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Mary Jane Croft Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (6)

Overview (4)

Born in Muncie, Indiana, USA
Died in Century City, California, USA  (natural causes)
Nickname MJ
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Diminutive, blond character comedienne whose strident voice and nervy manner made her the perfect foil to Lucille Ball's madcap antics on TV, at first, occasionally, on I Love Lucy (1951) (as "Betty Ramsay" and "Evelyn Bigsby"), then on a regular basis on The Lucy Show (1962) and Here's Lucy (1968) (as "Mary Jane Lewis"). Mary Jane started her show business career on the stage with the civic theatre in her hometown, Muncie, Indiana. After briefly acting with the Guild Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio, she joined the local radio station WLW and embarked on a lengthy career as a radio actress. Her marriage to fellow actor Jack Zoller was followed by a move to Los Angeles in 1939.

During the 1940's and 1950's, Mary Jane became one of a company of much in-demand voice actresses (along with performers Lurene Tuttle, Howard Duff and Bea Benaderet, whom she befriended), comedy inevitably being her forte. She acted on "The Mel Blanc Show" (1946), as the love interest "Leila Ransom" on "The Great Gildersleeve" (1950), "Blondie" (1950), "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (1950), the family friend on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952), and the voice of basset hound "Cleo", owned by Jackie Cooper, on The People's Choice (1955) (1955-56). Her best-known pre-Lucille role was as "Daisy Enright", the nemesis of "Our Miss Brooks", which starred Eve Arden and Gale Gordon (both on radio and, subsequently, on TV). Mary Jane re-enacted the part for three seasons in the television series, produced by Desilu.

In 1960, Mary Jane got married for the second time, using her newly married name for her character on The Lucy Show (1962), produced by new hubby Elliott Lewis. By 1965, Mary Jane had replaced Vivian Vance, who retired from the show, as Lucy's neighbor. For most TV audiences, Mary Jane will be fondly remembered as Lucy's cheerful ally and confidante in their various joint endeavors at setting up pompous banker Mr. Mooney (Gale Gordon). Despite other changes in the cast, Mary Jane's role carried over into the next incarnation of the Desilu franchise, Here's Lucy (1968).

After her death in August 1999, Lucie Arnaz eulogized her mother's friend Mary Jane, as being the antithesis of the dizzy blonde she portrayed on screen and as a fun-loving and joyous spirit.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (2)

Elliott Lewis (9 May 1959 - 23 May 1990) (his death)
Jack Zoller (? - ?) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (6)

The name of her The Lucy Show (1962) and Here's Lucy (1968) character Mary Jane Lewis was derived from her own married name -- she was married to Elliott Lewis at the time.
One Son, Eric Zoller, who, sadly, died in the Vietnam War.
Known for often appearing with Lucille Ball in her TV shows and projects.
First appeared with Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy (1951) in 1954 with an appearance as haughty society type Cynthia Harcourt. She appeared a couple years later in a scene sitting next to Lucy on a return plane trip from Europe. On the last season of the popular series in 1957, Mary Jane came aboard up in a regular role as Connecticut neighbor Betty Ramsey.
Husband Elliott Lewis was a producer of "The Lucy Show".
First found work on late 1930s radio drama.

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