Anjanette Comer came to Hollywood in the early '60s at age 18. "I was from a small town in Texas," she recalls. "I didn't know it was supposed to be difficult."
And it wasn't. Her guest-star appearances on half a dozen TV series--including hits like "Dr. Kildare" and "Ben Casey, M.D."--led to an Emmy nomination and a shot at features.
She played opposite Robert Morse, Rod Steiger and Jonathan Winters in "The Loved One" (1965), the black comedy about the funeral industry. She was Marlon Brando's leading lady in the Western, "The Appaloosa" (1966) and Anthony Quinn's leading lady in "Guns for San Sebastian" (1968). In "Rabbit Run" (1970), she co-starred with a young James Caan.
But the '70s saw her titles slip in stature (they include the offbeat 1973 thriller, "The Baby"). Her last film--1977's "Fire Sale," directed by and starring Alan Arkin--bombed. TV-wise, Comer last appeared opposite James Garner and the late Joan Hackett in the 1982 TV movie "The Long Summer of George Adams."
Why'd she drop out?
"The truth is, I was always dropping out," she explains, on the phone from her parents' home in a small Texas farming community south of Ft. Worth. "I was in and out of the business so many times, people's heads were spinning. I think all my starts and stops hurt my career. But my career was never my problem. I had personal problems to deal with."
The 5-foot-5 1/2 dark-haired beauty declines to go into details, saying only that she's now divorced.
She's also back in the business and heading for Los Angeles, following a return to acting classes and a starring role in last year's off-Broadway play, "The Heart Outright," written by Mark Medoff.
Happy that "I'm no longer the ingenue," she claims to be unworried about competing with established actresses.
"I feel great about coming back. Because I have a great belief in my talent. I think what made me successful the first time around hasn't changed.
"In fact, I think I'm better--I'm in my prime."