Pat Woodell, Actress on 'Petticoat Junction,' Dies at 71

CBS/Photofest
From left: Jeannine Riley, Pat Woodell, Bea Benaderet and Linda Kaye Henning on “Petticoat Junction.”

She sang and played the brunette Bobbie Jo on the first three seasons of the 1960s CBS sitcom.

Pat Woodell, who played one of the three original Bradley sisters on the 1960s CBS sitcom Petticoat Junction, died Sept. 29 at her home in Fallbrook, Calif., after a two-decade battle with cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported. She was 71.

Woodell portrayed the clever brunette Bobbie Jo opposite Linda Kaye Henning (redhead tomboy Betty Jo) and Jeannine Riley (blonde, boy-crazy gal Billie Jo), all daughters of Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet), the owner of the Shady Rest Hotel near the town of Hooterville. 
 
Petticoat Junction, which was created by Henning's parents, Paul and Ruth Henning, debuted in September 1963. Woodell departed after season two — "I was going nowhere with it,” she told the Chicago Tribune in 1971 — and was replaced by Lori Saunders. The show lasted until April 1970.
 
 
 
A native of Winthrop, Mass., Woodell started out as a singer; she performed with her Petticoat Junction sisters on the series and on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 as a member of The Ladybugs, a takeoff on The Beatles.
 
She signed a contract with Warner Bros., made her onscreen debut in a 1962 episode of the TV Western Cheyenne and later appeared in the studios’ shows Hawaiian Eye, The Gallant Men and 77 Sunset Strip. In a 1966 episode of The Munsters, she played Eddie’s (Butch Patrick) concerned teacher.
 
In the early 1970s, Woodell toured with comedian Jack Benny, recorded an album and appeared in The Big Doll House (1971), a Roger Corman women’s prison film that starred Pam Grier. “They caged their bodies…but not their desires!” the movie poster exclaims.
 
She left acting in 1973.
 
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