Joan van Ark was born on June 16, 1943, in New York City, New York. Her parents were not connected to the film industry.
When Joan was a teenager acting in Denver, she met actress Julie Harris, and their lives would never be the same.
Julie pushed her to go to the highly regarded Yale Drama School and gain admission using a scholarship she had also set up.
This made Joan Van Ark the second-ever woman to enroll at the Drama School
She [Harris] wrote to the dean and asked him to meet me. “Long story short, my parents drove me to New Haven, Connecticut, to meet the dean, who gave me a scholarship,” Joan recalled.” It was meant to be.” Joan went on to perform in the theatre for a few years, but her real passion was in Television.
Temperature’s Rising, Spider-Woman, and Days of Our Lives
Joan achieved enormous renown as a result of her roles in Temperature’s Rising, Spider-Woman, Days of Our Lives, and even one Bonanza episode. But her role as Valene Ewing on Dallas in 1978 was where she first achieved great popularity. She ended up playing the most important role she has ever had.
Because of how popular the show was, Joan appeared on its spin-off, Knots Landing. a program that was actually written prior to Dallas. Dallas was initially chosen by the producers because it was the best option for portraying affluent households at the time. Joan was then forced to play the same part in Dallas instead of joining the Knots Landing cast.
13 Seasons of Knots Landing ensued for Joan Van Ark
The person who actually convinced Joan to accept the part while already working on two other projects was her husband, renowned newscaster John Marshall. There was a moment when Val Ewing’s mother was scheduled to make her television debut. Surprise, surprise—Julie Harris was chosen for the position. The person who mattered the most to her in all the world was this.
“When the producers told me they had finally last someone to play my mother, I held my breath,” she recalled in a 1984 interview with Florida Today. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, are they going to say Phyllis Diller or Zsa Zsa Gabor, or who?’ Then they said it was Julie Harris, and I went right through the roof. I couldn’t believe they had picked her to be my mother. They didn’t even know we were friends.”
327 Episodes later, Joan Van Ark was ready for new ventures
13 Seasons and 327 episodes later, Joan left a season before the show saw its final season air. She knew many blamed her leaving on the cancellation of the show, but she was ready for new adventures. “I have loved more than life the 13 years I’ve had on that show,” she said. “[Knots Landing creator] David Jacobs is a great influence on my life, has taught me so much about so many things.”
“Ted [Shackelford] is the other half of every breath I take on the show, and personally, he’s a large part of my heart. The people are my family–we have shared marriages, deaths, and divorces. It’s far more difficult to leave than I thought.” Joan thereafter appeared on The Young and The Restless as Gloria Fisher.
In high school, John Marshall first met Joan, and the two quickly got married. They have a lovely daughter named Vanessa Marshall who works in the entertainment industry at the moment. After 56 years of marriage, the pair is still very much in love and leads extremely private lives away from the spotlight.
78 years old with a net worth of $10 million
At 78 years old, Joan has amassed a $10 million net worth and is still as gorgeous as ever when seen out and about in Los Angeles. She was last seen three years ago and was just seen paying for parking at a meter while wearing workout clothes and a ponytail.
She co-starred in the 2017 television film Psycho Wedding Crasher, which was her most recent and final appearance on screen.
Joan Van Ark, who has worked in the film industry for the past 50 years, has joined The Actor’s Studio as a life member. What an icon!