TV actress Melody Patterson dies at 66

By: | Published: August 23, 2015 1:15 PM

Actress Melody Patterson, known for her role as the sharpshooting Wrangler Jane on 1965 comedy series "F Troop", has passed away. She was 66.

Actress Melody Patterson, known for her role as the sharpshooting Wrangler Jane on 1965 comedy series “F Troop”, has passed away. She was 66.

Larry Storch, Melody Patterson’s co-star from “F Troop”, confirmed her demise, in a Facebook post.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we can let you know our beloved Wrangler Jane, Melody Patterson passed away. Our hearts are sad today. RIP Sweet Melody. We love you,” Storch, 92, who played Corporal Randolph Agarn on the show, wrote.

No details of her death were immediately available. Another friend said on Facebook that Patterson had been in poor health after breaking her back a few years ago, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Patterson started on the 1960s ABC series at just 15 and later married ‘Hawaii Five-O’ star James MacArthur.

Patterson was married to “Hawaii Five-O” star James MacArthur, the adopted son of famed actress Helen Hayes, from 1970-75.

Patterson portrayed a Hollywood starlet opposite him in the 1968 film “The Angry Breed”, and she guest-starred in three episodes of his CBS show.

“F Troop”, set in an Army fort on the western frontier in the years after the Civil War, ran on ABC for just two seasons, from September 1965 to April 1967, but was a big hit in syndication for decades after that.

The actress, a native of Inglewood, California, auditioned for the part of Jane when she was just 15 (she had told the producers that she was 18).

Her tomboy character, which ran the trading post in town, was smitten with the bumbling Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry), but he was too shy to acknowledge her affections.

Just before “F Troop”, Patterson had an uncredited role as a dancer in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie (1965).

She enrolled in the Hollywood Professional School in the ninth grade, left for Downey High School and then filmed the pilot for “F Troop” during Christmas vacation.

Later, she did a show on Armed Forces Radio for troops in Vietnam and starred in “The Cycle Savages” (1969), with Bruce Dern as the leader of a biker gang.

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