JoAnna Cameron, trailblazing star of The Secrets of Isis, dies at 73
JoAnna Cameron, the actress known for her work on the DC Comics-based Saturday morning series The Secrets of Isis, died Oct. 15 in Hawaii after suffering a stroke. She was 73.
Joanna Pang Atkins, her former costar on the show, revealed the news on social media Sunday, and EW was able to confirm Cameron's death through one of the actress' close friends in Hawaii.
"Sad to post that JoAnna Cameron 'The Mighty Isis' has flown to heaven," Atkins wrote on Twitter. "She suffered a stroke and passed away from complications this past Friday. We shared the wonderful lasting experience of making 'The Secrets of Isis'. May she RIP."
Cameron was born Patricia on Sept. 20, 1948, according to her friend in Hawaii. She updated her professional name to JoAnna through the Screen Actors Guild. Cameron had her big break after befriending Linda Hope, the daughter of actor and comedian Bob Hope, in college. Hope cast her in the 1969 comedy How to Commit to Marriage.
A model and actress, she also experienced a thriving commercial career. Cameron appeared on The Merv Griffin Show and discussed how she held the record in the Guinness Book of World Records at one point for having done the most commercials.
She is perhaps best known for her role on The Secrets of Isis, which ran from 1975 to 1976 and helped blaze a trail for female superheroes on television.
Cameron starred as Andrea Thomas, a high school science teacher who discovers an enchanted amulet while in Egypt that bestows upon her the powers of the goddess Isis. The Secrets of Isis was the first superhero show to have a leading female role. The series premiered in September of '75, preceding Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman debut in November of that year, as well as Lindsay Wagner's The Bionic Woman premiere in January 1976.
During her stint as the DC Comics-based character, Cameron also appeared on the show Shazam!, starring Michael Gray as Billy Batson, the kid who transformed into a thunderous man of steel by shouting the word "Shazam!" This was similar to how Andrea transformed into Isis, by shouting, "Oh mighty Isis!"
Cameron also portrayed the character Gale Hoffman on the Amazing Spider-Man series of the late '70s.
The actress had been living in Hawaii for many years and enjoyed a private life away from the pop culture spotlight.
"She never came out and told people who she was or about her past in Hollywood," Cameron's friend told EW via email. "I found out from a co-worker and waited months before I told her I knew she was Isis. Over the years she shared many stories regarding her time in Hollywood, but since she didn't add any of these to her book, they will remain a memory I have of her."
She added that Cameron enjoyed the beach and golf, and she "volunteered at the church that she became a member of."
"She was spunky, full of life, had a warm greeting for everyone, always thought of others, and had a small circle of friends," the friend continued. "She had a dog, Tony, that she adored!"
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that JoAnna Cameron was born in 1951. However, her close friend told EW the date of birth listed on her IMDb page is incorrect; she was born in 1948.