Peggy Helmerich

Hollywood Starlet

When Peggy Josephine Varnadow was signed by Universal Pictures in 1949, the public relations staff whittled down her name to the barest essentials, and thus Peggy Dow was born. Born in Columbia, Mississippi, her family eventually settled in Louisiana where she attended Louisiana State and Northwestern University in Illinois.

Local modeling and radio opportunities captured the attention of a talent agent who cast Peggy in February 1949. This resulted in additional TV exposure that led Universal to offer her a seven-year contract. She made her 1949 debut in the thriller Undertow followed by 1950’s Woman in Hiding. She hit her peak when she co-starred as the lovely nurse in the classic James Stewart farce Harvey (1950). Peggy appeared opposite Arthur Kennedy in the touching war drama Bright Victory (1951).

Peggy retired after only three years in the business to marry Walt Helmerich and relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Despite a promising Hollywood forecast she never looked back and raised five sons in the process. Avid charity work has her interest in Tulsa with health and library issues at the top of her list.

Interview with Peggy Helmerich

Program Credits:
Peggy Helmerich — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
John Erling — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor

Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Douglas Miller — Art Director
Mark DeMoss — Webmaster
Laura Hyde — Upload Coordinator

Date Created: October 9, 2009

Date Published: June 18, 2011

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.

Tags: Marilyn Monroe, Northwestern University, Universal Films, Harvey, Jimmy Stewart, Rock Hudson, Sam Goldwin, Jane Russell, Charlton Hesston, Paul Lynn, Nat King Cole, Sunset Strip, Tony Curtis, Senator Boren, Academy Awards, Harvard Business School