies, often melodramas or thrillers, kept her busy, and included "Lights Out" (1972), "The Possessed" (1977) and "Paper Dolls" (1982). "Pleasure Cove" (1979) and a failed sitcom, "Another Day" (1978), did not properly exploit her potential for comedy, but, in one of her last feature roles, she brought a grim, rueful humor to her Oscar-nominated role as Marsha Mason's vain, edgy girlfriend in "Only When I Laugh" (1981). Divorced from actor Richard Mulligan, Hackett succumbed to cancer in 1983.
Cast (Feature Film)
Began working as a clothes model and cover girl
Made New York stage debut in "A Clearing in the Woods"
TV debut, in an episode of "Ellery Queen"
Played Joan Miller on the CBS crime drama, "The Defenders"
Portrayed the leading role of the second Mrs. DeWinter in the NBC drama special adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca"
Made feature film debut in a leading role in "The Group"
Appeared on Broadway in the musical "Park"
Played the leading role of Ginny Gardner on the short-lived CBS comedy series, "Another Day"
Last feature film, "The Escape Artist"
Last TV work included the NBC comedy pilot, "A Girl's Life"