Mary Frann

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Mary Frann
Maryfrann.jpg
BornMary Frances Luecke
(1943-02-27)February 27, 1943
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
DiedSeptember 23, 1998(1998-09-23) (aged 55)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery
Other namesJennifer Douglas
Mary Fran
Years active1964–1998
Spouse(s)Thomas J. Escott (1977 – divorced)
 
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Mary Frann
Maryfrann.jpg
BornMary Frances Luecke
(1943-02-27)February 27, 1943
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
DiedSeptember 23, 1998(1998-09-23) (aged 55)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery
Other namesJennifer Douglas
Mary Fran
Years active1964–1998
Spouse(s)Thomas J. Escott (1977 – divorced)

Mary Frann (February 27, 1943 – September 23, 1998) was an American actress best known for her role as Bob Newhart's wife, Joanna Loudon, on the television series Newhart.

Early life and career[edit]

Born Mary Frances Luecke in St. Louis, Missouri, Frann was a child model and appeared in commercials for a local television station while she was at Nerinx Hall High School. At the age of 18, she was voted Missouri's "Junior Miss." She went on to win the 1961 national title of America's Junior Miss and earned a college scholarship. In the role of America's Junior Miss, she starred in a Jam Handy educational film (Prom: It's a Pleasure) extolling the etiquette and fun of the high school prom.[1] Frann studied drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and worked as a weather reporter for the NBC station in St. Louis.[2][3]

In 1964, Frann made her television debut in an episode of the Kraft Suspense Theatre. That same year, she appeared in the television movie Nightmare in Chicago with Carroll O'Connor. In 1966, Frann made her film debut in Nashville Rebel with Waylon Jennings and Loretta Lynn. The movie was a commercial failure. Frann would go on to appear in only one more film, 1976's Woman in the Rain, concentrating on television guest spots and roles in television movies.

In 1974, Frann landed the role of Amanda Howard on the soap opera Days of our Lives. She would remain on the show until 1979. While on Days of our Lives, Frann also made guest appearances on Quincy, M.E., The Rockford Files, Fantasy Island, and WKRP in Cincinnati. In 1982, she starred in the short-lived series King's Crossing with Linda Hamilton. Later that year, she landed her most memorable role as Joanna Loudon, the wife of Vermont inn owner Dick Loudon (Bob Newhart), in the popular sitcom Newhart. The series ran from 1982 to 1990, and was nominated for 25 Emmys and five Golden Globes.

During the run of Newhart, Frann continued acting in various projects. In 1985, she co-starred in the TV movie Gidget's Summer Reunion, and in 1988, she appeared in Dance 'til Dawn with Alyssa Milano, Christina Applegate, and Kelsey Grammer. Frann also co-hosted the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants of 1986 and 1987.

Her last acting role came in the series Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. Due to the sporadic airing of the series, the episode she was in, "The Curse of Hampton Manor," aired two years after her death.[4]

Charity work[edit]

Outside of her career, Frann was active as a volunteer fund raiser and was involved with charitable works. She was a member of the Celebrity Action Council, a volunteer group of celebrity women who served the women’s outreach of the Los Angeles Mission, for seven years. The night before her death, she had attended a meeting at the Mission where she championed the cause for women in need.[5]

Death[edit]

On September 23, 1998, Frann died in her sleep at her home in Beverly Hills, California.[6] An autopsy later determined that she died of a heart attack and also suffered from an undiagnosed scarring of the heart muscle tissue.[7] Her remains are interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Selected filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1964Kraft Suspense TheatreAnnetteEpisode: "Once Upon a Savage Night"
1966Nashville RebelMolly Morgan
1968That GirlPat CrawfordEpisode: "Ann vs. Secretary"
Credited as Jennifer Douglas
1969BonanzaBarbara ParkerEpisode: "The Running Man"
Credited as Jennifer Douglas
1971The Bill Cosby ShowLouiseEpisode: "The Miraculous Martin"
1972The Mary Tyler Moore ShowJoanneEpisode: "Some of My Best Friends Are Rhoda"
Credited as Mary Francis
1972Hawaii Five-OJean HollandEpisode: "Chain of Events"
1973CannonJanice RogersEpisode: "Murder for Murder"
1973–1974Return to Peyton PlaceD. B. BentleyUnknown episodes
1974Apple's WayClaudine DelacorteEpisode: "The Circus"
1974–1979Days of our LivesAmanda HowardUnknown episodes
1976Woman in the RainAlternative title: A Hell Black Night
1977The Fantastic JourneyRoxanneEpisode: "Funhouse"
1978The Incredible HulkKaren WeissEpisode: "Stop the Presses"
1978Fantasy IslandGrace ArnoldEpisode: Family Reunion/Voodoo
1978The Rockford FilesRuth Beetson-WhiteEpisode: "A Fast Count"
1981Nero WolfeJanet EatonEpisode: "Wolfe at the Door"
1981WKRP in CincinnatiAvis Dropkin2 episodes
1982–1990NewhartJoanna Loudon184 episodes
1985Gidget's Summer ReunionAnne BedfordTelevision movie
1987Eight Is Enough: A Family ReunionAbby BradfordTelevision movie
1988Dance 'Til DawnNancy JohnsonTelevision movie
1990I'm Dangerous TonightMarthaTelevision movie
1990Fatal CharmSusan
1990Lucky/ChancesClementine DukeMiniseries
1991The HitchhikerVeronicaEpisode: "Secrets"
1994Burke's LawBrittany MooreEpisode: "Who Killed Good Time Charlie?"
1997Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanAlice WhiteEpisode: "Toy Story"
1998Diagnosis: MurderLucy CarusoEpisode: "Talked to Death"
2000Beyond Belief: Fact or FictionBev ConklinEpisode: "The Curse of Hampton Manor"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prom: It's a Pleasure". Jam Handy. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Carter, Bill (1998-09-25). "Mary Frann, 55, Bemused Wife on 'Newhart'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  3. ^ "Mary Frann, played Bob Newhart's wife on TV series". southcoasttoday.com. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  4. ^ IMDb, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction:"The Curse of Hampton Manor" airdate
  5. ^ Babcock, Tina. "Remembering Mary Frann". bobnewhart.com. Archived from the original on 2006-01-29. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  6. ^ Errico, Marcus (1998-09-24). ""Newhart" Wife Mary Frann Dies". E! Online. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  7. ^ "Coroner: 'Newhart's Mary Frann died of heart attack". cnn.com. 1998-11-05. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 

External links[edit]