Nita Talbot: Siren of Stalag 13

A mash note today to comic actress Nita Talbot (Anita Sokol, b. 1930).

Being of a certain age, I know Talbot chiefly from what might be called her “middle period”. I almost certainly first saw her act in her recurring role as the sexy Russian spy Marya on Hogan’s Heroes (1966-71) which I watched in re-runs as a kid in the ’70s. She also has a great turn in a 1973 Columbo episode (the one with Leonard Nimoy and Will Geer). She was also in episodes of The Monkees, Love American Style, Bewitched, The Partridge Family, The Rockford Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Soap, Supertrain, and Charlie’s Angels, all of which I saw without a doubt. She’s in fewer theatrical films, but during these years she also appeared in The Cool Ones (1967), Buck and the Preacher (1972), The Day of the Locust (1975), and Night Shift (1982), all of which I certainly saw.

The sacrifices we make for our country!

Talbot was so gorgeous and vivacious at 40 I little suspected she had been around for two decades prior to when I first encountered her. And frankly I think she was one of those women who look better in middle age. This was her at 20:

A Russian Jew from the Bronx, Talbot broke into the business as a model, originally using the name Ginger Grey. This led to walk-ons in films, usually as chorines and the like, in films like Milton Berle’s Always Leave Them Laughing. She played Mabel on the sitcom Joe and Mabel with Larry Blyden (1955-56), and can be seen in such movies as I Married a Woman (1958) with George Gobel and Diana Dors, Who’s Got the Action? (1962) with Dean Martin and Lana Turner, and Girl Happy (1965) with Elvis Presley.

In later years you could see her in horror films like Frightmare (1983), Puppetmaster II (1990), and Amityville 1992: It’s About TIme. She was a regular on Bill Daily’s short-lived sitcom Starting from Scratch (1988-89) and appeared in shows like Trapper John M.D., Scarecrow and Mrs King, and Remington Steele. She retired in the mid-90s and I bet she’s raising the blood pressure of a lot of nonagenarians even as we speak.