South Windham, Maine USA
Place of Death
Hollywood, CA, USA
Cause of Death
Brown - Dark
Brown - Dark
Full Name at Birth
Jean Marie Donnell
Has Detailed Data (New)
Jeff Donnell (July 10, 1921 – April 11, 1988) was an American film and television actress. Born Jean Marie Donnell, she grew up in South Windham, Maine. As a child, she adopted the nickname "Jeff" after the character in her favorite comic strip, Mutt and Jeff. To avoid gender confusion, she was sometimes billed as "(Miss) Jeff Donnell."
Wiki Bio Text
==Jeff Donnell== Actress | Soundtrack - ===Date of Birth=== 10 July 1921, South Windham, Maine, USA
===Date of Death=== 11 April 1988, Hollywood, California, USA (heart attack)
===Birth Name=== Jean Marie Donnell
===Mini Bio (1)=== A reliable featured player and occasional co-star, actress Jeff Donnell was born Jean Marie Donnell in a boy's reformatory in South Windham, Maine in 1921. The younger of two daughters, her father (Howard) was a penologist and mother (Mildred) a schoolteacher. Raised in Maryland, she took piano and dance lessons while growing up. It was during her upbringing that she fixated on the popular "Mutt and Jeff" cartoon strip and gave herself the nickname "Jeff".
===Studying at one time=== at the Yale School of Drama and performing briefly in summer stock, Jeff met her first husband, Bill Anderson, a drama teacher from her old Boston alma mater Leland Powers Drama School, and quickly married him at the young age of 19. Together they started the Farragut Playhouse in Rye, New Hampshire. Almost immediately she was noticed in a play there by a Columbia Studios talent scout and was signed.
===Whisked to Los Angeles===, Jeff made her first appearance in the war-era movie My Sister Eileen (1942) while husband Bill was hired on as a dialogue director. Hardly the chic, glamour girl type, Jeff possessed a perky, unpretentious, tomboyish quality that worked comfortably in unchallenging "B" escapism -- usually the breezy girlfriend or spirited bobbysoxer. Typical of her movie load at the time were the fun but innocuous Doughboys in Ireland (1943), What's Buzzin', Cousin? (1943), Nine Girls (1944), A Thousand and One Nights (1945), Carolina Blues (1944) and Eadie Was a Lady (1945). She also enlivened a number of musical westerns that prominently featured Ken Curtis (Festus of "Gunsmoke").
===On a rare occasion===, Jeff found herself in "A" pictures, most notably the Bogart film noir classic In a Lonely Place (1950), but more often than not she played the obliging or supportive friend of the leading lady. Unable to break away from her established "B" ranking, she later tried a move to RKO Studios (1949) but fared no better or worse. She did make a successful move to TV in the early 50s and was seen in a number of comedy and dramatic parts.
===Long separated=== from and finally divorcing her first husband in 1953 (they had one son, Michael, and an adopted daughter, Sarah Jane), she married actor Aldo Ray, who was an up-and-rising film star at the time, in 1954 but the marriage crumbled within two years, beset by drinking problems. She also suffered a miscarriage during that marriage. Jeff went on to marry and divorce two more times. As the 1950s rolled on she earned steady work on TV bringing to life comedian George Gobel's often-mentioned wife Alice on the sitcom The George Gobel Show (1954) for four seasons. She also had the opportunity to play Gidget's mom in a couple of the popular lightweight movies of the early 1960s -- Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) and Gidget Goes to Rome (1963).
===Most daytime fans=== will remember Jeff's long-running stint on the soap drama General Hospital (1963) as Stella Fields, the Quartermain housekeeper, which started in 1979 and lasted until her death in 1988. Dogged by ill health in later years (including a serious bout with Addison's disease), Jeff died peacefully of a heart attack in her sleep at age 66.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / firstname.lastname@example.org
Radcliffe Bealey (28 February 1974 - 1975) (divorced)
John Bricker (1 September 1958 - 10 March 1964) (divorced)
Aldo Ray (30 September 1954 - 16 October 1956) (divorced)
Bill Anderson (25 December 1940 - 1952) (divorced) (2 children)
Had a key role in the critically lauded film Sweet Smell of Success (1957) as Tony Curtis' secretary, but her role was cut extensively, including a big romantic scene with Curtis that might have reignited her movie career.
Had two children by her (much older) first husband Bill Anderson: Michael Phineas (nicknamed Mickey Finn), born in 1942, and Sarah Jane (Sally), born 1947.
