At one point, actress Pamelyn Ferdin was everywhere in Hollywood. Viewers could find her on hit TV shows like the 1960s iteration of Star Trek and the 1970s sitcom The Odd Couple, as well as in major films like the 1971 Southern Gothic movie The Beguiled alongside Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page.
What many fans at the time didn’t realize is that Ferdin was also the voice behind numerous animated characters, including in classics such as Charlotte’s Web, A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Peanuts.
Ferdin was a popular child actress in the ’60s and ’70s
“It’s no exaggeration to say that if you watched television at all in the 1960s or 1970s you must have seen me,” writes Pamelyn Ferdin herself on her personal website. “For the greater part of a decade I was the busiest child actress in Hollywood. There were times when I was the busiest actor of any age.” Ferdin points out that her roles covered dozens of movies, and more than 500 TV episodes and TV commercials. “Nearly all of them [came out] before I was out of my teens,” she adds.
She got her start when she was only four years old in the 1964 film What a Way to Go. From there, her career took off.
Ferdin voiced a popular character in the ‘Peanuts’ universe before starring in ‘The Odd Couple’
Lucille Van Pelt, typically referred to simply as “Lucy,” is the opinionated, strong-willed older sister of Linus and Rerun in Charles Schulz’ classic comic strip Peanuts. When the world of Peanuts transitioned to the silver screen, the producers turned to Ferdin to give Lucy a voice in 1969’s It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown, 1969’s A Boy Named Charlie Brown, and 1971’s Play It Again, Charlie Brown. When she first started voicing Lucy, Ferdin was only 10 years old.
Because of her trademark voice, fans thought there was something familiar about one of the characters in The Odd Couple when the ABC sitcom premiered in 1970. In fact, the show had several characters played by stars who were previously known for their work in voicing animated characters.
“Bill Woodson, the voice you hear in the opening credits, became a staple of Saturday mornings as the narrator on the Super Friends cartoon,” explains MeTV. “Once you learn that, it seems quite obvious. However, you might not catch a couple Peanuts stepping into live-action roles. Pamelyn Ferdin, the voice of Lucy Van Pelt, plays Felix’s daughter, Edna. Christopher Shea, the boy behind her animated brother Linus, appears as Phillip, a neighbor’s son, in a few episodes as well.”
Ferdin quit acting in the 1980s
IMDB reports that the former child star retired from acting in the 1980s and entered the medical field to become a registered nurse (she also went on to marry a doctor). But she’s hardly taking a break. Instead, Ferdin has devoted the rest of her career to animal rights and activism. She has even been arrested several times for her involvement in protesting what she says were abusive animal shelters, cruel circus performances, and other instances of alleged animal cruelty.
“In 1999, I was arrested for bringing a bullhook to a circus protest,” she writes on her website in a collection of essays and blog posts that she maintains to this current day. “For the public attention my arrest and conviction drew to the bullhook, going to jail was well worth it. […] Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share this planet!”