Most actresses dream of living in Hollywood – not Barbara Feldon.
The star, best known by fans as Agent 99 in the hit series “Get Smart,” recently told Closer Weekly she left Los Angeles behind in 1977 for New York City, and she has never looked back.
“I just never had the acting itch,” the 84-year-old told the magazine. “There’s so much artistic and intellectual stimulation in New York. Every day is different.”
“Get Smart,” the comedy show that poked fun at the coveted secret agent genre, aired from 1965 until 1970. It inspired a brief remake in 1995, followed by a 2008 film featuring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99.
Feldon has stayed busy over the years pursuing acting for television, but she has never felt the urge to live in Los Angeles among Hollywood’s elite.
“[Living in LA] was like a 12-year interruption of my life in New York,” said the Pittsburgh native, who graduated with a drama degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology back in 1955.
Feldon officially retired from acting in 2006, but has had no problem opening up to fans about her work. Back in 2016, she told Forbes that while her character gave birth to twins, in real life she never had children of her own.
“It just didn’t happen,” explained Feldon. “Time went by and my life was just a different kind of life. I must say, though, that during the period where we were shooting and I was wearing that big pregnancy pad, I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m not quite sure this would be fun (laughs).'
"There are so many ways to be happy, and you can be happy with children. I know I would have been if I had them. But you can be happy without them, too, and I have been.”
Feldon also told the business site she would tell her younger self not to take fame so seriously.
“I would say to take things more lightly, see life in a bigger context than just that a total vision of success or being good enough,” said Feldon at the time. “There is no way to be good enough when you’re that age. You want some kind of perfection, and you’ll never get there.
"If it were the show, my advice would be to enjoy the people on the set. Don’t worry about whether you’re being accepted or not, whether your TV Q [score] is high or not high. Just be more lighthearted about life in general.”