Jayne Meadows Allen, a gifted comedian in the Lucille Ball vein who became familiar to TV audiences as a longtime panelist on CBS’ I’ve Got A Secret, died April 26 of natural causes at her home in Encino, CA. She was 95.
Her death was announced by her son Bill Allen, CEO of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp, who was with her in her final hours along with his wife Marie and grandchildren Bradley, Robert and Amanda. She had lived in the San Fernando Valley home since 1959, having moved there with her husband, Tonight Show creator and original host Steve Allen who was a gifted comedian in his own right.
She and her sister Audrey, who played Alice Kramden on the Honeymooners, were both born in China to Francis and Ida Cotter, missionaries, and Jayne made her Broadway debut as Jayne Cotter in Spring Again, an urbane 1941 comedy produced and directed by the legendary Guthrie McClintic.
|Jayne and Steve in 1996|
Her Broadway career peaked in 1958 with The Gazebo, a comic whodunit set on Long Island, in which she co-starred with Walter Slezak. Her last Broadway appearance was in a 1978 revival of the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy Once In A Lifetime.
Here’s a clip from What’s my line where she and Steve appeared. They were married from 1954 until his death October 30, 2000 at age 78 after a traffic accident.