MOVIES

The Only Major Actors Still Alive From Cool Hand Luke

One of the most memorable scenes from “Cool Hand Luke” comes when the prisoners are out on the chain gang and a woman at a house nearby begins washing her car. Simply referred to as “The Girl,” Joy Harmon starts getting the chain gang (and likely many people watching) all riled up as she washes a car with water and soap getting everywhere. One amusing untold truth of “Cool Hand Luke” is that Harmon had no idea the scene would be interpreted that way. She was quoted in the book “Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema” by Tom Lisanti as saying, “I was acting and not trying to be sexy. Maybe that’s why the scene played so well. After seeing it at the premiere, I was a bit embarrassed.”

Harmon has credits going back to the 1950s, with notable roles on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Batman,” and “Bewitched.” She was married to Jeff Gourson from 1968 to 2001, and the couple has three children together. Harmon’s final on-screen performance came in 1973, and she transitioned to another great passion — baking. Prior to actually opening a bakery, Harmon would bring baked good to her co-stars on film sets, and she opened her own bakery in earnest in Burbank, California, called Aunt Joy’s Cakes. A film crew caught up with Harmon and documented her long-running passion in the 2013 short documentary “From Cheesecake to Cheesecake: The Joy Harmon Story.”

In 2020, Harmon even released a children’s book she wrote, titled “Fluffy, a Puppy Again.” Harmon’s career is a testament to how no one has to stick with just one thing, and there can be second and third acts in life. 

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