A major screen sensation in the early 1960s, Jeannine Riley is mostly remembered for her role as Billie Jo Bradley in the series Petticoat Junction. She played the role from season one to two on the show which cast her during the mid-‘60s. She has since graced the set of several other productions including series like Route 66, The Man from U.N.C.L. and films like Fever Heat, and The Comic. However, by the dawn of the 1990s, the actress gradually slipped off the radar, appearing in fewer projects until she finally disappeared from the screens.
Since 1991, she has not been cast in any role both in films and on shows, leading to questions about her whereabouts. Find all the facts you need to know about Jeannine Riley below.
Jeannine Riley Biography
She was named Jeannine Brooke Riley after her birth on October 1st, 1940, in Madera, California, USA. Although she has spent the most part of her life in the limelight, almost nothing is known about the early life of the American actress.
Asides the date she was born, no other detail has been made available about her childhood, as well as her academic accomplishments. What we do know is that she became a professional in the field of acting in 1962, launching her career on the set of an unbilled movie part in the Rosalind Russell drama Five Finger Exercise. She proceeded to grab TV roles on the shows Father of the Bride, Route 66, and My Three Sons.
In 1963, she co-starred in the suspense drama Strike Me Deadly alongside Gary Clarke and Steve Ihnat and followed it up with another collaboration with Ihnat in The Fourposter – a stage play.
Her performances in western series including Wagon Train and The Virginian caught the attention of CBS producers and subsequently, she was cast alongside Bea Benaderet in Petticoat Junction (1963). While Bea played Kate Bradley who has three daughters, Jeannine was cast to play one of the daughters. Her role as the flirty daughter Billie Jo Bradley didn’t come easy. It first went to actress Sharon Tate after which she lost the slot due to her nude photo shoots. To avoid scandals and rumors that might lead to controversy, the role was recast and Jeannine got the spot. She filled the role perfectly and remained on the show for two seasons before she left. She was later replaced by
Jeannine Riley continued her TV appearances, playing guest roles on Ozzie and Harriet, The Man from UNCLE, Occasional Wife and also played a role on The Smothers Brothers Show. She went back to films in 1967, portraying Bambi Berman in The Big Mouth, Sheriff Who and Li’l Abner (unsold pilots). She also guest-starred in episodes of The Wild, Wild West, and Gomer Pyle, announcing her comeback to TV shows.
In 1968, Jeannine Riley was on set with Nick Adams in Fever Heat, one of the films the actor starred in before he died. The next year, she played a small part in another film titled The Comic and the same year saw her take a role in Hee Haw. Her next recorded film role was in 1973, in Electra Glide in Blue where she turned up the heat with some nude scenes. She also starred in the one-season long western series Dusty’s Trail in 1973 alongside Bob Denver, Forrest Tucker, and while she (Jeannine Riley) portrayed Lulu McQueen. Throughout the remainder of the 70s, Jeannine was hardly seen on the set of any production. She continued on this trail and gradually faded away. Her last roles were played in the films Lone Star Bar & Grill (1983) and Timebomb (1991).
Nothing at all is known about the family Jeannine Riley grew up with and if she shared her childhood with any brother or sister. However, she has made failed attempts to build her own family. Her first marriage took place in 1965 when she exchanged vows with Gary Groom. The marriage didn’t come to stay as it crashed and officially ended in divorce in 1972.
In 1974, barely two years after the first one crumbled, Jeannine made another attempt to settle down with Irwin Radnitz which obviously failed like the first one. Her two marriages did not produce children and she does not have any child from previous or later relationships. In fact, the former actress has not been seen on the dating scene since her last marriage turned into a flop.
What Happened To The Actress?
Since 1991, Jeannine Riley has not made the cast of any film or TV production. She apparently retired from her acting career and perhaps as a result of her lack of presence on any social media platform, the actress completely left the spotlight with no information on what she has been up to lately.
However, speculations have emerged about the possibility that the actress left acting to pursue other career interests or maybe pay more attention to her family. None of these claims has been confirmed as Jeannine is yet to come out of the vacation she has been enjoying since the 1990s.