Joan Hotchkis (born September 21, 1927, Los Angeles, California) is an American stage, screen and television actress, writer and performance artist.


Hotchkis played Dr. Nancy Cunningham, sometime girlfriend of Oscar Madison on the television version of The Odd Couple. She also played Ellen, the wife, in the Emmy-winning series My World and Welcome to It. She also made guest appearances on Bewitched and Lou Grant.

Her film work includes the role of Mama Hartley in Ode to Billy Joe (1976), William Holden's ex-wife Paula in Breezy (1973), and Bissie Hapgood in Legacy (1975), which she also wrote. Her stage work includes Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in the 1950s and 60s. In the 1980s, she played lead roles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, The Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Los Angeles Theater Center.

She worked as a part-time paraprofessional in aggression training at the Institute of Group Psychotherapy before founding the Santa Monica-based Tearsheets Productions.[2] Hotchkis has written and performed two solo performance pieces to date.[3] The first, Tearsheets: Rude Tales from the Ranch,[4][5] toured the United States in the early 1990s [6][7] and went abroad to the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe,[8] where it was the only U.S. production to win a Fringe First Award.[9] Her second solo work was Elements of Flesh: Or Screwing Saved My Ass (1996), about aging and sexuality.[10][2][2] Hotchkis co-wrote, with Eric Morris, the acting manual, "No Acting Please" (1977),[2] which is still used in colleges and conservatories.[2][2][2]

Personal life

Hotchkis is a 4th generation Californian, born to Preston and Katherine (née Bixby) Hotchkis. She was raised in Pasadena and has one child, a daughter.


Hotchkis is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio [2] and the Dramatists Guild.