Roberta Shore was a busy child actor on television and, to a lesser degree, in movies during the 1950s and early '60s. Born Roberta Jymme Schourup in Monterey Park, CA, in 1943, she discovered early on that she was a natural singer and performer, and by age 10 was appearing at local event in San Gabriel, where she was raised, and the surrounding area. Billed variously as Jymme Shore and Roberta Shore, she passed through Tex Williams' television show and became a regular performer on The Pinky Lee Show at age 11. The following year, she was hired by Walt Disney Studios to play the foil to Annette Funicello in some of the filmed entertainments shown on The Mickey Mouse Club (although she was never a Mouseketeer, due in large part to her being considered too tall). She subsequently played in The Shaggy Dog as Funicello's rival for Tim Considine, in addition to singing the movie's theme song. Shore was heavily involved with the Disney organization for the next few years, doing voice work in animated films and recording for the Disneyland label. Shore also turned up in Father Knows Best as a girlfriend of older daughter Betty Anderson (Elinor Donahue), and played the rambunctious Hank (real name Henrietta) in The Bob Cummings Show (1961-1962), in addition to showing up in early '60s episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet, as one of Ricky Nelson's girlfriends. Shore could also be seen in supporting roles in such feature films as A Summer Place and Blue Denim.
In 1962, Shore was signed to play Betsy Garth, the daughter of Judge Henry Garth, in the 90-minute weekly western series The Virginian. She was 19 when the series went into production, but Betsy Garth was initially identified as a 15 year old (she celebrates her 15th birthday in the first episode), which, incidentally, takes place sometime in 1890 (specifically identified in episode two, which was focused on her character and gave Shore a lot to do dramatically). After the first season, however, the producers quietly advanced Betsy Garth's age, also giving her a love interest that audiences could accept in the person of new cast member Randy Boone, an actor/singer with whom she later recorded an album, in addition to singing with, in character, on the show. The series was a success, and Shore had a seven-year contract with the producers, and her future on network television seemed assured. But her religious background -- she was from a devout Mormon family -- was to take her out of The Virginian and performing earlier than most onlookers would have expected. Marriage and a family were always in the plan for her, sooner rather than later, and she decided during third season, when she was 21, that she was going to marry actor Ron Frederickson -- who was also a Mormon -- and leave the show. There was an episode written for the early part of the fourth season, entitled "The Awakening," in which Betsy Garth married a character played by Glenn Corbett and left the Shiloh Ranch, ending her tenure on the series. The producers also suspended Shore for the three years remaining on her contract, which had no actual effect on her, as she had walked away from acting to start and raise a family, which she did. Shore subsequently moved to Salt Lake City and, apart from an appearance in one movie in the 1970s and work as a disc jockey, maintained a private life for the next several decades. In 2003, she suddenly re-emerged in one corner of the performing world when she was cast in Gary Rogers' Book of Mormon film, along with her husband. In 2009, Shore and series star James Drury both did new on-camera interviews about The Virginian for the DVD release of the series' complete first season. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi