Roberta Shore is a former American actress and singer, whose main claim to fame was her work in the popular American Western television series, “The Virginian,” which aired on NBC.
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Early life and family
Roberta Shore was born Roberta Jymme Schourop on 7 April 1943, in Monterey Park, California USA. Her parents raised her along with her older sister, Dorothy Madeline Schourop, and younger brother, Stanley Wilford Schorurp, in the nearby city of San Gabriel in Los Angeles County, with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint upbringing. She was gifted with a singing voice – something she inherited from her father who had been a member of a western-country band along with her uncles.
When she was eight years old, she sang to her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and her parents realized she had so much potential. They took her to several singing competitions in and out of the city. Little else is known about her family.
There is no information about her educational background.
Roberta was exposed to the entertainment business at the age of 10 – in one of the singing competitions, which were mostly in big supermarkets back then, she met the popular western swing singer, Tex Williams. He offered her a chance to be a part of his weekly television show filmed at Knotts Berry Farm in California, and she sang “Smoke That Cigarette,” an anti-smoking satirical song, and credited as her TV debut.
She was also a part of “The Pinky Lee Show,” a children variety show with bursleque comic antics and vaudevillians in the early 1950s. During those times, she was still using the name Jymme Schourup.
At age 12, she was employed by Walt Disney to be part of “Annette,” one of the dramatic segments in the children variety television show, “The Mickey Mouse Club.” The main cast was referred to as Mouseketeers, composed all sorts of talents. She was a regular part of it, but she was never a Mouseketeer, as she was way too tall for the required look, 5ft 3‑1/2ins at that time.
She gained a bit of popularity through the show by playing the role of Laura Rogan, the snooty rich rival of the star of the show, who was Annette Funicello’s character.
She received hate mails for years due to her realistic portrayal in those 15 episodes of the “Annette” miniseries, which was aired in 1958 – coincidentally, it was in this show that she changed her professional name, although Walt Disney told her to change as viewers would constantly confuse her as a male with the name Jymme, so she then used her real first name, Roberta, and shortened her last name from Schourop to Shore.
She next played the challenging role of a French-speaking girl in a Walt Disney feature film, “The Shaggy Dog,” in 1959. As she was approaching her teens, she was part of several movies, but was unfortunately uncredited in some of them.
The same year she made a cameo appearance in the movie “A Summer Place,” an adaptation of the novel with the same name by Sloan Wilson, with Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, then played the role of Ricky Summers in “Because They’re Young,” with Dick Clarke and Warren Berlinger in 1960.
A string of TV guest appearances and as a regular cast member followed. Some of the most notable were in “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” with Ricky Nelson, “Maverick” with James Garner, “Father Knows Best” with Robert Young and Elinor Donahue, and “The New Bob Cummings Show” with Bob Cummings, which lasted for one season with 22 episodes in 1961.
Her strict Mormon upbringing was tested in 1961 when she made the movie, “The Young Savages,” with Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters in which she played the role of a rebellious teenager – she was asked to smoke, but wouldn’t as it was in conflict with Mormon teachings. Another notable uncredited cameo was her character in the controversial movie, “Lolita,” directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1962. Her parents approved of it as long as she would stick to the role that she was given, and nothing more.
Highlight of her Career
Later in that year she was in the main cast of the third longest‑running Western TV series, “The Virginian,” loosely based on the novel “The Virginian: Horseman of the Plains,” written by Owen Wister in 1902.
The main lead was played by Jim Drury, who took on the role of a strong, tough foreman on the Shiloh Ranch owned by Judge Garth. Roberta was given the role of his daughter, Betsy Garth.
The series was so successful that it ran for nine seasons, however, Roberta left the show after the fourth season and only came back to film the wedding episode. She had a contract, and was threatened of being blacklisted from doing any project in Hollywood if she left the show, and was then suspended for three years – she retired from her acting career at 21 years old.
Roberta would be invited to annual western-themed festivals around the country celebrating, “The Virginian,” along with the original main cast.
Roberta is married to her third husband, Ron Frederickson, an actor-director and retired college drama professor – they are currently residing at Salt Lake, Utah. She has a total of six children, as she has two daughters with her first husband, and the other four are from Ron’s previous marriage; she has more than a hundred grandchildren. She now goes by the name Jymme Frederickson.
Her first husband was Kent K. Christensen from Ogden, Utah and they were married in 1964. He was the reason why she retired from show business, as Kent was a very controlling man and made her choose – him and the marriage, or her career.
She was quite naive back then and was in love, but didn’t regret her decision, however, she misses singing on stage. The relationship ended in divorce.
Roberta met her second husband, Terry C. Barber, who was quite the opposite of her first husband. He supported whatever she wanted to pursue in her life, but she chose to support him by accompanying him to various cities, as he was a manufacturing representative for a furniture firm. However, she lost him in 1987 due to a brain tumor. She continued Terry’s business and still traveled as she loved it, but after an accident during one of her trips, she decided to stop.
Interesting facts and rumors
- During her stint in the “Pinky Lee Show,” she was once fired as Pinky wanted someone more endowed for her role even if she was a 12-year old girl. The new girl was so bad at her role that Roberta was offered the role again. She said that Pinky was a dirty old man, and it was funny because his wife and children were in the set all the time.
- She was one of the original voices in the song “It’s a Small World,” and her yodeling is still being used in the popular Walt Disney Theme Park ride when it reaches the Switzerland part.
- Her favorite singers are Doris Day and Teresa Brewer.
- All her scenes involving galloping with a horse in “The Virginian” were done by her stunt double. She was a poor rider, and couldn’t control them.
- Roberta was very convincing as the French-speaking Franceska in the movie, “The Shaggy Dog,” when she was far from being fluent let alone speak the language.
Roberta is 5ft 5ins (1.67m) tall and weighs 120lbs (55kgs). She has light brown hair and dark brown eyes.
Sources estimate her net worth at $3 million as of mid-2020. She started working professionally at the age of 11 and retired as an actress at 21, but she continues to be invited to western cowboy festivals every year around the US.