Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: LYDIA REED

If you are a fan of Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra or great musicals, then you have probably seen MGM's "High Society" (1956). No other movie then or now could boast a cast of Crosby, Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong.

However, a child star in the cast nearly stole the movie away from those titans of music. Lydia Reed played Grace Kelly's younger sister in the movie who had a devoted crush on Der Bingle. Mutual Bing collector and friend David Shelton gave me the idea for this article and made me wonder what happened to Lydia Reed? No much is known about Reed after the 1960s, and I searched for a couple months to find some more about Reed, but very little is available.

Reed was born on August 23, 1944, at Mitchel Field on Long Island, New York. She was best known for her role as Tallahassee "Hassie" McCoy from 1957 to 1963 in 145 episodes of the ABC situation comedy The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan in the title role of Grandpa Amos McCoy. Irving Pincus was the creator, and Hy Averback the first principal director.


The pilot episode of the series "Sweet Fifteen," which aired on April 9, 1957, centers on Grandpa's determination to keep Hassie's looming fifteenth birthday party a secret. After its five-year run on ABC, The Real McCoys switched to CBS for its final season in 1962-1963 without the services of Kathleen Nolan as Kate McCoy. Reed appeared less frequently in the final year, as did Michael Winkelman (1946–1999) as Little Luke McCoy, who played Reed's younger brother on the series.

Reed's first performances were in 1952 episodes of two NBC anthology series, Hallmark Hall of Fame (the second episode of the series entitled "Dr. Serocold") and Robert Montgomery Presents. In 1955, she played Mary Foy in the Bob Hope film, The Seven Little Foys. That same year, she played another "Mary" in the episode "Ride with the Executioner" of the anthology Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre. In 1956, she appeared in the role of Caroline Lord in High Society, with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Grace Kelly, and in the episode "Hit and Run" of the NBC series Big Town. Her last role other than that of Hassie McCoy was as Betsy Beecher in a horror film The Vampire.


Reed left acting after her role on The Real McCoys ended and did not appear in a 2000 cable television reunion special (The Nashville Network) with Nolan, Tony Martinez, who portrayed farmhand Pepino Garcia, and Richard Crenna, who played the role of Luke McCoy, Hassie's older brother, for the entire duration of the series. Reed has left entertainment completely to raise a family in the San Fernando Valley area of California...

23 comments:

  1. My Mother was Lydia's Godmother. Lydia's Mother, Shari, and my Mother went to Great Neck High School together and remained friends. I tried to find Lydia to let her know when Mother passed away but had no luck. Family rumor has it that she married and settled down "in the Valley".

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  2. Sure would love to know the whereabouts of Lydia Reed. I'm sure the only living star from High Society. What a great film and honor to have been a part of that movie. Lydia was delightful! Just watched it again and we are thrilled to be going to Newport, Rhode Island (next year) where this movie was filmed (or some of it). Also enjoyed Lydia in the Real McCoys. We live in California too. Would love to be in touch with Lydia and invite her to stay with us in Newport and share her story of these great stars. Happy Birthday Lydia on August 23 this year - a special year. Have a good one. Hope you are well and enjoying beautiful memories and a happy life in California. God Bless you -- An admirer born in 1949.

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    1. Loved watching her & all
      McCoy watched it this morning. :)

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    2. My best desires for her in California with his familly !!
      Now I live in Uruguay (Montevideo) but the first time I saw her in a picture was in the States and I'll never forget her perfomance in "High Society" mainly in the first minutes of her amazing appearence that really by moments outperfomed the ones of the others great actors. I wonder why, in the remainder of the film her roll decreased notably and she appeared lightly in few scenes. I always think that she would deserve something more bright for the profit of this nice film. Thanks, jorge

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  3. I would like to know Who Lydia Reed married...

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  4. She married Mario Rodolfo Travaglini in 67 to present.

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  5. What happen to lil Luke. How he died n who’s else is dead from the show

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    1. Michael Winkelman, who portrayed "Little Luke McCoy" in 'The Real McCoys' television series, died in 1999, was 53 years old at the time of his death. He had evidently retired from acting after his last role in 1965, then joined the United States Navy at 19 years of age, during the Vietnam War years.

