The Green Girl
February 10, 2015 6:18 AM   Subscribe

She was a highly- prolific actress of the ’50’s/’60’s/’70’s/’80’s, a record-setting female aviator, an original member of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, and one of the only women directing major TV shows in the 1980’s. Tragically taken by cancer in 1990, she’s been inexplicably forgotten by the industry to which she gave so much of herself.
You probably know her as that green Orion slave girl from the Star Trek episode The Menagerie, but Susan Oliver was much more than that, as the documentary The Green Girl attempts to show.
posted by MartinWisse (11 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
She is awesome and a reason my kids' names reflect that. :)

Wikipedia entry, IMDB (Oh, Love Boat!) and Memory-Alpha (with recursive links back to Wiki and IMDB, I now see). Her book.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:33 AM on February 10, 2015

One of the more disheartening lessons that Star Trek taught me was that you could be a great actor and still be grossly underutilized; most of the original cast members had their own fan club through the seventies, but aside from Shatner and Nimoy they still struggled to find work. Susan Oliver actually did better than most of them, but it's only through the magic of IMDB that I know just how much she did.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:45 AM on February 10, 2015

In 1967, piloting her own Aero Commander 200, she became the fourth woman to fly a single-engine aircraft solo across the Atlantic Ocean and the second to do it from New York City. She was attempting to fly to Moscow, her odyssey ended in Denmark after the government of the Soviet Union denied her permission to enter its air space. Oliver wrote about her aviation exploits and philosophy of life in an autobiography published in 1983. (WP)

If it wasn't for some stuffy apparatchik she could have gone where no one had gone before!
posted by bukvich at 7:21 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I now have this on my Amazon to-be-viewed list. Looks fascinating!

It's amazing how many rebel actors got to do whatever they wanted, but rebel actresses had to fight for just a small percentage of what they should have been able to accomplish. So sad.
posted by xingcat at 7:25 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Her appearance in Star Trek (and in the end title sequence) is so memorable, that when I read the title of this post I immediately thought of her -- she is American pop-culture iconic. I had no idea that she was a prolific actress. Thanks for posting.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:34 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

...her odyssey ended in Denmark after the government of the Soviet Union denied her permission to enter its air space.

If she was really determined that wouldn't have stopped her.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:47 AM on February 10, 2015

Her autobiography, which is out of print, is selling from $175 to $4496 on Amazon. $227 to $291 on Abebooks. Those supply and demand computer algorithms are frustrating. Would love to read it, but have never found an affordable copy.
posted by jabah at 11:03 AM on February 10, 2015

jabah, your local library may be able to get it via ILL for you.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:25 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know if people have heard one of the legends about the Green Girl. They did screen tests of the makeup to see how the green would appear on film, but her skin still looked flesh colored.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:19 PM on February 10, 2015

By coincidence, I just saw her in an episode of Johnny Staccato (Murder in Hi-Fi, 1959) and had to look her up. Incidentally, she has eight TV appearances listed that year alone.
posted by QuietDesperation at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2015

She first appeared on my radar in The Disorderly Orderly (1964) with Jerry Lewis, in which she was excellent (as ever). She just went too soon.
posted by On the Corner at 12:20 AM on February 11, 2015

« Older Child Bride Mother   |   I Am Not A Lawyer... oh, hold on, I am. How about... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments