Born as Jane Sperry Bennett in Berkeley, California on October 27, 1925, Connell appeared in 13 Broadway shows by the end of her life. She began her career with her husband, Gordon, entertaining in San Francisco night clubs in the early 1950’s, such as the The Purple Onion and The Hungry I. Eventually the couple moved to New York City, where the couple began booking work in musical theater.
Best known for originating the role of Agnes Gooch in 1966 opposite Angela Lansbury in Mame; she would reprise the role in the 1974 film version, opposite Lucille Ball. She made her New York stage debut in 1955’s off-Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, and went on to appear in 12 Broadway shows including Drat! The Cat!, Dear World, Me and My Girl (TONY Nom.), Moon Over Buffalo, Crazy for You, and The Full Monty. She also appeared in the Encores! production of Call Me Madam in 1995, as well as off-Broadway’s 70, Girls, 70, Sail Away, Oh, Boy!, and The Golden Apple. Connell was known by national audiences playing ‘Miss Hannigan’ in the 1st and 2nd National Tours of Annie starting in 1978, as well as numerous regional productions across the country. television credits included Bewitched, Green Acres, Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, Good Times, and Law and Order.
Connell passed away just this last September, leaving behind her husband Gordon, and their two daughters. Jane was one of the few actress to have appeared in over a dozen Broadway shows, and remains one of the classiest ladies ever to appear on The Great White Way, she is greatly missed.
Click below to view a photo tribute to Broadway veteran, Jane Connell :