Rebecca Welles

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Rebecca Welles
Born Reba Tassel
February 5, 1928
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.
Died February 13, 2017 (age 89)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Occupation Actress
Years active 1951-1964
Don Weis
(m. 1961; his death 2000)
Parent(s) Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Tassell

Rebecca Welles (born Reba Tassell; February 5, 1928 – February 13, 2017) was an American television and film actress.

Early years[edit]

Welles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Lena (née Schiller; 1901-1973) and Samuel Tassell[1] (1896-1963). Her only sibling was fashion designer Gustave Tassell.[2] In 1944, she was the recipient of a $500 tuition award from the Theatre Guild to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[3] She went on to spend two years at the academy and to act in stock theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[4]

As a youngster, she was a member of the Bessie V. Hicks Players in Philadelphia.[5]


Welles' first TV appearance was in the episode "A Chill on the Wind" on Studio One in 1951, where she was credited under her birth name, but subsequently worked under the surname "Welles". (A newspaper source in February 1951 says of Welles, "Last November she had a walk-on in the Studio One drama of A Letter to Cairo.)[4]

Active from 1951 to 1964, Welles made appearances on about fifty TV shows, including 77 Sunset Strip, Gunsmoke, Boots and Saddles, Bat Masterson, Alcoa Theatre, and four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She made five appearances on Perry Mason, including three roles as defendants: in 1959 she played Carol Delaney in "The Case of the Stuttering Bishop", and Carol Taylor in "The Case of the Frantic Flyer." She played Rita Norge in the 1957 episode, "The Case of the Runaway Corpse." In her other two appearances she played the role of murderer Edith Bristol in the 1961 episode, "The Case of the Waylaid Wolf," and murderer Leslie Eden in the 1964 episode, "The Case of the Illicit Illusion." In addition, Welles appeared in four feature films, including Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955) and Desire Under the Elms (1958). She made her last onscreen appearance in a 1964 episode of Arrest and Trial.

In the "Bat Masterson" episode Brunette Bombshell, Welles was the first woman to receive an off screen over the knee spanking in a television show.The episode Brunette Bombshell shows her going face down across Gene Barry's knee and as he spanks her the camera moves up so you can not see his hand spanking her bottom.You can only see him smiling as he drops his hand down.This was because both Gene Barry and Rebecca Welles were married at the time and he did not think it was proper to spank another man's wife. However, he had no trouble taking her across his knees. Barry is quoted as saying of the episode; "Rebecca Welles was a spoiled brat.She could have used an attitude adjustment badly but I did not believe it was my duty to administer a spanking to another man's wife."

In a reversal of sorts, Welles was the inspiration for an episode of Big Town on CBS-TV. A newspaper article in The Bridgeport Telegram on February 21, 1951, reported, "Susan Douglas stars as Miss Cinderella ... which was inspired by the experience of Reba Tassell, the TV Cinderella girl who made such a hit on Studio One last month."[6]

Personal life[edit]

Welles married television director Don Weis on August 25, 1961, in Los Angeles, California.[7] Weis had two daughters from a previous marriage; Deborah Weis Ellis and Pamela Weis Landrum.[citation needed] She also had two children from a previous marriage.[1]


Welles died on February 13, 2017 in Sante Fe, Mexico. She was 89.[8] ...


Year Film Role Notes
1955 Good Morning, Miss Dove Polly Burnham Uncredited
1956 The Brass Legend Millie Street Credited as Reba Tassell
1958 Desire Under the Elms Lucinda Cabot
Juvenile Jungle Glory
Year Title Role Notes
1951 Studio One 1 episode
Lights Out 1 episode
The Web 1 episode
1953 Danger 1 episode
Harvest Arlene Television movie
Credited as Reba Tassell
Robert Montgomery Presents Arlene 1 episode
1956–1960 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Various roles 4 episodes
1957 Wire Service Julia Thomas 1 episode
Gunsmoke Nan Mellors 1 episode
The Web 1 episode
Boots and Saddles Laurie 2 episodes
The Millionaire Amy 1 episode
1957–1964 Perry Mason Various roles 5 episodes
1958 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Sandra Mantell 1 episode
State Trooper Betty Dolan 1 episode
Trackdown Julie Corbin 1 episode
M Squad Mrs. Kenneth Darrell 1 episode
Northwest Passage Maureen Carver 1 episode
Frontier Doctor Maria Belotti, Circus Owner 1 episode
26 Men Ruth 1 episode
Rescue 8 Madge 1 episode
The Lineup Jane Abbott 1 episode
1959 The Thin Man Maria 1 episode
Wagon Train Jean Yates 1 episode
Zorro Moneta 1 episode
Bat Masterson Isabel Fowler 1 episode
The Californians Cora Sue Sommers
Clara Keel
2 episodes
Bronco Lynne Henderson 1 episode
The Lawless Years Jane Cooper
Mary Drew
2 episodes
1960 Philip Marlowe Julie French 1 episode
Alcoa Theatre Phoebe Hanes 1 episode
Tightrope Margo 1 episode
The Dennis O'Keefe Show Paula Hamilton 1 episode
The Man from Blackhawk Janet 1 episode
Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond Adelle Bernheim 1 episode
The Brothers Brannagan Sally Ross 1 episode
General Electric Theater 1 episode
1961 Checkmate Fay Razon 1 episode
The Case of the Dangerous Robin 1 episode
The Untouchables Rose Raineri 1 episode
The DuPont Show with June Allyson Polly 1 episode
Hawaiian Eye Vera Ormsby 1 episode
77 Sunset Strip Ellen Martone 1 episode
1962 The New Breed 1 episode
Follow the Sun Beverly Willis 1 episode
1963 Burke's Law Susan Rivers 1 episode
1964 Arrest and Trial Reba Thayer 1 episode


  1. ^ a b Panitt, Merrill (January 26, 1951). "Jimmy Durante Hailed As Greatest Comedian". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. p. 36. Retrieved August 1, 2018 – via open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ Sheppard, Eugenia (July 5, 1964). "Verve in Latest No-Dress Dress". The Kansas City Times. Missouri, Kansas City. Publishers Newspaper Syndicate. p. 19. Retrieved June 14, 2016 – via open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Gaver, Jack (October 11, 1944). "Broadway". Dunkirk Evening Observer. New York, Dunkirk. United Press. p. 7. Retrieved June 13, 2016 – via open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ a b Butterfield, C.E. (February 8, 1951). "Television Is Developer Of Own Talent". The Bee. Virginia, Danville. Associated Press. p. 25. Retrieved June 13, 2016 – via open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "Playlet Aids S.P.C.A." The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. April 20, 1939. p. 15. Retrieved July 31, 2018 – via open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "Television Topics". The Bridgeport Telegram. Connecticut, Bridgeport. February 21, 1951. p. 58. Retrieved June 13, 2016 – via open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ California, Marriage Index 1960-1985
  8. ^ "Rebecca "Reba" Tassell Weis (1928-2017) - Find A Grave".

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