Janet Blair

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Janet Blair
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{{short description|American singer and actress}}{{about|the big band singer and actress|the singer-songwriter|Janet Blair (singer-songwriter)}}

| birth_place = Altoona, Pennsylvania, U.S.2007194|23}}| death_place = Los Angeles, California, U.S.| occupation = Actress, singer| yearsactive = 1941–1991Lou Busch1950Nick Mayo1971|end=div}}| children = 2}}Janet Blair (born Martha Janet Lafferty; April 23, 1921 – February 19, 2007) was a big-band singer who became a popular American film and television actress.

Early years

Janet Blair was born Martha Janet Lafferty on April 23, 1921, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the daughter of musically oriented parents,NEWS, Road Wasn't Difficult For Janet Blair,weblink Waco Tribune, December 7, 1952, 54,, April 19, 2015, {{Open access}} Mr. and Mrs. Fred B. Lafferty.NEWS, Janet Blair Is Given Surprise Welcome Home,weblink Altoona Tribune, January 7, 1947, 1,, April 19, 2015, {{Open access}} Her father led the choir and sang solos in his church, and her mother played both piano and organ. She had a brother, Fred Jr., and a sister, Louise.NEWS, Coleman, William A., Caesar's third "wife",weblink The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, October 14, 1956, 139,, September 8, 2015, {{Open access}}


Blair began her acting career on film in 1941, being placed under contract to Columbia Pictures. Before that, she was a featured singer in the Hal Kemp Orchestra.NEWS, Ewald, William, Janet Blair Irked at Fabray Comparison,weblink The Times, September 25, 1956, 11,, September 7, 2015, {{Open access}} During World War II, she appeared as the pin-up girl in the March 1944 issue of Yank magazine. She made a string of successful pictures, although she is today best remembered for playing Rosalind Russell's sister in My Sister Eileen (1942)NEWS, Roz Russell, Janet Blair Stars of 'My Sister Eileen' at State,weblink Kingsport Times, January 10, 1943, 8,, September 7, 2015, {{Open access}} and Rita Hayworth's best friend in Tonight and Every Night (1945). In the 1947 film The Fabulous Dorseys, Blair returned to her musical roots, portraying a singer.NEWS, Zylstra, Freida, Janet Blair,weblink 10 September 2015, Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1947, 11, In the late 1940s, Blair had star billing in the crime drama I Love Trouble and the comedy The Fuller Brush Man (both 1948), but was dropped by Columbia and did not return to pictures for several years.She made a rare dramatic appearance in the British horror film Night of the Eagle (1962). She played the wife of Tony Randall in the comedy Boys' Night Out, a motion picture released in the same year, which starred James Garner and Kim Novak.


In 1950, Blair took the lead role of Nellie Forbush in the U.S touring 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 married second husband, producer-director Nick Mayo, and they became parents of Amanda and Andrew.Blair also starred in the Broadway comedy You Never Can Tell in 1953.


Blair was a star musical performer in premier nightclubs and supper clubs such as the Empire Room at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.


In 1955, Blair starred as Venus in a live production of One Touch of Venus on NBC-TV.BOOK, Hischak, Thomas, The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television, 2008, Oxford University Press, 9780195335330, 556,weblink 8 September 2015, Blair appeared on television in various variety-show guest appearances—saying, "I think I appeared on the Milton Berle Show more than any other guest"NEWS, Hopper, Hedda, Adrift in South Pacific,weblink The Salt Lake Tribune, September 3, 1950, 26,, September 7, 2015, {{Open access}}—and hosted, with John Raitt and Edie Adams, the 1958 summer replacement for the Dinah Shore Chevy Show for the vacationing star Dinah Shore.NEWS, Bundy, June, Chevy Show Potential Record Album Seller,weblink 9 September 2015, Billboard, June 30, 1958, 5, {{dead link|date=April 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} She was a cast member during the 1956–1957 TV season on Caesar's Hour, a comedy-variety series starring Sid Caesar.NEWS, Kleiner, Dick, Janet Blair Won't Look Back On Her Year Of Disappointment,weblink Pampa Daily News, July 4, 1957, 13,, September 7, 2015, {{Open access}}She appeared as a guest panelist on the June 9, 1957, episode of What's My Line?.WEB,weblink What's My Line? - Johnnie Ray; Ozzie Nelson [panel]; Janet Blair [panel] (Jun 9, 1957), What's My Line?, 13 January 2014, YouTube, On television in 1971, Blair co-starred with Henry Fonda in The Smith Family,NEWS,weblink Actress Janet Blair, native of Altoona, dies at age 85, February 21, 2007, September 8, 2015, The Daily News, 2,, {{Open access}} a comedy-drama series on ABC featuring Ron Howard as their son. Her last performance on television was in a 1991 episode of Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury.


On radio, Blair co-starred with George Raft in "Broadway," a 1942 episode of Lux Radio Theatre on CBS.NEWS, Drama Heads WHP Bill,weblink Harrisburg Telegraph, November 19, 1942, 20,, April 19, 2015, {{Open access}}


Blair recorded an album of standards entitled Flame Out! for the Dico label,NEWS, Names on Profit Sharing Basis New Label's Aim,weblink 9 September 2015, Billboard, May 25, 1959, 18, {{dead link|date=April 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} which included ballads such as "Don't Explain" and "Then You've Never Been Blue."

Personal life and death

Blair was married twice. Her first marriage was to musical arranger and conductor Louis Ferdinand Busch on July 12, 1943, at Lake Arrowhead, California. The two had met four years earlier when Blair sang for Hal Kemp's band and Busch was Kemp's pianist and arranger.NEWS, 'My Sister Eileen' Wedded to Early Sweetheart,weblink The Salt Lake Tribune, July 13, 1943, 14,, September 8, 2015, {{Open access}} They divorced in March 1950.NEWS,weblink Movie Divorce Crop Is Large, January 2, 1951, The Spokesman-Review, 2, April 22, 2013, Two years later, Blair wed television producer Nick Mayo, with whom she later had two children, Andrew and Amanda. The couple remained together for 19 years, until their divorce in 1971.NEWS,weblink Children Watch As Parents Are Wed, October 19, 1963, Kentucky New Era, 12, April 22, 2013, NEWS,weblink Laudable Ambition, Pearson, Howard, The Deseret News, B8, April 22, 2013, Blair was a Republican and campaigned for Thomas Dewey in the 1944 presidential election.WEB,weblink When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics, Donald T., Critchlow, 21 October 2013, Cambridge University Press, Google Books, On February 19, 2007, Blair died at the age of 85 at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, succumbing to complications from pneumonia.WEB,weblink Stage, Screen and TV Star Janet Blair Dies at 86 Read more about Stage, Screen and TV Star Janet Blair Dies at 86, February 21, 2007,, April 22, 2013, WEB, Simonson, Robert, Janet Blair, Stage, Film and Television Actress, Is Dead at 85,weblink Playbill, 8 September 2015, February 21, 2007, She was cremated.WEB,weblink Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed., Scott, Wilson, 16 September 2016, McFarland, Google Books,


(File:Janet Blair in Tonight and Every Night trailer.jpg|right|thumb|Blair in Tonight and Every Night (1945))


{{Div col|colwidth=30em}} {{div col end}}



  • Flame Out (1959, Dico)



Further reading

  • Oderman, Stuart, Talking to the Piano Player 2. BearManor Media, 2009. {{ISBN|1-59393-320-7}}.

External links

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