NEWS

Legendary Actress Jayne Meadows Allen Dies at 95

by Alex Ungerman 11:44 AM PDT, April 27, 2015
Photo: Bill Allen

Jayne Meadows Allen, award winning stage and screen actress, died peacefully of natural causes in her Encino, Calif. home Sunday night at age 95, ET has learned.

Jayne -- who was born in Wuchang, China to missionary parents -- enjoyed more than six decades in the entertainment industry, from Broadway roles like The Gazebo in 1958 to her Emmy-nominated role on CBS' High Society in 1995. Jayne was also a regular panelist on the CBS hit program, I've Got a Secret. During her run on the show, Jayne was the highest rated actress on CBS, second only to Lucille Ball.

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In film, Jayne appeared in many roles, including 1946's Undercurrent alongside Katharine Hepburn. Her one woman show, Powerful Women in History -- which toured the United States for seven years -- earned her the International Platform Association Award. Jayne received the Susan B. Anthony Award for her continued positive portrayals of women in her acting.

Jayne's husband of 46 years, Steve Allen -- the first host of The Tonight Show -- passed away in 2000.

Jayne's son, Bill Allen tells ET that Jayne was immediately charmed by Allen when she met him, even telling her sister Audrey Meadows -- who passed away in 1996 and notably starred as Jackie Gleason's wife on The Honeymooners -- "If that man isn't married he soon will be...and to me."

In an exclusive letter to ET, Bill fondly remembered his mom.

"She was the most loving mother and grandmother I could ever imagine," said Bill. "Seeing only the best in all her family members and giving us all confidence that we had value to offer the world and should take risks because we could do no wrong in her eyes."

"She was not only an extraordinarily gifted actress who could move audiences from laughter to tears and back again all in one scene, but she was the greatest story teller I have ever known and I will miss her endlessly fascinating and frequently hilarious anecdotes about her life and the many brilliantly talented people she worked with and befriended along the way. She will be sorely missed and never forgotten."

Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones.

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