Friday, February 19, 2010

Deathday: Janet Blair 1921-2007 RIP

Janet Blair (April 23, 1921 – February 19, 2007) was an American film and television actress.
Born as Martha Jane Lafferty (she took her acting surname from Blair County, Pennsylvania) in Altoona, Pennsylvania, she began her acting career on film in 1942, being placed under contract to Columbia Pictures. During World War II, she made a string of successful pictures, although she is today best remembered for playing Rosalind Russell's sister in My Sister Eileen (1942) and Rita Hayworth's best friend in Tonight and Every Night (1945). In the late 1940s, she was dropped by Columbia and did not return to pictures for several years.

Instead, she took the lead role of Nellie Forbush in a production of the stage musical South Pacific, making more than 1,200 performances in three years. "[I] never missed a performance," she noted proudly. During the tour, she also got married to second husband, producer-director Nick Mayo, and they became parents of Amanda and Andrew.

She appeared on television on various variety shows and was also a summer replacement for Dinah Shore. She recorded an album entitled Flame Out for the Dico label. It was a collection of ballads like "Don't Explain" and "Then You've Never Been Blue."

She made a rare dramatic appearance in the 1962 British horror film Night of the Eagle. Her last performance was on television in a 1991 episode of Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury.

She died of complications from pneumonia, aged 85, at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.


Louis Ferdinand Busch (divorced)
Nick Mayo (widowed; two children - Andrew and Amanda)



Three Girls About Town (1941)
Blondie Goes to College (1942)
Two Yanks in Trinidad (1942)
Broadway (1942)
My Sister Eileen (1942)
Something to Shout About (1943)
Once Upon a Time (1944)
Tonight and Every Night (1945)
Tars and Spars (1946)
Gallant Journey (1946)
The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)
I Love Trouble (1948)
The Fuller Brush Man (1948)
The Black Arrow (1948)
Public Pigeon No. One (1957)
Night of the Eagle (1962)
Boys' Night Out (1962)
The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1979)


The Ford Theatre Hour (1948)
The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre (1949)
The Philco Television Playhouse (1949)
Armstrong Circle Theatre (1954)
The Elgin Hour (1954)
The United States Steel Hour (1954)
A Connecticut Yankee (1955, TV)
Goodyear Television Playhouse (1955)
Lux Video Theatre (1955)
Climax! (1955)
Front Row Center (1955)
One Touch of Venus (1955, TV)
Ford Television Theatre (1956)
Screen Directors Playhouse (1956)
Caesar's Hour (1956-1957)
Alcoa Theatre (1958)
Around the World with Nellie Bly (1960 TV movie)
The Chevy Mystery Show (1960)
Shirley Temple's Storybook (1960)
The Chevy Show (1960-1961)
The Outer Limits (1963)
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1964)
Destry (1964)
Burke's Law (1963-1964)
Ben Casey (1966)
Marcus Welby, M.D. (1970-1973)
The Smith Family (1971)
Switch (1977)
Fantasy Island (1980)
The Love Boat (1982)
Murder, She Wrote (1991)


Flame Out Dico. Released in 1959 to coincide with the film Burn Witch Burn. Accompanied by Lou Busch, it is a collection of late night ballads.

Further reading

Oderman, Stuart, Talking to the Piano Player 2. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN #1-59393-320-7.

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