Anyone who has seen “Cool Hand Luke” — the classic 1967 film starring Westport’s own Paul Newman — remembers the scene in which he and his fellow chain gang members watch a very busty young woman seductively wash a car:
The cast included George Kennedy, Dennis Hopper and Wayne Rogers. No one can name the gorgeous woman, who did not even have a speaking role.
She was Joy Harmon.
And 10 years before Newman made “Cool Hand Luke,” she was a student at Staples High School.
Her 1956 yearbook writeup hinted at things to come:
Her IMDB bio says:
Born in Flushing, New York, the impressively endowed Patty Jo Harmon was discovered as a guest on “You Bet Your Life” (1950) by Groucho Marx and later was invited to work with him on “Tell It to Groucho” (1961). The TV exposure parlayed into roles in such obscure films as “Village of the Giants” (1965) and more famous fare like “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), but she was used mostly for eye candy.
With only a handful of television appearances to her name, she made a bigger career as a pin-up girl during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but she ultimately retired from acting to get married and start a family. Baking has always been a favorite pastime and she since started Aunt Joy’s Cakes. She first started sharing her treats while working at Disney Studios and runs a wholesale bakery based in Burbank, California.
Her Wikipedia page adds:
She guest-starred on several 1960s TV series, including “Gidget,” “Batman” and “The Monkees.” She appeared in a cameo role as blonde Ardice in the Jack Lemmon comedy “Under the Yum Yum Tree” in 1963. She had a role as Tony Dow’s girlfriend in the 1965–66 television soap opera “Never Too Young.”
Westporters recall 1950s Staples graduates like Mariette Hartley and Christopher Lloyd, who went on to movie and TV fame. We claim Michael Douglas too, even though he was shipped off to boarding school after Bedford Junior High.
We never remember Joy Harmon.
Though — as Paul Newman and the other men working on the chain gang quickly realized — it’s hard to forget her. (Hat tip: Alan Neigher)