Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty... I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
I just watched an excellent documentary on Susan Oliver called The Green Girl. Her iconic role was as the character Vina in the Star Trek pilot called "The Cage". Her photo in green makeup appears at the end of many episodes of the original Star Trek series (Figure 1). It appears that she had a sense of humor about all the makeup she had to wear in her role as Vina (Figure 2). I have revealed my love of all things Trek in previous posts (example), so my interest in this video should not surprise anyone.
Susan Oliver was a guest star on nearly every popular show during the '60s and '70s. As she grew older, she tried to move into directing, but encountered a glass ceiling. She died in 1990 from lung cancer at 58 years old – way too young.
The documentary chronicles her life through a series of interviews with co-workers, friends, and family. The interviews include actors like David Hedison (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) and Lee Meriwether (Time Tunnel), both of whom starred in shows that young boys liked back in the '60s.
Susan was quite an accomplished pilot and that part of her biography was especially interesting. She wrote a book about a long-distance, single-engine, solo flight she made called Odyssey: A Daring Transatlantic Journey. I tried to buy the book, but it is frighteningly expensive. It turns out there is a very aggressive market in Susan Oliver memorabilia that has driven the price way up.
I enjoyed the documentary very much. George Pappy, the driving force behind the DVD, can be proud of his work. I will leave you with a picture of what Susan looked like without any green makeup (Figure 3).
In 2014, Susan was remembered with an award from the Women's International Film & Television Showcase. You can see her niece accepting the award in the following Youtube video.
Here is a photo of Susan Oliver near the end of her career when she played on Murder She Wrote.
For a non-Star Trek role, here is Susan playing on The Andy Griffith Show.