Celeste Yarnall: born 26 July 1944, Long Beach California. On screen from 1962. Gidget (TV 1966) ‘Independence: Gidget Style’ – 2nd Girl (as Celeste Yarnell); Elvis Presley’s Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) Ellen. More after the jump.
Q: How were you discovered?
A: It’s a fun story. I was 17, fresh out of high school. And I was taking a shortcut to get to one of my very first commercial auditions. And one of the guards at General Service Studios let me take the shortcut to go through the studio to get to this commercial audition. The commercial audition was a hair product called Show Curl.
And so, I was all decked out, you know, trying to look much older than my 17 years at the time, and walked through the studio. And Rick Nelson and his friend Charlie Brett and some of the other guys were tossing the football around. And when I walked by in my high heels and my cute little outfit, they starting with me and cat calling. And then people started coming out of their offices. And before we knew it, there was absolute pandemonium. And I was, you know, shaking like the scared little kid that I was.
So, Ozzie Nelson comes out of his office. And he goes, ‘What on earth is going on out here?’ A mini riot had broken out, and I was dying, of course. So he said, ‘Anybody that can stop traffic on this lot deserves to be on our show. Would you like to be on the show?’ And I said, ‘I’d love to be on the show’. But, you know, I’m not a member of the union or anything yet. I’m just getting started. And he said, ‘Well, we’ll take care of that. We’ll get you your union card’. And that’s a really big deal.
So, he did. He got me into the Screen Actors Guild. And I had one line on ‘Ozzie And Harriet’. And I’ll never forget the line. It was, ‘Are you coming with us, Roberta?’ And, of course, Roberta said something, and I said, ‘Okay, see you later’. And that was my very first role on television.