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Hartley began her career in her teens as a stage actress, coached and mentored by the noted Eva Le Gallienne. Her film career began with Ride the High Country (1962), a western with actors Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, and directed by Sam Peckinpah. She also had a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie (1964). In 1963 she played Clary in Gunsmoke episode 53 In the 1963-1964 television season, she appeared in an episode of ABC’s drama about college life, Channing and in two episodes of The Virginian. In 1966, she appeared as Polly Dockery in the series finale, "A Burying for Rosey", of The Legend of Jesse James. She appeared in an episode of the T.V. series of M*A*S*H (TV series) as Dr. Inga Halverson ('Inga' Series 7 episode 17). She also worked with Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry, two famed creators of television and film science fiction. She first appeared in an episode of The Twilight Zone ("The Long Morrow"). In 1969, she appeared in the penultimate episode of Star Trek, "All Our Yesterdays". She appeared in several science fiction films, Marooned (1969), Earth II (1971), and the pilot for the post-apocalyptic Genesis II (1973), another Roddenberry production. During the late 1970s, Hartley also appeared with James Garner in a popular series of television commercials advertising Polaroid cameras. The two actors had such chemistry that it was often (erroneously) believed that they were married in real life. Her biography contains a photo of her in a T-shirt proclaiming, “I am NOT Mrs. James Garner.” Hartley also guest-starred in a memorable episode of Garner’s TV series The Rockford Files during this period. The script required them to kiss at one point. Unknown to them, a paparazzo was photographing the scene from a distance. The photos were run in a tabloid trying to provoke a scandal, causing a good deal of attention. (An article that ran in TV Guide was titled, “That woman is not James Garner’s wife!”)