Gail Fisher: Mother, pool shark, darn good actress

TV's Peggy Fair never let anyone question her confidence.

Gail Fisher was, apparently, an incredible pool player. When she wasn't on TV as Peggy Fair in Mannix, Ms. Fisher was quite the accomplished hustler at green-topped tables all over. 

"I call her Bella Barracuda," said Marilyn Reiss, Ms. Fisher's agent. "She's also a tennis nut and a bowler."

At the time, Gail Fisher was the cool-as-could-be Peggy Fair, the real brains behind Mannix's private eye enterprise. It was a role that would win her an Emmy and two Golden Globes. And it was a role that she truly enjoyed.

"I love working," said Ms. Fisher. Particularly, this regular part in a television series allowed Fisher the freedom to organize her life around a consistent schedule. "The great thing about it is that I can be with my children a lot. That's important." At the time of the interview, Fisher's two daughters, Samama, 13, and Jole, 7, lived with her in Beverly Hills. The role also allowed Gail Fisher to bring her mother out from Plainfield, New Jersey, to the much more amenable California weather. 

"Some people think I should be overjoyed at how well I'm doing on Mannix, and I suppose I am, but not for the same reason," Fisher told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1972.

"They didn't cast me on the show because I'm black. It isn't even necessarily a black role. They cast me because I'm a darn good actress and I know I am," she explained.

"So why should I be surprised that I've succeeded?"

Fisher looked at her past trials and tribulations to contextualize her success. 

"I was forced to struggle for my very existence at first," she said. "So now, I take advantage of every situation and learn something from it for the perfection of my art. All the advice I had never worked for me. I had to work everything out for myself."

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6 Comments

JERRY6 5 months ago
Without her the show would not have been as good , glad she was no victim , she was strong and showed it . Great actress for sure . They made a great team and had great chemistry . Oe of the few shows I can watch several times
daDoctah 5 months ago
When I binge-watched the entire series a couple of years ago (had seen all but the first season with Joe Campanella when they were first-run), it seemed pretty obvious to me that someone wanted Joe and Peggy to share a romantic attraction that wouldn't have gone over well in those days if it were more explicitly stated.

That said, in the "Diagnosis: Murder" episode that revisited one of Joe's old cases that never properly got solved, Peggy gets mentioned in the dialogue and is apparently still working for Joe, even though she doesn't actually appear.
AgingDisgracefully 5 months ago
Drinking Game: one serving whenever Peggy says. "Joe...be careful."
That'll do you less damage than taking a swig every time Joe gets hit over the head with a pistol butt.
Unless you're enjoying Lipton's or nipping at a hearty Ovaltine.
LoveMETV22 5 months ago


"Gail Fisher was, apparently, an incredible pool player"
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Yes and she showed her talent in "Love American Style" LOVE AND THE HUSTLER with Flip Wilson, where he got hustled by Gail Fisher. A fun episode.
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