Born in Fremont, Nebraska in 1940, actress Julie Sommars grew up in the Midwest — both Iowa and South Dakota. As she matured, she showed early signs of talent as a public orator in high school and won awards for her abilities. This confidence steered her towards an acting career following graduation. At age 18, she won her first television role as Loretta Young’s teenaged daughter on a late episode (1960) of Young’s eponymous television series. From there, Sommars’ career took off with TV episodes of Gunsmoke (1955), Bonanza (1959) and Flipper (1964) coming her way.
She made an inauspicious film debut with Sex and the College Girl (1964), and, while she did manage to turn heads slightly co-starring in the sexy movie comedy The Pad and How to Use It (1966), she found TV a more satisfying medium. By the end of the decade, she broke through the ranks co-starring with Dan Dailey on The Governor & J.J. (1969). Although the run itself was brief (one season), it was enough to earn both actors Golden Globe Awards and the show “Best Comedy” for 1969. Sommars tied with Carol Burnett in the “Best Actress” category. In the early 1970s, the pert and pretty actress played a few vulnerable young beauties in routine TV movies such as Five Desperate Women (1971) and The Harness (1971).
Her career went into a bit of a lull for a time but was revived handsomely after winning the part of Asst. D.A. Julie March opposite Andy Griffith on Matlock (1986). Nominated for a Golden Globe for that role, she left the series after five seasons and retired from acting in 1994. Married to John Karns, the couple has three children.
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