      Winkelman's last acting role was in a 1965 episode of 'The Munsters' titled "Follow That Munster," from that sitcom's first of two seasons, and also interesting because Winkelman's last known employment (after his U.S. Navy service) was as a groundskeeper at Universal Studios in Hollywood, where 'The Munsters' was filmed 1964-66.

      In fact, 'The Munsters' was created by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, the same writing and production team which created 'Leave It to Beaver," in which Michael Winkelman's younger sister, Wendy Winkelman, had portrayed the first "Violet Rutherford," the daughter and sister, respectively, of regular series characters "Fred Rutherford (Richard Deacon) and "Clarence 'Lumpy' Rutherford" (Frank Bank). The second "Violet" was played by Veronica Cartwright. But Wendy Winkelman as "Violet" was the one who gave "Theodore 'Beaver' Cleaver" (Jerry Mathers) a black eye, which prompted father "Ward Cleaver" (Hugh Beaumont) to give his youngest son boxing lessons, with "Beaver" practicing with a plastic bounce-back punching bag serving as the model for "Violet," and to which "Beaver" uttered one of his frequent boyish malaprops, "Don't get 'gressive with me, 'Vi-o-let Ruther-ford!"

      Besides his most well-known and longest-lasting role in 'The Real McCoys," Michael Winkelman's other longer-lasting acting gigs were his 1963 portrayals of various high school students in episodes of the M-G-M-produced high school drama "Mr. Novak," which stared James Franciscus in the title role of idealistic new English teacher "John Nova" and Dean Jagger as the wryly wise principal "Albert Vane."

      Post-'McCoys', Michael Winkelman also found work in two other Danny Thomas-produced TV sitcoms (which, like 'The McCoys', was filmed at Desilu), 'The Danny Thomas Show' and 'The Joey Bishop Show', in the latter portraying a fellow fraternity pledge along with "Rusty Williams" (Rusty Hamer), who was semi-recurring in a crossover role from 'The Danny Thomas Show' with "Rusty" as the nephew of Bishop's "Joey Barnes" character, living in his apartment while he attended college.

      Another memorable TV role for Winkelman was in the January 27, 1957 episode of 'Lassie," wherein "Jimmy Travis" (Winkelman) must leave his own beloved canine behind and in the care of his new friend "Jeff Miller" (Tommy Rettig) after his father obtains new employment in a big city, the dog refusing food and keeping a vigil by the place he last saw his boy master, at the "Calverton" train depot.

      Sad that Michael Winkelman, a once memorable face in television, disappeared after he became an adult, didn't even live long enough to participate in the TV reunion of the series with which he was most associated. But for the "Baby Boomer" generation that lanky blond boy will always remain "Little Luke."

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  6. "Sweet Fifteen" was not the pilot. This episode aired near the end of the second season. I just watched it on dvd.

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  7. I am binge watching the entire series, and right now, the "Sweet 15" episode is playing as I write this. This was a great series.

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  8. Im always watching The Real McCoys...
    Truly enjoy the old fashion shows, they are more
    Down to earth, Hassie played a sweet young girl, her acting was Natural, sad to know she left acting, hopefully shes happy...

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    1. I met Lydia's brother in Sedona,AZ about 1982. Nice guy. He told me I should go to Hollywood. He was real proud of her.

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  9. Enjoying the entire shows from the beginning on Filmrise.

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  10. If all Americans watched the Real McCoy's, we'd all be better off as a nation!

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  11. They don't make shows like that anymore. Watched it as a little girl. My dad loved that show. Great Christian and family values.

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  12. I watched the McCoy's as a young girl. I have been binge watching on Roku all the episodes again. It would be better for the children today if there were funny clean television programs such as the McCoy's today instead of all the sex and violence.


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  13. Clean family fun you are so correct are children watch all the violence they need shows like the the real Mcoys

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  14. I wonder if something happened to her. How has she kept her whereabouts so successfully hidden!

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  15. Great show!!! I too, watched it as a very young child. I am so happy to get to see it on Roku, and renew memories of it. It's still entertaining and a breath of fresh air compaired to the shows they put out now. I believe it's the wonderful cast that makes it as fresh today as it was before. Also so many issues about women's rights were covered. Quite a surprise to see it was so progressive for it's time.♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

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  16. Recently caught the McCoys and saw all the seasons but season six was a let down. No goodby for Kate or Little Luke although there was a logical exit for Hassie. Seasons 1 through 5 were the BEST.

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