- Mary Frann
Mary Frann Born Mary Frances Luecke
February 27, 1943
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died September 23, 1998(aged 55)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Other names Jennifer Douglas
Years active 1964 – 1998 Spouse Thomas J. Escott (1977 – divorced)
Early life and career
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. Frann studied drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and worked as a weather reporter for the NBC station in St. Louis.
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, Frann 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.
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.
On September 23, 1998, Frann died in her sleep at her home in Beverly Hills, California. An autopsy later determined that she died of a heart attack and also suffered from an undiagnosed scarring of the heart muscle tissue. Her remains are interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Film Year Film Role Notes 1966 Nashville Rebel Molly Morgan 1976 Woman In the Rain Alternative title: A Hell Black Night Television Year Title Role Notes 1964 Kraft Suspense Theatre Annette 1 episode 1968 Get Smart Stewardess 1 episode That Girl Pat the Secretary 1 episode 1969 Bonanza Barbara Parker 1 episode Lancer Dorrie 1 episode 1971 The Bill Cosby Show Louise 1 episode 1972 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Joanne 1 episode Hawaii Five-O Jean Holland 1 episode Search Stephanie Burnside 1 episode 1973 Cannon Janice Rogers 1 episode 1973–1974 Return to Peyton Place D. B. Bentley Unknown episodes 1974 Apple's Way Claudine Delacorte 1 episode 1974–1979 Days of our Lives Amanda Howard Unknown episodes 1975–1978 The Rockford Files Valerie Thomas/Maria Heller
2 episodes 1977 The Fantastic Journey Roxanne 1 episode Quincy, M.E. Christine Hopwood 1 episode 1978 Fantasy Island Grace Arnold 1 episode The Incredible Hulk Karen Weiss 1 episode 1981 Nero Wolfe Janet Eaton 1 episode WKRP in Cincinnati Avis Dropkin 2 episodes King's Crossing Nan Hollister 7 episodes 1982–1990 Newhart Joanna Loudon 184 episodes 1987 Eight is Enough: A Family Reunion Abby Bradford Television movie 1988 Dance 'Til Dawn Nancy Johnson Television movie 1990 I'm Dangerous Tonight Martha Television movie Lucky/Chances Clementine Duke Miniseries 1991 The Hitchhiker Veronica 1 episode 1994 Burke's Law Brittany Moore 1 episode 1997 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Alice White 1 episode 1998 Diagnosis: Murder Lucy Caruso 1 episode 2000 Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Bev Conklin 1 episode
- ^ Carter, Bill (1998-09-25). "Mary Frann, 55, Bemused Wife on 'Newhart'". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/25/arts/mary-frann-55-bemused-wife-on-newhart.html. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- ^ "Mary Frann, played Bob Newhart's wife on TV series". southcoasttoday.com. http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/09-98/09-24-98/zzzddobi.htm#XINDEX13. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- ^ IMDb, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction:"The Curse of Hampton Manor" airdate
- ^ Babcock, Tina. "Remembering Mary Frann". bobnewhart.com. Archived from the original on 2006-01-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20060129222333/http://www.bobnewhart.com/lamissionremembers.cfm. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- ^ Errico, Marcus (1998-09-24). ""Newhart" Wife Mary Frann Dies". E! Online. http://www.eonline.com/news/article/index.jsp?uuid=b522f36c-c6b6-42f7-ae2f-9066ede819db&entry=index. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- ^ "Coroner: 'Newhart's Mary Frann died of heart attack". cnn.com. 1998-11-05. http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/News/9811/05/showbuzz/#story2. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
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