“I’m still learning after all these years,” says Joan Benedict Steiger. Even after a prolific career spanning stage, screen, and television – and inspiring romances with three devoted men – the veteran actress still finds each role a new challenge to experience and new terrain to explore.
A dancer from childhood, Joan forged a career in show business as an actress in the early days of television, where she made notable appearances on shows like the original “Candid Camera” and “The Steve Allen Show.” Dozens of television and film appearances later, including memorable stints on “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives,” she’s still dedicated to all facets of her craft, having appeared in numerous stage productions, from the classics to modern comedies to her acclaimed solo shows (“Leona,” about Leona Helmsley, and her autobiographical “The Loves of My Life.”)
Off-screen, Joan’s life has been equally charmed. Her first husband was stage veteran John Myhers, with whom Joan spent thirty years before his passing. Then, Joan was reunited with Academy Award-winning actor Rod Steiger; the two had known each other when Joan was a star-struck ingénue and Steiger the industry’s hottest young performer. Now, decades later, their romance was rekindled, and the couple married, working together and supporting each other until the actor’s death in 2002. Then Joan fell in love with veteran television actor Jeremy Slate, and the two spent several years together before his death. “They all passed away from different forms of cancer, so it’s bittersweet,” says a pensive Joan today. “But they were three of the greatest guys in the world.”
Today, Joan immerses herself in every acting opportunity, including a recent appearance on Fox’s “Dollhouse” and a starring role the feature “Dead Border.” She was awarded the “Eternity Award” for “lifetime achievements that have made a lasting contribution to the world of theatre” recently at the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. She is also preparing to write her memoirs. Remembering the past with no regrets, she looks forward to a future of even more accomplishment.