Tony Award-nominated Broadway veteran Jane Connell, best known for her performance in the original production of Jerry Herman's classic musical Mame, died September 23 at the age of 87.
Born October 27, 1925, in Berkeley, California, Connell began her career performing in various San Francisco night clubs with her husband, Gordon Connell. After moving to New York City, she made her off-Broadway debut in a 1955 revival of Threepenny Opera at Theatre de Lys and went on to star in the 1960 London production of Once Upon a Mattress. In 1966 she was cast as Agnes Gooch in Jerry Herman's Mame; she later re-created her role in the 1974 screen adaptation, replacing Madeline Kahn, who was originally cast in the film.
Connell earned a Tony Award nomination in 1987 for her featured performance in Me and My Girl and appeared in a number of subsequent Broadway productions including Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You, Moon Over Buffalo, The Full Monty, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Her film credits include Kotch and House Calls in addition to her numerous television credits, including Bewitched; Green Acres; All in the Family; Love, American Style; Maude; Good Times; and Law & Order.
Connell is survived by her husband and their two daughters, Melissa and Margaret.