Veteran television actress Markie Post died on Saturday, according to reports. The series regular on two hit shows of the 1980s, The Fall Guy and Night Court, had been battling cancer for nearly four years. She was 70 years old.
The California-born Post began her career working behind the scenes on game shows like Split Second and Double Dare. She soon began appearing on screen as one of the Vanna White-esque “dealers” on Card Sharks, overturning enormous cards as the studio audience shouted “higher!” or “lower!”
Her television career quickly took off in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when she landed guest spots on a string of classic shows of the era, including CHiPs, Barnaby Jones, The Incredible Hulk, Hart to Hart, B.J. and the Bear, Eight is Enough, The Greatest American Hero, Simon & Simon, and House Calls. She appeared in a rather elaborate sci fi costume in a two-part episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Her first regular role was on the short-lived football-themed comedy Semi-Tough starring David Hasselhoff, based on the Burt Reynolds film.
In 1982 she joined The Fall Guy in its second season. The action-comedy series starred Lee Majors as a Hollywood stunt man who also worked as a bounty hunter, deploying movie magic to capture bad guys. At around the same time Post appeared on two episodes of The A-Team (another action-comedy in which a group of people captured bad guys), The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Hotel. In 1983, she did a guest shot on the more traditional sitcom Cheers, which indicated where her career was headed next.
After an appearance in its second season, Post became a series regular on Night Court from its third season through the end of its nine season run in 1992. In the mid-1980s, Night Court was the fourth chapter of NBC’s unbeatable block of Thursday night comedies. (It went The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, then Night Court, before transitioning to single-camera drama with Hill Street Blues.)
As Christine Sullivan, Markie Post played the kindhearted public defender to the assorted miscreants that got processed during the night shift of Manhattan’s municipal court, presided over by the wacky Judge Harry T. Stone, played by comic and magician Harry Anderson.
She was the comic foil to obnoxious chauvanist Dan Fielding, played by John Larroquette. Naturally the two eventually fell in love. Larroquette won four consecutive Emmys for the role from 1985 to 1988, before he withdrew his name from the running. It’s worth noting that Dan would not have been Dan without Christine to play off of.
After Night Court, Post played opposite John Ritter for three seasons of CBS’s D.C.-set Hearts Afire. Mirroring the Christine and Dan relationship, Post was a liberal political reporter and Ritter was an aide to a conservative Senator.