Susan Saint James

Susan Saint James

Induction Category:
Arts & Humanities

Born: 1946

Inducted: 1994

Town: Litchfield

Award-winning television and film star and Special Olympics activist, Susan Saint James was born in California to a Connecticut family. Her mother and grandmother were both schoolteachers who attended Connecticut state universities. She was brought up with the expectation that women should lead active lives that combined career and family, yet as she explains, she was educated to write wonderful letters and to set a perfect table, to be a nun or a wife. Raised in Rockford, Ill., Saint James attended Connecticut College for Women before moving to California to pursue an acting career. She soon landed a contract with Universal Studios and starred in the successful series The Name of the Game. She went on to have a recurring role in It Takes a Thief and McMillan and Wife, opposite Rock Hudson.

Service, however, was always an important part of her life. While working on McMillan and Wife in California, Saint James was asked to help with the Special Olympics. Although she had no personal connection to the Special Olympics, she immediately felt a strong bond to the organization that would develop into service on the Board of Directors for the International Special Olympics.

Saint James returned to Connecticut in 1983 to star as Kate in the successful comedy series, Kate & Allie. Though she had a full-time job and a new baby, she sought out volunteer work to help her make new friends and to be of service. This was the beginning of her membership on the Board of the Connecticut Special Olympics. Four children later, she retired from television and decided to devote herself full-time to family and volunteer work.

Susan Saint James has received many awards as both an actress and a volunteer. She has been nominated for 10 Emmys, winning as best supporting actress in 1968 for her role as Peggy Maxwell in The Name of the Game. More than a dozen major organizations have recognized her commitment to the Special Olympics and her leadership role as a spokesperson for volunteerism. These honors include the Saint Coletta Award from the Caritas Society, The Gold Key Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance and the Walter Camp Football Foundation Award, of which she was the first female recipient. Saint James holds honorary doctorates from five Connecticut institutions: The University of Connecticut, the University of Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut State University, Albertus Magnus College, and the University of New Haven.

During This Time
1966 - Today: Struggle for Justice