Melody Patterson Dead: Actress Of ‘F Troop’ Fame Dies At 66
Actress Melody Patterson, 66, has died in a nursing home in California, according to a statement issued by her friend and F Troop co-star, Larry Storch. According to sources, Melody Patterson died after battling multiple illnesses.
At the age of 66, actress Melody Patterson has died. The sad news of the passing of Mrs. Patterson, famous for playing Wrangler Jane in the 1960s series F Troop, was announced via Facebook by Larry Storch.
Storch was a longtime friend of Patterson, who also starred in the ABC series. The star died at a nursing home after multiple organ failures, according to several media outlets.
Storch, who played Corporal Randolph Agarn on the show, wrote:
It’s with a heavy heart that we can let you know our beloved Wrangler Jane, Melody Patterson passed away today. Our hearts are sad today. RIP Sweet Melody. We love you.
Melody Patterson leaves behind her third husband, Vern Miller, who has not yet commented on the passing. According to several reports, for many years, Patterson had been suffering from multiple illnesses, which might have been related to a back injury.
Melody Patterson began her career at the age of 15, but lied to the producers of F Troop by claiming she was 18. By the time they discovered the truth, it was already too late because they had already started filming season one and the pilot was picked up by ABC, and it was having great success on the air. It was eventually discovered that the teenager was studying at Hollywood Professional School and was in the ninth grade, and used her Christmas vacation to film and land the pilot of F Troop.
F Troop, created by Seaman Jacobs and Ed James, was a comedy based in the fictional fort called Fort Courage and focused on American soldiers and American Indians in the Wild West during the 1860s.
In the short-lived show, Melody Patterson gave life to the very memorable “Wrangler” Jane Angelica Thrift, a stunning yet tomboyish sharpshooter, who ran the post office in the small town and often killed more Indians than the soldiers. The character was in love with Captain Wilton Parmenter (played by Ken Berry) and:
…was determined to marry him and was often obliged to rescue him from his various predicaments. When she kissed the very bashful Parmenter he usually said “Please Jane, not in front of the men”. In “The Sergeant and the Kid” she replied back “But there’re no men here” to which he replied “Well then, not in front of me”
In the book, Dream Girls: A Galaxy of B-Movie Starlets of the Sixties, Patterson had the following to say about the role:
“She was extremely independent.She owned her own store, she ran the mail and she could outride and outshoot anybody else in town. She was a very self-reliant teenager, which I always saw her as.”
After the series had ended, Patterson starred in countless television shows like The Monkees, Adam-12 and Green Acres. In 1970, she married her first husband, James MacArthur, and they moved to Hawaii because he had landed a role in Hawaii Five-O, and she eventually appeared in a couple of episodes. Patterson, who was also a dancer, entertained the Vietnam troops. Here is what her fans had to say.
— David Robichaud (@RobiWBZ) August 22, 2015
RIP "F Troop" actress Melody Patterson has died http://t.co/9VSYVbouuD
— Harriet Baldwin (@HarrietBaldwin) August 22, 2015
Hearing via Larry Storch’s Facebook page that Melody Patterson, Wrangler Jane from “F-Troop,” has died. Another great '60s actress lost. RIP
— Paul Ring (@Ringo67) August 22, 2015