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Mary Jane Croft 1916-1999
 


Country : Muncie, Indiana
Profession : Actress
Date of birth : 1916-02-15
Date of death : 1999-08-24
Cause of Death : Natural causes

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Maryjane1-wiki

Mary Jane Croft (February 15, 1916 – August 24, 1999) was an American actress best known for her role as Mary Jane Lewis on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy.

Radio

Born in Muncie, Indiana, Croft worked extensively as an actress in radio, appearing on such programs as The Adventures of Sam Spade, The Beulah Show, The Bill Goodwin Show, Blondie, Broadway Is My Beat, Cathy and Elliott Lewis on Stage, Crime Classics, Four-Star Playhouse, Honest Harold, Joan Davis Time, The Mel Blanc Show, One Man's Family, Our Miss Brooks, Romance, Sears Radio Theater, The Story of Sandra Martin and Twelve Players. She also appeared in frequent guest star roles on Lucille Ball's My Favorite Husband, the beginning of their later professional and personal relationship.

Television

Prior to her work with Lucille Ball, she had been a frequent guest star on other television programs, including Howard Duff's adventure/drama series Dante in the 1960 episode "The Misfortune Cookie". She was a regular on at least two other series, as ebullient neighbor Clara Randolph on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (ABC) and on Our Miss Brooks (CBS), in which she reprised her radio role as Miss Enright, the title character's rival. She provided the voice for Cleo the basset hound in Jackie Cooper's NBC series The People’s Choice (1955-58).

Late in the weekly run of the original I Love Lucy series, the major characters moved to Connecticut. There Lucy Ricardo befriended a new neighbor, Betty Ramsey, portrayed by Croft. She was very socially conscious and tended to get Lucy involved in a different sort of series of adventures than did Vivian Vance (as Ethel Mertz). She had also guest starred as a wealthy schoolmate of Lucy's, Cynthia Harcourt, in "Lucy is Envious," then as Evelyn Bigsby, the airline passenger seated next to Lucy in "Return Home from Europe," the episode in which Lucy disguises a hunk of cheese as a baby.

After Vance left The Lucy Show after the 1964-1965 season, Croft became Lucy's new sidekick, Mary Jane Lewis. Croft had previously had a recurring role as Audrey Simmons during the shows early seasons set in Danfield, New York. Mary Jane Lewis was Croft's legal name at the time, as she was then married to actor-producer Elliott Lewis but continued to use her maiden name professionally. Her only son, by a prior marriage, was killed in the Vietnam War during the period that she was co-starring with Ball.

The Lewis character was maintained when The Lucy Show was transformed into Ball's third sitcom, Here's Lucy. The character remained until the cancellation of Here's Lucy in 1974.

Later years and death

Croft continued to act in television for several years after the end of Here's Lucy, even reuniting with Ball in 1977 in the special, Lucy Calls the President. She died of natural causes in Century City, California.

Filmography

Film

Year

Film

Role

Notes

1943

In Old Oklahoma

Dance-hall girl

Uncredited

1958

Kathy O'

Harriet Burton/Aunt Harriet

Television

Year

Title

Role

Notes

1952

I Married Joan

Helen

Unknown episodes

1953-1955

Our Miss Brooks

Miss Daisy Enright

4 episodes

1954-1957

I Love Lucy

Betty Ramsey

6 episodes

1955

The People's Choice

Cleo the Basset Hound (voice)

all episodes

1956

Dragnet

2 episodes

1956-1966

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet

Clara Randolph

28 episodes

1958

The Court of Last Resort

Mrs. Craig

1 episode

1960

Dante

Alma Jenks

1 episode

1962-1968

The Lucy Show

Mary Jane Lewis

26 episodes

1966

Vacation Playhouse

Helen

1 episode

The Two of Us

Helen

Television movie

1969

The Mothers-in-Law

Carol Yates

1 episode

1970-1973

Here's Lucy

Mary Jane Lewis

4 episodes

1977

Lucy Calls the President

Midge Bowser

Television movie

 

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