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"Three's Company" Character, Lana Shields
Popular 70s and 80s sitcom "Three's Company" introduced a new character in the second episode of season four. The character of an older divorced woman named Lana Shields made her temporary, yet memorable, mark on "Three's Company" in an episode titled "Love Thy Neighbor".
The part of Lana Shields was portrayed by the strikingly beautiful, Abilene, Texas native Ann Wedgeworth. Ms. Wedgeworth was forty-five years old when she appeared in nine of the thirteen fourth season episodes which included her in the show's opening credits. DVD releases of the series include an interview with this extremely talented and beautiful actress.
Not much is known about the character. After her initial scene with John Ritter's character, any additional information about Lana seemed to be an afterthought. According to her first scene with Jack, she is a buyer for a fictional department store called "Willard's". This is probably a take on the real department store, Dillard's. She has had four jobs and three husbands. According to Lana, "none of them satisfied" her. Lana does mention New York. We assume she means New York City. This does not necessarily mean Lana was born in New York.
Lana admits her reason for using an escort service to get her dates. She equivalates this to buying a car. She'd much rather have something that goes "Vroom Vroom" instead of an old clunker.
A few fans did not like the Lana Shields character, which is highly unfair to the actress who gave Lana her brief life. Ms. Wedgeworth and the fans were not given the opportunity to see this character develop past the first couple of episodes. Had more information been offered, Lana probably would have been as loved and accepted as the other characters had been accepted.
According to her interview for the DVD release, Ms. Wedgeworth describes how well she was accepted by John Ritter. She also describes her personal feelings concerning Don Knotts. She also describes how she obtained the role of Lana Shields. She also describes how she feels about the series itself although she was not a part of it for very long.
The End Came Before it Began
The tag scene of "Love Thy Neighbor" shows Lana telling Jack and the girls she has become their new neighbor. Lana's scenes generally involved one of two scenarios or both. While she is constantly pursuing Jack, Don Knott's character, Ralph Furley, constantly pursues her. This triple chase dance became an ongoing and overused theme making Lana Shields quickly disappear into obscurity.
Ms. Wedgeworth asked to be released from the show because of her lack of contributions to the series. Unfortunately the character didn't work out the way the producers had hoped she would.
© 2011 Tammy L