What is Shelley Fabares Doing now? Her Age, Spouse, Disease

Who is Shelley Fabares?

In the annals of Hollywood history, some stars shine brightly for a brief moment, and then there are those whose radiance endures for decades. Shelley Fabares, the gifted actress who graced both the small and big screens, belongs firmly to the latter category. With her charm, versatility, and remarkable talent, Shelley Fabares has left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.

She has over 90 acting credits to her name, but is probably still known best for her role as Mary Stone in the sitcom “The Donna Reed Show”, which earned her the Young Artist Award – Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement.

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Early Life, Family, and Education

Michelle Ann Marie ‘Shelley’ Fabares was born under the zodiac sign of Capricorn on 19 January 1944, so is today aged 79. A native of Santa Monica, California USA, she holds American nationality and comes from a family of French, German, Irish and English descent. Shelley was raised by her parents, James Alan Fabares and Elsa R. Eyler, alongside her sister Nanette.

Shelley embarked on her career at a young age, making her debut on the small screen in the early ‘50s. Her initial roles were minor, but they laid the foundation for what would become a successful and enduring career.

When it comes to her educational background, she attended North Hollywood High School, and matriculated in 1961. She didn’t continue her education, but pursued her acting career.

Career Beginnings

As mentioned, Shelley’s journey in show business began at an early age. She made her acting debut playing Kathy in an episode of the series “The Loretta Young Show” in 1954, then in the following year, she made her first movie appearance in “The Girl Rush”.

Shelley followed with several guest roles in series such as “Captain Midnight” (1955), “Annie Oakley” (1956), and “Fury” (1957) before she landed her most notable role.

Notable Roles and Debut Single

Shelley’s first significant role was as Mary Stone in “The Donna Reed Show”. The popular sitcom aired from 1958 to 1966, and depicted the idyllic life of the Stone family. Shelley was seen in 191 episodes from 1985 through 1964; her portrayal of the ideal teenage daughter endeared her to audiences across America, earned her numerous praise and accolades, and the iconic role cemented her place as a beloved TV star, as well as showcasing her acting prowess.

Shelley’s talent extended beyond the confines of the small screen; she also ventured into music with great success. Her single “Johnny Angel”, released in 1962, soared to the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her mellifluous voice and undeniable charisma made her a sensation in the music world.

After her role in “The Donna Reed Show”, Shelley was seen as Valerie in the 1965 romantic musical comedy “Girl Happy”, in which she starred opposite Elvis Presley. Later that year, Shelley was nominated for the Golden Laurel Award – New Faces, Female (8th place).

She followed with roles in the movies “Hold On!” (1966), “A Time to Sing” (1968), and “Brian’s Song” (1971) before she landed the role of Doctor Anne Jamison in “The Little People”, a comedy series that followed the lives of father and daughter pediatricians at their free clinic in Hawaii. The show aired from 1972 through 1974, and although had no nominations, the audience rated it highly at 8.1/10.

Another of Shelley’s notable roles was as Jenny Bedford in “The Practice” (1976-1977), followed by her role as Francine Webster in “One Day at a Time” (1978-1984). From 1989 to 1997, Shelley played Christine Armstrong in the series “Coach”, which earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, in 1993 and ’94, and which was a pivotal moment in her career. She brought a vibrant and relatable energy to the character, making Christina an endearing and memorable part of the show. Her chemistry with co-star Craig T. Nelson, who played the titular character, Hayden Fox, added depth and humor to the series. Shelley’s performance showcased her versatility as an actress, shifting from her earlier roles to a character both witty and charming. Her presence in “Coach” contributed significantly to the show’s success, and her character remains a beloved part of television history.

More recently, Shelley was heard as Martha Kent in “Superman: The Animated Series” (1996-2000), and reprised her voice role in the 2006 animated movie “Superman: Brainiac Attacks”.

Personal Life and Love

Shelley’s personal life has been as enchanting as her professional one. Her first husband was Lester Louis ‘Lou’ Adler, an American record and film producer. The two married in 1964, and he produced several of Shelley’s songs. However, the two separated in 1966, but their divorce wasn’t finalized until 1980.

In 1984, Shelley tied the knot with actor Mike Farrell, renowned for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt in the iconic TV series “MAS*H”. Their enduring union to this day, marked by mutual support and love, stands as a testament to the power of lasting relationships in the world of entertainment.

The Battle Against Illness

Despite her many accomplishments, Shelley has faced her share of challenges. In the early 2000s, she was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, a severe condition that affects the liver, and for which she received a liver transplant. This diagnosis was a turning point in her life, as rather than retreating from the public eye, she chose to become an advocate for autoimmune disease awareness. Shelley has been an inspiration to many, using her own experiences to shed light on the condition, and offering support to those who face similar health struggles.

How Rich is Shelley Fabares? Net Worth

As per many, Shelley Fabares is a shining example of the enduring charms of a talented actress. Her career, both on television and in music, has left an indelible mark on the industry, while her personal life and her fight against illness have made her a symbol of grace and strength. As Hollywood continues to evolve, according to critics and her fans, the legacy of Shelley Fabares remains a testament to the timeless allure of true talent and the enduring spirit of a remarkable woman.

Thanks to all this, Shelley’s made a good living for herself. According to sources, as of October 2023, her net worth has been estimated at $1.5 million, and her husband Mike’s at over $10 million.

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