Actor Abby Dalton dies at 88
Best known for her role as Julia Cumson in “Falcon Crest,” Dalton died last week at the age of 88.
Actor Abby Dalton, best known for her role as Julia Cumson in “Falcon Crest,” died last week at the age of 88.
The Emmy-nominated star got her start acting in “Rock All Night,” a 1957 film about a group of hostages taken captive by two criminals at a club. She starred as Julie, a singer trapped at the club who was one of the main characters.
Dalton went on to work with Roger Corman, who directed and produced “Rock All Night,” on a handful of other projects including “Teenage Doll” and “Stakeout on Dope Street.” Her launch into the public eye came about quickly, and by 1959 she was cast in Jackie Cooper’s “Hennesey” television series. The role earned her an Emmy nomination by 1961 for outstanding performance in a supporting role by an actor or actress in a series.
She also held starring roles in “The Joey Bishop Show” and “The Jonathan Winters Show,” both of which saw Dalton taking on the persona of the titular actors’ wife.
Abby Dalton in 1981.Lorimar Film Entertainment via Everett Collection
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the actor graced both television and film screens. She played Anne Fields in 1976’s “A Whale of a Tale” and held a role in the 1989 film “Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force.”
But the majority of her work was dedicated to TV. She took on smaller parts in a host of series, but also played recurring roles on “Adams of Eagle Lake” and “Hotel.”
In 1981, Dalton found her best-known role through “Falcon Crest,” a drama about the family politics behind a successful vineyard. She stayed with the series until 1986. The show saw high ratings throughout this time, often attracting celebrity guest stars.
Her most recent project came not in film or TV, but as a voice in the upcoming book “Deconstructing the Rat Pack: Joey, The Mob and the Summit” by Richard Lertzman.
Dalton is survived by her husband Jack D. Smith and her children Matthew, Kathleen and John, as well as her grandchildren and great grandson.