Whatever Happened to Actress Carlene Watkins?


carlene watkins - best of the west

For a brief, shining period in the 1970s and 80s, the face of Carlene Watkins graced movie and television screens across America. Her charm, talent, and captivating presence solidified her as a rising star, leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. However, just as quickly as she rose, Carlene seemingly stepped away from the spotlight, leaving many wondering what became of the once-prominent actress.

Early Life and Career

Carlene Watkins was born on 4 June 1952 in Hartford, Connecticut and started her career in Hollywood with roles in the 70’s. She appeared in popular TV series such as “Columbo,” “The Bionic Woman,” “The Rockford Files,” and “Quincy, M.E.”

Rise to Fame: “Best of the West” and “Tough Enough”

One of Watkins’ most notable roles was in the early 1980s sitcom “Best of the West,” a television sitcom that aired in the early 1980s, known for its humorous take on the Western genre. In this show, Carlene Watkins played the role of Elvira Best, the Southern-belle wife of Sam, portrayed by Joel Higgins. The show ran for 1 season and 22 episodes.

carlene watkins - Tough Enough

Additionally, her role in the 1983 film “Tough Enough” marked another milestone in her career. The movie follows the story of an aspiring country/western singer who, struggling financially, enters an amateur boxing contest as a last resort to pay his bills. His unexpected success in the ring leads him to the national finals, creating a conflict between his passion for music and the allure of the boxing world’s glamour and money.

Later Career

After her notable performance in “Tough Enough,” Carlene Watkins continued to make significant contributions to television through various roles.

In the early 1980s, she starred in “It’s Not Easy” as Sharon Long Townsend, a character central to the show’s exploration of family dynamics.

Following this, Watkins played Susan Wilcox in “Mary” (1985–1986), a sitcom featuring Mary Tyler Moore, where she brought a unique charm to the ensemble cast.

Her role as Charlotte Cooper in “The Tortellis” (1987) showcased her ability to blend humor with a relatable character, contributing to the sitcom’s narrative centered around a quirky family.

Watkins’ most prominent role came in the TV series “Bob” (1992–1993), where she played Kaye McKay.

In the later years of her acting career, Carlene Watkins continued to make occasional guest appearances on popular TV shows. In 1997, she had a role as Susan Rajeski on an episode of the hit sitcom Frasier.

carlene watkins

Three years later, Watkins played the character Linda on several episodes of Home Improvement. She would take a 13 year hiatus from acting and would return in 2010 to round out her career when she portrayed Mona in the TV movie Women Without Men.

What is Carlene Watkin’s Doing Now?

Currently, Carlene Watkins remains retired from acting and leads a private life away from the spotlight. Since 1984, she has been married to Ed Weinberger, a prominent figure in television known for his work as one of the creators of “The Cosby Show” and other notable contributions to the industry.

In 2013, the couple made headlines when they listed their home in a gated Los Angeles community for $12.5 million. Their impressive property, a 11,600-square-foot Georgian-style mansion with a one-bedroom guesthouse, is situated on a 5-acre promontory, offering stunning views of the canyon, mountains, and San Fernando Valley.

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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