Karen Carlson (born January 15, 1945) is an American actress.
Life and career
Carlson was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Carlson, and educated at C.E. Byrd High School and at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and represented the university and state of Arkansas in the 1964 Miss America Pageant, finishing first runner up to Vonda Kay Van Dyke. Carlson started her career in Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller variety shows, Laugh In, and The Hollywood Palace. She also appeared in television series and films, including The Candidate (1972) with Robert Redford and The Octagon (1980) with Chuck Norris. On television, Carlson played Nancy Scotfield in ten episodes of the soap opera Dallas (1986) and Sarah Hallisey in twelve episodes of In the Heat of the Night.
She was also a series regular in American Dream with Stephen Macht, The Yellow Rose with her first husband, David Soul, and Cybill Shepherd, and Two Marriages with Michael Murphy. Carlson was cast as Sarah Ewing in the 1970 episode "The Mezcla Man", one of the last segments of the syndicated Western series Death Valley Days, hosted by Dale Robertson. Jesse Pearson played Jess Ivy, a young man who wants to propose marriage to Sarah, but hesitates because of his lack of financial footing. He decides to look for hidden gold. In another 1970 Death Valley Days episode, "Pioneer Pluck", Carlson was cast as Anabelle Colvin, who is awaiting a proposal of marriage from her beau, Frank Harris (Roger Ewing).
But ranch hand Winn Kinkead (Robert Yuro) mistakes Anabelle's intentions when she flirts with him and vows revenge when she marries. Carlson was cast as Mary Ellen in ABC's Here Come the Brides. Carlson also guest-starred in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1967), Mission: Impossible (1971), Bonanza (1973), Starsky and Hutch (1976–77) with David Soul, Centennial (1978), The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1979), Hill Street Blues (1983), and Hotel (1987). Her last appearance was in the film Out of Ashes (2013). She has since turned her focus from acting to directing and screenwriting.
Carlson was married to actor David Soul and later married musician Devin Payne. She had one child with Soul and two children with Payne.
- 1969 : Shame, Shame, Everybody Knows Her Name : Susan Barton
- 1970 : The Student Nurses : Phred
- 1972 : The Candidate : Nancy McKay
- 1973 : The Streets of San Francisco : Cathy Cullen : Episode: "Legion of the Lost"
- 1975 : Cage Without a Key : Betty Holian : TV movie
- 1976-1977 : Starsky and Hutch : Christine D. Phelps / Gillian Ingrahm : 2 episodes
- 1977 : Black Oak Conspiracy : Lucy Metcalf
- 1977 : It Happened One Christmas : Violet : TV movie
- 1978 : Matilda : Kathleen Smith
- 1978 : Centennial : Lisette Mercy : 3 episodes
- 1979 : Buck Rogers in the 25th Century : Stella Warden : Episode: "Planet of the Slave Girls"
- 1980 : The Incredible Hulk : Lorraine Episode: "Broken Image"
- 1980 : The Octagon : Justine
- 1984 : Fleshburn : Shirley Pinter
- 1985 : Brotherly Love : Donna Ryder : TV movie
- 1986 : Dallas : Nancy Scotfield : 7 episodes
- 1988 : Teen Vamp : Mrs. Murphy
- 1990 : In the Heat of the Night : Atty. Sarah Hallisey : 12 episodes
- 1997 : The Man Next Door : Grace
- 2008 : A Father's Rights : Ms. Little