Jeanne Bal, Star Trek's 'Man Trap:' Biography Of Episode 1's Guest Star
DeForest Kelley and Jeanne Bal in 'The Man Trap,' Season 1, Episode 1 of 'Star Trek.' Source: trekcore.com
Star Trek's memorable guest stars hold a special place in fans' hearts, and the first one (not including series pilots) was Jeanne Bal in "The Man Trap." As Nancy Crater, Bal was a temptress who could alter her looks to seduce any man, or pit men against each other. Of course she turned out to be a monstrous alien, but that's how it goes on the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, or so we were about to discover. The many guest stars who'd grace the show included Frank Gorshin, Ricardo Montalban, and a bevy of beauties. But who was Jeanne Bal?
She Got Her Start On Broadway
Jeanne Bal was born in 1928 in Santa Monica, California. Her father was a scene designer for Monogram Pictures, a low-budget studio. Bal described herself as tall, gangly and awkward as a teenager; in her final year in high school, she seemed to blossom and developed an interest in acting. She attended Los Angeles City College until she landed her first acting role and left California for New York. In 1946, she appeared on Broadway, in the short-lived production, Gypsy Lady. She had several roles in the show before it closed after 79 performances. In between acting roles, she supported herself with her modeling career. In 1950 she appeared in several Broadway shows, including Call Me Madam, Great to Be Alive!, and Alive and Kicking. In 1961, she was cast in The Gay Life as Helene. The musical, set in 1904 in Vienna, only ran for 113 shows. In The Gay Life, she introduced the song "Why Go Anywhere At All?" During the musical’s run, Bal was given a different song to sing in the same spot, "You're Not the Type.” During her stage career, she also toured with various productions, including Guys and Dolls.
Her Brief Television Career
Despite her early start on Broadway, Bal was mainly a television actress. She appeared in one episode of Sid Caesar Invites You in 1958 and she was a regular on The Sid Caesar Show. The year after her appearance on Sid Caesar Invites You, she played the role of Pat Baker in the NBC sitcom, Love and Marriage which only lasted one season. Her next role, in 1961, was on Bachelor Father. While she was cast as a regular, she decided to leave the show. She also had several guest appearances on Perry Mason, and also appeared as a guest on McHale’s Navy, Bonanza, Riverboat, Wagon Train, and I Spy. From 1963-64, she played the role of Assistant Vice Principal Jean Pagano on Mr. Novak. There were plans to increase her appearances and to promote her to second billing on the show for the following season, but instead of increasing her screen time, they cut the episodes she was to appear in. As a result, she left the show.
She Was An Alien
In 1966, She appeared on the original Star Trek as Nancy Crater in the first episode “The Man Trap”. Her character, a shape-shifting alien who craves salt, had the distinction of being Bones’ first love interest. This may have been her most memorable acting role, as she changed from being a vulnerable, flirtatious woman named Nancy into the strong salt vampire who threw Spock across the room and only wanted to consume bodies to get to their salt content.
The End Of Her Brief Career
In 1970, she appeared in a TV movie, Company of Killers, as Patricia Cahill. She ended her acting career in the early 1970s.
Her Personal Life
Bal was married twice. In 1953, she had her first marriage, to Ross Bowman, a stage manager for South Pacific during the time she was touring with the show, but they divorced in 1956. Her second marriage, to Richard Lee, a lawyer, was in 1963, and the marriage lasted until his death in 1992. Jeanne Bal died in 1996, days before her 68th birthday, after a battle with metastasized breast cancer.
Tags: Jeanne Bal | Star Trek
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