Joan Van Ark is an award-winning American actress known for her role as “Valene Ewing”, a fictional character in the CBS soap opera titled Knots Landing (1979) which happens to be a spin-off from another CBS soap opera titled Dallas. Joan Van Ark has been active in Hollywood since the late 60’s and has continued to remain relevant till date.
With a throng of filmography credits to her name, it is safe to say that Joan’s A-list status in Hollywood is well deserved. With over 400 soap opera episodes to her name, there is no doubt that Joan has had an enviable acting career thus far. Unfortunately, we can say she has had her own share of bad luck with beauty-enhancing plastic surgeries. Her effort with plastic surgeries have in no way enhanced her beauty but on the contrary, it marred her. Nonetheless, in my opinion, she remains one of the queens of soap operas in Hollywood today.
Joan Van Ark was born on the 16th of June 1943; in the City of New York. At the early age of 15, Joan was already the chief reporter at her high school. She excelled in this position so much so that she was presented with the opportunity to interview the then famous Hollywood actress, Julie Harris. After the interview session, Julie was utterly impressed by Joan’s charisma and eloquence. She saw the actress in Joan and recommended her to the Yale School of Drama graduate program.
Joan was further awarded a full scholarship to participate in the graduate program. This move made her one of the few students to gain admission into the Yale School of Drama; straight out of high school with no undergraduate degree. She was also the second youngest student to gain admission into the Yale School of Drama after Julie Harris. Joan, for unknown reasons, spent just one year at Yale School of Drama. However, as fate may have it, Joan would link up with Julie on the cast of the CBS TV series, Knots Landing (1979). And just as you have it, they ended up playing the roles of the mother (Julie) and daughter (Joan).
Joan Van Ark – Career
Joan Van Ark began her career in theater when she got her first gig in the five-act comic play titled The Miser written by renowned French playwright, Moliere and performed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She would go on to be featured alongside Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman at the same Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Joan spent a season at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and thereafter, she went on to be part of the cast of Mike Nichols’ Barefoot in the Park.
Van Ark has made some significant appearances on Broadway. Most notably, she was cast in the New York production of Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. Joan has also graced some of the prominent theaters in the beautiful city of Los Angeles, starring in big plays like Cyrano de Bergerac. Van Ark’s exceptional acting won her a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award; Chemin de Fer and Heartbreak House. Joan would go on to play the role of “Lady Macbeth” in one of Williams Shakespeare’s greatest plays, Macbeth. She also headlined the Williamstown Theater Festival productions of Night of the Iguana and The Legend of Oedipus. For her laudable performance in the theatre play titled The School for Wives, Joan earned a Tony nomination and won the Theater World Award for her breathtaking acting in The Rules of the Game.
- The New Temperatures Rising Show (1972)
- We’ve Got Each Other (1977)
- My First Love (1988)
- Shakedown on the Sunset Strip (1988)
- Always Remember I Love You (1990)
- Terror on Track 9 (1992)
- Tainted Blood (1993)
- Someone’s Watching (1993): here she doubled as an actor as well as a producer.
- Menu for Murder (1994)
- Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac (1997)
- Boys Will Be Boys (1999); in which she acted and directed.
- Held for Ransom (2000)
- UP, Michigan! (2001)
- My Name Is Earl (2009)
- Archer Ruth (2011)
- Watercolor Postcards (2012)
- Dallas (2013)
- Psycho Wedding Crasher (2017)
Joan Van Ark is also a voice-over actor, providing the voices for some notable cartoon and video game characters e.g. Spider-Woman (1979), CBS’s Saturday morning cartoon series Santo Bugito (1995) and Fallout 4 (2015). She directed a short documentary on homelessness and domestic violence for the Directors Guild of America in 1997. This documentary received a lot of accolades from fans and Hollywood stakeholders. It was even nominated for a Daytime Emmy.
Family, Husband, children
Van was named after the legendary Joan of Arc by her parents Dorothy Jean Van Ark and Carroll Van Ark who were both writers based in New York. However, Joan’s father who is of Dutch descent was also into advertising and doubled as a PR consultant. Jean and Carroll will eventually move to Boulder, Colorado where they raised Joan and her three siblings Carol, Mark, and Dexter.
Joan unlike her character Valene (which she played in Knots Landing) has only been married once. As a matter of fact, she married and has stayed married to her high school sweetheart, John Marshall, a former award-winning reporter who once worked for KNBC-TV (an NBC owned Los Angeles TV station). He currently heads eNewswires.com, an online news network. Joan and John have been married since the 1st of February 1966 and they are happy together with no rumors of infidelity or divorce.
Van and John have just one kid, a daughter named Vanessa Marshall born on the 19th of October 1969 and like her mother is a successful actress, director, and a model. Vanessa is more popular for her voice-over roles in numerous cartoons, films, and video games. Some of which include; Avengers Assemble, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Ben 10, Dr. Dolittle 3, Garfield’s Pet Force, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Advent Rising, and Diablo III etc. Vanessa, however, has not taken a cue from her mother as she is already a divorcee. In 2001 she got married to voice over actor Andrew Kishino but they’ve gone their separate ways since 2007.
Sadly and surprisingly, Joan Van Ark’s net worth is currently unknown. However, we can safely assume her finances are in order as she has had an extremely successful and illustrious acting career.