Garland was born Beverly Lucy Fessenden in Santa Cruz, California, the daughter of Amelia Rose (née Scherer), a businesswoman, and James Atkins Fessenden, a singer and salesman. Garland grew up in Glendale, California. She was a drama student of Anita Arliss. She was a student at Glendale City College, and she honed her acting skills in summer stock theatre.
Garland played Nina in the drama Mama Rosa on ABC-television in 1950.:648 In the 1950s, many of her roles were of secure, tough women who could handle themselves in violent situations. One such role was as a secrets-keeping secretary in the classic film noir D.O.A.. (She was credited as Beverly Campbell). 1956 was a busy year for Garland: she played a female marshal in the Western Gunslinger with Chris Alcaide as her deputy; a prison escapee in Swamp Diamonds; and a scientist's wife who battles an alien in It Conquered the World. All three films were directed by Roger Corman, and all were riffed in the 1990s by Mystery Science Theater 3000.
From 1957 to 1958, Garland starred as undercover police officer Casey Jones in the syndicated television series Decoy, the first American television police series with a woman in the starring role. It lasted a single season of thirty-nine episodes.
Garland guest-starred in 1956 as Nelli Austin, a rodeo sharpshooter, in the episode "Rodeo Rough House" of Rod Cameron's syndicated drama series State Trooper. Claude Akins appeared in this episode as the murderous rodeo clown. Garland and Akins appeared together again in the 1960 episode "Prison Trail" of the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive and again in the 1963 episode "The Chooser of the Slain" of The Dakotas.
In 1955, Garland had been cast in the episode "Man Down, Woman Screaming" of Rod Cameron's first syndicated series, City Detective, the story of a tough New York City police lieutenant. She appeared that same year as Sarah Garvey in the episode "Cattle Drive to Casper" of Frontier. On September 5, 1955, she co-starred in an episode of Science Fiction Theatre called "The Negative Man". Around the same time, she appeared in the first Brian Keith series, Crusader. She appeared twice in 1960 as "Doris Denny Bona" in the episodes "Remember the Alamo" and "The Widow of Kill Cove" of Cameron's third syndicated series, COronado 9. In 1960, Garland was cast as Dr. Nora James in the episode "Three Graves" of Riverboat. Ms. Garland also appeared in 1960 in episode 28, 'Saddles and Spurs', of the first season of the western show Laramie.
In 1962-1963, Garland was a regular on the CBS version of Stump the Stars.:1031 She guest-starred in 1963 as Marya Stone in the episode "What Did She Mean By Good Luck?" on The Eleventh Hour. She appeared in a season-one episode, "Smoke Screen", of The Fugitive. In the 1964-65 television season, she co-starred as Ellie Collins on The Bing Crosby Show. She appeared in the 1968 feature film Pretty Poison but is best known for playing suburban mothers on My Three Sons and Scarecrow and Mrs. King.
Garland was featured on Remington Steele as the mother of Laura Holt (played by series star Stephanie Zimbalist).:884-885 Her decades of television guest appearances include appearances on episodes of Twilight Zone, Kung Fu, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
On 7th Heaven, she appeared in nine episodes as Ginger Jackson, stepmother of Annie Camden, opposite Graham Jarvis. In addition to working with Graves on 7th Heaven, Garland also starred opposite Graves's brother, James Arness, in four episodes of Gunsmoke. On radio, she was an original player of the California Actors Radio Theatre (C.A.R.T.). C.A.R.T. often recorded its programs on the grounds of Garland's hotel in The Beverly Garland Little Theater, which was decorated with large movie posters from many of her feature films.
Garland was nominated for a Best Actress in a Single Performance Emmy award for her work on Medic (1955). For her contribution to the television industry, Garland has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard. It was dedicated January 26, 1983.
Garland married actor Richard Garland in 1951. Although they divorced two years later, she continued to use his last name professionally.
In 1999, her husband of 39 years, businessman Filmore Crank, died. She and Crank had a son and a daughter, in addition to his son and daughter from a previous marriage.
Subsequently, Garland combined her acting career with an increased devotion to the hotel that Crank built and named for her. Originally built as a Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge in the 1970s, a sprawling 255-room Spanish-Mission style resort called the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn (renamed The Garland in 2014) is located at 4222 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood. The hotel continues to be owned by her family and managed by her son, James Fessenden Crank. Crank and Beverly were beloved and hands-on hotel owners; being on property daily, giving employee recognition to all , and giving their personal touch all over the hotel. Even after both Crank and Beverly's passing there are still many pieces of memorabilia up around the hotel. There is a big portrait of Beverly in the lobby and many movie posters located in the hotel theater. Fillmore Crank's two favorite colors were orange and brown, which is the hotel's themed colors still to this day, in honor of him. Once the $20 million dollar renovation was completed, the hotel has been thriving ever since. The on-property restaurant, The Front Yard, is also extremely successful and its growing popularity is making it a "Valley favorite". Garland's daughter, actress Carrington Garland (born 1964), is best known for her portrayal of the third Kelly Capwell in the soap opera Santa Barbara.
On December 5, 2008, Garland died from undisclosed causes after a lengthy illness in the mid-century contemporary house in the Hollywood Hills that was her home for over 40 years. A memorial service and reception were attended by several hundred people on December 13 at her namesake hotel property, Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn. Her body was cremated. She was survived by a son, a daughter, and two grandchildren.