Monday, March 22, 2021

Seven Things to Know About Julie Newmar

1. Born as Julia Chalene Newmeyer in 1933, she was billed as Julie Newmeyer in her first major screen role in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). She played Dorcas and was paired with Jeff Richards as one of the seven Pontipee brothers. Richards, a former professional baseball player, was 6' 2", which made him just three inches taller than the 5' 11" Julie Newmar.

2. Julie Newmar won a Tony award as Featured Actress in the 1958 Broadway comedy The Marriage-Go-Round, which starred Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer. She played a Swedish bombshell who wanted the married Boyer, a college professor, to father her baby so the child would have brains and beauty. Newmar repeated the role in the 1961 film version with Susan Hayward and James Mason.

Julie Newmar with Jack Mullaney in My Living Doll.
3. Newmar's first TV series was the 1964-65 sitcom My Living Doll. She plays an android called Rhoda  that becomes the responsibility of an Air Force psychiatrist played by Robert Cummings. Most of the humor is derived from Cummings' character trying to keep Rhoda's android identity a secret. In an interview with Starlog Magazine (issue 148), Newmar stated that CBS considered Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. before casting Cummings. "(The show) needed a different kind of actor...It was not a flip part--it needed a straight actor who could play opposite this bizarre creature so the comedy would come off."

Catwoman with Adam West as Batman.
4. The Batman TV series was already a hit in 1966 when Julie Newmar was offered the role of Catwoman. She had never heard of the show, but her brother had--and told her she had to take the part. Newmar portrayed Catwoman in thirteen episodes during the first two seasons of Batman. Due to a scheduling conflict, she was replaced by Lee Meriwether in the 1966 Batman theatrical film. Also, Eartha Kitt replaced her as Catwoman during Batman's third and final season. Long after the show ended, Newmar acquired her form-fitting Catwoman costume and donated it to the Smithsonian Institution where it's displayed on the third floor of the Museum of American History in Washington, as one of the "National Treasures of Popular Culture."

As Vicki Russell on Route 66.
5. Julie Newmar appeared as Vicki Russell, a free-spirited, motorcycle-riding heiress in two episodes of Route 66. Her first appearance was in the second season episode "How Much a Pound is Albatross?". She returned as Vicki in the following season's "Give an Old Cat a Tender Mouse" (George Maharis had left the series by then). Thus, Julie Newmar is the only guest star to play the same character in two nonconcurrent episodes of Route 66

6. She holds a patent for panty hose! According the patent's abstract: "An elastic shaping band is attached to the rear panty portion and is connected from the vicinity of the crotch to the vicinity of the waist band and fits between the wearer's buttocks to delineate the wearer's derriere in cheeky relief."

7. Julie Newmar was married to J. Holt Smith, an attorney, from 1977 to 1984. They had one child, John Jewl Smith, who has Down's syndrome and lives with his mother. You can learn more about Julie Newmar at her website


  1. Meth addict Bob Cummings tried to take over My Living Doll.Fired with five eps remaining.

    Questionable whether she had a scheduling conflict on the Bat Movie. McKenna's Gold wasn't filmed on the same schedule as a six day quickie. Burgess Meredith's in McKenna's too. Or why she skipped the show's last season. Money, maybe.....

    1. Julie Newmar mentioned the "scheduling conflict" with the Batman movie in her Starlog interview.

  2. Lately, I have caught young Julie the dancer early in her movie career in Just for You, Call Me Madame, and The I Don't Care Girl where she and Gwen Verdon are backing up star Mitzi Gaynor.

  3. Nice post, Rick. Of course, maybe it isn't a "thing to know" but her name was part of a fairly good film: "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar". Also, she was in an episode of Columbo - season two or three I think.

  4. Oh Rick! How could you leave out Julie Newmar's iconic role of Stupefyin' Jones in Li'l Abner.

  5. I had a post about JULIE NEWMAR on COLUMBO but it's gone now.

  6. A patent for pantyhose! Who knew!

    I also didn't realize how varied her career was. Thanks for sharing this info.