Lived in Towson, MD during her youth and was a 1938 graduate of the Towson Senior High School.
She was a staunch Republican who gave much of her time and money towards various conservative political causes. She attended several Republican National Conventions, galas, and fund-raisers, and she was active in the campaigns of Thomas E. Dewey, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.
Upon her death, she was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea in the Pacific Ocean.
Her favorite movie was Gone with the Wind (1939).
Personal Quotes (1)
I wasn't the pretty type and I certainly wasn't glamorous, so, I always felt fortunate to be acting. My first concern was for my family, so I never developed a driving ambition. I consider myself a very lucky person.
==Jeff Donnell== Actress - Featured player and occasional co-star Jeff Donnell was born [[Jean Marie Donnell]] in a boy`s reformatory in South Windham, Maine in 1921, her father a penologist and mother a schoolteacher. It was during her upbringing at the all-male reformatory that she gave herself the nickname "Jeff." She met her first husband, a drama teacher from her Boston alma mater, Leland Powers Drama School, and married him at the age of 19. Together they started the Farragut Playhouse in Rye, New Hampshire, and almost immediately she was noticed in a play there by a Columbia Studios talent scout and signed. Whisked to Los Angeles, she appeared in her first war-era movie, My Sister Eileen (1942) and her husband was hired as a dialogue director. Hardly the chic, glamour girl type, Jeff possessed a perky, unpretentious charm and demeanor that fit comfortably as an occasional light love interest or sidekick in mostly unchallenging "B" escapism. Typical of her movie load were the innocuous What`s Buzzin, Cousin? (1943), A Thousand and One Nights (1944), Carolina Blues (1944) and Eadie Was a Lady (1945). She also enlivened a number of musical westerns that featured Ken ("Gunsmoke") Curtis. In the few "A" films she appeared in, more than not she was the obliging or supportive friend of the leading lady. Jeff later moved to RKO Studios but fared no better and found herself in progressively inferior material. She made a successful move to TV in the early 50s and was seen in a number of comedy and dramatic parts.
===Divorcing her first husband in 1952===, she married actor Aldo Ray, who was a up-and-rising film star at the time, in 1954 but the marriage crumbled within two years, beset by drinking problems. Jeff would marry and divorce two more times. As the 50s rolled on she earned steady work on TV bringing to life comedian George Gobel`s often-mentioned wife Alice on the sitcom "The George Gobel Show" for four seasons. She also got to play Gidget`s mom in a couple of lightweight movies. Most fans, however, will remember Jeff`s long-running stint on "General Hospital as Stella Fields, a Quartermain housekeeper, which started in 1979 and lasted until her death in 1988. Dogged by ill health in later years, Jeff died peacefully of a heart attack in her sleep at age 66.
==Miss Jeff Donnell==, as she was often billed, was signed by Columbia Pictures almost immediately after her graduation from Yale Drama School. Though likeable and talented enough for leading roles, the toothy, frizzy-haired Ms. Donnell was most often seen as the heroine's best friend or as kooky comedy relief. Columbia certainly kept her busy during her ten-year stay at that studio, casting her in such "A" pictures as My Sister Eileen (1942) and In a Lonely Place (1952) and "B"s like The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942) and Thief of Damascus (1952); she is particularly amusing in the latter film as Scheherezade, garrulously insisting upon telling her Arabian Nights stories to a villainous caliph whether he likes it or not. From 1954 through 1956, Jeff was married to another longtime Columbia contractee, Aldo Ray. On television, Jeff spent four years on The George Gobel Show as Gobel's wife, "Spooky Old Alice." Jeff Donnell's last regular TV work was the recurring role of Sheila Fields on the daytime soap opera General Hospital.
Biography by Hal Erickson
Towson High School
LeLand Powers School of Drama
Profile Bio Text
Actress (129 credits)
Soundtrack (1 credit)
Self (9 credits)
Archive footage (1 credit)
In 1961, she co-starred an unsold pilot for a comedy/adventure series called "The Daring Deeds of Johnny Dru". The plot revolved around daydreams of a Walter Mitty-like protagonist who, in this case, was a child.
In 1969, she co-starred in an unsold sitcom pilot for CBS called "The Minnie Pearl Show".
Couple Profile Source
Actress (129 credits) Soundtrack (1 credit) Self (9 credits) Archive footage (1 credit)
Couple Profile Source
Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea
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