Susan Dey on Circle of Fear

What was Susan Dey's first television appearance outside of The Partridge Family? It was featured role on the supernatural anthology series Circle of Fear, a series formerly known as Ghost Story. In the episode, titled "Doorway to Death," Susan Dey portrays Peggy, the older sister of two younger siblings (played by Leif Garrett and Dawn Lyn, real life siblings who appeared in several other features together).

The story begins when the kids and their father, played veteran film and TV actor Barry Nelson, move into a cheaper-than-it-should-be apartment after their mother dies. The little kids meet a man who lives upstairs, but no one else can confirm that the man exists. Eventually, the younger siblings decide to 'give' their older sister Peggy to the man, since the mysterious man's wife is dead. Negative consequences follow this dubious decision.

Circle of Fear was co-produced by Screen Gems, the company behind The Partridge Family. The episode was great exposure for Susan Dey, showing her in a different context on television for the first time. She already had experience acting alongside small children, as demonstrated on The Partridge Family, which made her perfect for the role. However, here she was able to deal with more adult subjects (such as murder and death). And while Circle of Fear is relatively mild, it was certainly a step away from the innocence of The Partridge Family.

Susan Dey handles her duties here well and even does some of the ubiquitous horror maneuvers (such as screaming in terror). After viewing the episode I was left wondering: why didn't Susan Dey do a real horror movie?

The Milwaukee Sentinel (June 1, 1973)

Here are some images of Susan Dey on Circle of Fear (click on the pictures for full size):