Tony Nominee Jane Connell, Broadway Great Known for MAME and More, Passes Away
BroadwayWorld has confirmed the sad news that Tony-nominated stage and screen star Jane Connell has passed away. She was 87.
Best known for her portrayal of 'Agnes Gooch' in Broadway's 1966 production of Mame -- a role she reprised for the 1974 film adaptation alongside Lucille Ball -- Connell spent a lifetime in the spotlight. She was nominated for the 1986 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Me and My Girl.
Connell made her off-Broadway debut in the 1955 revival of Threepenny Opera and went on to star in the West End production of Once Upon a Mattress in 1960.
Among Connell's many roles on the Great White Way were New Faces of 1956, Drat! The Cat!, Dear World with Angela Lansbury, Lysistrata, the 1983 revival of Mame -- also with Lansbury -- Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You, Moon Over Buffalo with Carol Burnett, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Royal Flush and finally The Full Monty, for which she stepped in following original star Kathleen Freeman's death during the run and continued for the 2002 national tour.
She also starred in Encores! production of Call Me Madam in 1995, as well as off-Broadway's 70, Girls, 70, Sail Away, Oh, Boy!, The Golden Apple and Fortuna. Connell crossed the U.S. as 'Miss Hannigan' in the 1st and 2nd National Tours of Annie in 1978.
Connell starred on film in Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, and as mentioned above, in the 1974 adaptation of Mame, as well as Kotch and House Calls. She appeared on the small screen in Bewitched, Green Acres, Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, The Dumplings, Love, M*A*S*H*, American Style, Maude, Good Times and Law & Order.
Connell married actor and musician Gordon Connell, with whom she launched her career working in San Francisco night clubs before moving to New York City. The couple have two daughters, Melissa and Margaret.