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Susan Oliver

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Susan Oliver
Vina.jpg

Susan Oliver

Birth name: Charlotte Gercke
Gender: Female
Date of birth: 13 February 1932
Place of birth: New York, New York
Date of death: 10 May 1990 (age 58)
Place of death: Woodland Hills, California
Character(s): Vina

Susan Oliver was the stage name of Charlotte Gercke (13 February 193210 May 1990; age 58), a New York native, who guest-starred in the original series' first pilot episode, "The Cage" as Vina. She was the daughter of Hollywood astrologer Ruth Hale Oliver. When her parents divorced around 1935, Oliver was raised by her mother, although she lived with her father in Japan for a short time.

Oliver studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City, and in 1957 moved to Los Angeles to star in her first screen role, a film entitled The Green Eyed Blonde. A later movie role was Ginger in the Morning (1974), with Monte Markham as her ex-husband.

Most of Oliver's career consisted of numerous TV guest star roles (well over 100 between 1956 and 1988). These included the "Prisoner of Love" episode of The Andy Griffith Show, the Michael Shayne episode "The Heiress", in which Celia Lovsky also guest starred, and "The White Birch" episode of The Name of the Game, in which Louise Sorel also guest starred. Oliver and Vic Perrin played Martians in the "People Are Alike All Over" episode of The Twilight Zone, which also featured Paul Comi and Byron Morrow. She also guest starred in a 1974 episode of Petrocelli, "Edge of Evil" alongside Susan Howard, William Shatner and Glenn Corbett, and in "The Night Dr. Loveless Died", a 1967 episode of The Wild Wild West with Michael Dunn, Anthony Caruso and Robert Ellenstein. She also appeared in "Double Jeopardy", the 1970 pilot of the series Dan August, directed by Ralph Senensky and also featuring Ned Romero, Jerry Ayres and Fritz Weaver.

Oliver was also a passionate pilot, winner of the 1970 Powder Puff Derby air race and the fourth woman to fly a single-engined aircraft solo across the Atlantic. She attempted to become the first woman to fly a single-engine plane from the United States to Moscow; she made it as far as Denmark but was denied entry into Soviet airspace. Her aviation exploits are the focus of her 1983 autobiography, Odyssey: A Daring Transatlantic Journey (ISBN 0025929208).

Oliver received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in the three-hour 1976 NBC TV movie, Amelia Earhart. Her co-stars in this movie includes Stephen Macht, Jane Wyatt and Garry Walberg.

Oliver died in Woodland Hills, California, of lung cancer in 1990.

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