Kentucky native Jean Byron was still attending high school when she began accepting jobs as a radio and band singer. In 1952, she made her first film, Columbia's Voodoo Tiger, "co-starring with Johnny Weissmuller and a chimpanzee," as she later ruefully observed. Better roles followed for Jean on the many TV anthology series of the 1950s. In 1959, she was cast in a recurring role on the weekly sitcom Dobie Gillis, playing high school teacher Imogene Burkhart (which happened to be Jean's real name). From 1963 through 1966, Jean Byron was seen on The Patty Duke Show, as Patty's mother; Jean's husband was played by another Dobie Gillis alumnus, William Schallert.