Lee Meriwether at 88-Years-Old: From Miss America to "Time Tunnel," "Batman," "Star Trek," "Barnaby Jones," and Beyond

Herbie J Pilato

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She is one of the most beloved pop culture icons of all time. She began her career in the public eye as Miss America, which led to roles in everything from the original 1966 Batman movie (as Catwoman) to a guest spot on the original Star Trek TV series (as a salt vampire), to regular roles on small-screen classic shows like The Time Tunnel, and Barnaby Jones. Her name is Lee Meriwether, and she just turned 88 years old (on May 27, 2023).

A Closer Look

Lee Meriwether was born in Los Angeles, California, to Claudius Gregg Meriwether and Ethel Eve Mulligan. But she was raised in San Francisco, where she attended George Washington High School with Johnny Mathis. She later enrolled at the City College of San Francisco, which was also attended by actor Bill Bixby.

In 1955, Meriwether was crowned Miss America at just 19 years old. She later married actor Frank Aletter, and they had two daughters, Kyle Aletter and Lesley Aletter, both of whom ventured into acting themselves. Her second husband was Marshall Borden.

In 1972, she began starring in one of her most popular TV roles. She played Betty Jones, secretary, and daughter-in-law of Buddy Ebsen's Barnaby Jones, in the Quinn Martin-produced TV detective series of the same name.

In 1987, Meriwether starred as Lily Munster opposite John Schuck (formerly of McMillan & Wife and Holmes & YoYo), as Herman Munster, in a classic TV reboot, titled, The Munsters Today.

In 2003, shortly after attending Ebsen's memorial, Meriwether stopped dying her hair brown, allowing her natural silver hair to be shown in public.

In 2006, she became a spokesperson for Alert USA, a personal medical alert system. In 2007, Meriwether appeared with James Noble (the Mayor on TV's Benson) in a benefit performance of the play, Love Letters, for the Playhouse on the Green (the former Polka Dot Playhouse) in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

More Recently

In the past few years, Lee Meriwether has made periodic personal appearances at various Hollywood live events, while she remains beloved by fans from around the world.

[Note: Unless otherwise indicated, certain facts and information in this article were resourced from various entertainment news and media outlets including Britannica.com, History.com, HollywoodReporter.com, IMDb.com, Variety.com, and Wikipedia.org.]

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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