Meredith MacRae (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
Actor and singer Meredith MacRae would have turned 70 today. Born into a family of performers, MacRae showed an early talent for singing and acting, following her parents, Gordon and Sheila MacRae, into show business. Her talents were evident in this duet with her father when she was still a little girl.
MacRae’s big break as an actress came in 1963 when she joined the cast of the wildly popular My Three Sons as Sally Douglas. She left the show in 1965 and was quickly signed on to replace Gunilla Hutton as Billie Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction. MacRae was the third and final actress to play the role. Her interpretation of Billie Jo added strength and depth to the character, which resonated well with fans, as did her singing voice. Here she is with the Girls From Petticoat Junction performing "Up, Up and Away."
MacRae released two singles with the Girls from Petticoat Junction as well as two singles as a solo artist, though her career as a recording artist never took off the way her acting career did. She appeared on television in dozens of scripted and game shows through the 1980s and into the early 1990s.
MacRae died of brain cancer complications in July 2000 at just 56 after undergoing multiple surgeries and an experimental drug treatment. But as long as viewers keep visiting Petticoat Junction, her voice will never be silenced.
Written by Seth Joseph. Find him on Google+.