Joan, born on June 16, 1943, in New York City, felt a calling to Hollywood despite her parents’ lack of connection to the TV industry. Her passion for performing led her to cross paths with Julie Harris during a Denver show, who became a pivotal figure in Joan’s career by encouraging her to pursue an education at Yale Drama School. With Harris’s recommendation, Joan secured a scholarship and became one of the first women to attend the prestigious institution.


Transitioning from theater to television, Joan graced various TV series like Temperature’s Rising and Days of Our Lives, and even appeared in an episode of Bonanza. Her breakthrough came in 1978 with the role of Valene Ewing on Dallas, which eventually spun off into Knots Landing—a series initially conceived before Dallas. Encouraged by her husband, Joan accepted the lead role in Knots Landing, a decision that defined her career for 13 seasons.

A memorable moment in Joan’s career was when Julie Harris was cast as her character’s mother in Knots Landing, a full-circle moment given their personal history.

Joan’s departure from the show after 327 episodes marked the end of an era, and she attributed the subsequent cancellation of Knots Landing to her exit, reflecting on the deep connections and life lessons gained from her time on the series.

Joan continued to explore new roles post-Knots Landing, including a significant part as Gloria Fisher on The Young and The Restless, showcasing her versatility and enduring presence in the television landscape.