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Sheila Kuehl
Born (1941-02-09) February 9, 1941 (age 81)
Where Tulsa, Oklahoma,
United States
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Years Active 1950s – 1980s
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Birth Name Sheila James Kuehl
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Sheila James Kuehl (born February 9, 1941; Tulsa, Oklahoma) is an American politician, and a former child actress. She most recently served as a Democratic member of the California State Senate, representing the 23rd district in Los Angeles County and parts of southern Ventura County. A former member of the California State Assembly, she was elected to the Senate in 2000 and served until December 2008.


As a young actress with the stage name Sheila James, she played Jackie, Stuart Erwin's tomboy daughter, in the television show Trouble With Father, which was later retitled The Stu Erwin Show. She is better known for her portrayal of the "irrepressible" Zelda Gilroy in the long-running 1960s TV show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. The running gag was Zelda's roaring crush on Dobie, and his resistance to her advances. The program spawned two sequels, an unsold television pilot, Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis? (1978) and TV movie Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988). In these, Dobie had married Zelda and had a son named Georgie, who was like Dobie had been at his age. Kuehl reprised her Zelda role in both updates.

James co-starred in the short-lived television series Broadside (television series), a female version of the hit show McHale's Navy during the 1964-65 season. After the show's cancellation, she got a job as a campus adviser to student groups at UCLA and eventually became an associate dean of students. At age 34, as Sheila Kuehl, she was admitted into Harvard Law School, where she excelled. She was elected class marshal and president of law school student council. In 1978, her final year at the law school, she chaired the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the 1953 graduation of the first group of women to be admitted to Harvard Law School. That same academic year, she became the first woman to win "Best Oralist" in the law school's prestigious Ames Moot Court Competition, judged by a panel including Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.[1]


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