Later Finley had a recurring role on "The Rockford Files" as Peggy Becker, wife of police lieutenant, Dennis Becker (Joe Santos). She reprised that role in a 1996 TV movie.
Aside from recalling Pat Finley as a warm, wonderful person I'd like to have known better, the only specific thing I remember her telling me is that the first name of the character she played in her 1970 guest appearance on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was the same as her real-life younger sister. That's right, she has a sister named Sparkle Finley.
Their father was Robert C. Finley, who, like his daughter, Pat, was born in North Carolina. However, after a brief career as a band leader, Robert C. Finley turned to law, eventually moved to Washington where he became a justice on the state Supreme Court. Which is why it's somewhat fitting that among Pat Finley's credits are three appearances as a judge in Perry Mason TV movies.
Not surprisingly, I recently received an email from Pat Finley, who retired several years ago after leaving Hollywood to do a talk show in Seattle. She splits her time between France and Palm Desert.
"I went to an audition one day at Universal for a pilot with Ted Something who had done the series with Marlo Thomas. It had a monkey in it. I read the script in the casting director’s office and decided I just could not do monkeys after 10 years of learning the craft on stage."
The "Ted" in question was Ted Bessell who co-starred on "That Girl" with Marlo Thomas, then did "Me and the Chimp," which was canceled after 13 episodes in 1972.
Pat Finley didn't leave the casting director's office, pack up and fly back to Washington, however. Most of the work I remember her for came after 1972, and she continued to act occasionally until 2006. But I got a kick out of her anecdote about working with monkeys. That can be demeaning — and dangerous.