Thursday, October 11, 2012

10/11 Karen Valentine, Room 222

Karen Valentine (born May 25, 1947, Sebastopol, California) is an American actress best known for her role as the idealistic schoolteacher "Alice Johnson" in the television series Room 222.

Valentine grew up in Northern California and won a spot representing California at the Miss Teenage America pageant where she was awarded the Talent Award. Valentine was Miss Sonoma County and Top 10 at Miss California, state finals to Miss America. When Ed Sullivan saw her act he was quoted as saying, "I want that girl on my show."In 1969, Valentine won her breakthrough role as a new teacher on the ABC television series Room 222, with Lloyd Haynes and Michael Constantine. She was discovered by Gene Reynolds, the director of Room 222, who saw her lip syncing in rehearsal and saw that she was funny. She was nominated twice for an Emmy and once for a Golden Globe, winning an Emmy in 1970 for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role.

The actress later starred in the critically acclaimed true story Muggable Mary, Street Cop, as Gidget in the film Gidget Grows Up, and on her own television series in 1975, Karen as well as many movies for television. Valentine was a regular on Hollywood Squares, often trading quips with Paul Lynde. She guest-starred on many series, including Starsky and Hutch, Baretta, McMillan & Wife, Cybill and Murder, She Wrote and multiple episodes of The Love Boat and Love, American Style.
She continues to work in television and on stage. She co-starred with John Larroquette in a 2004 Hallmark Channel TV movie, Wedding Daze. She also had a major role in an episode of another Hallmark series, Mystery Woman (aka Mystery Weekend). She has starred on stage in many productions, including Romantic Comedy on Broadway and National Tour, Breaking Legs Off-Broadway and National Tour, and the Los Angeles production of Steel Magnolias.

Karen Valentine has been married twice. Her first marriage was in 1969 to Carl MacLaughlin; they divorced in 1973. She is married to musician and Emmy Award winning songwriter Gary Verna, whom she wed in 1977.

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