Jane Kean, a funny, amiable character actress who lived in the Studio City area most of her life, died over the weekend after a nasty bump on the head when she fell in her home.
Kean was 90 years old, and she fell backwards onto her coffee table and knocked her head at her Toluca Lake home on Nov. 26. She was bleeding when she went to the emergency room, but was sent home when it seemed as if there was nothing serious, according to her longtime friend Clifton W. Dye.
“She seemed like she was in great shape,” according to Dye. “The next day she lapsed into a coma and died four days later.”
Kean got her start in musical theater and then played Trixie (Jackie Gleason’s show, playing the wife of Ed Norton—portrayed by actor Art Carney) in a revival of “The Honeymooners” on TV, and she performed a successful one-woman show about her memoirs at the Colony Theatre last year.
Journalist Diane Haithman, who lives in Studio City, told us that the actress was a regular in Idrea Lippman’s “Attitudes” class at Body Women Only gym. In Haithman’s “A Paw in the Door” column which she wrote with her dog Heidi, she mentioned Lippman’s class and took a photo of Kean (which is in the photo gallery above.)
There was a moment of silence in the class recently.
Lippman noted, “She always did some kind of dance during breaks between exercises, like she was starring in a Broadway show.”
Haithman recalled that Kean always showed up in full makeup, dressed in white, looking like a million bucks.
She always skipped floor exercises because, she would crack: “Then I’d have to get up again!”
Clifton W. Dye took some of the photos in the attached photo gallery, he said, “Idrea Lippman and I lost a good friend today. We will both miss Jane Kean. She was alway open and sweet and never a cross word…. Hmmm OK! maybe one or two. Her eyes always full of life even at 89 and just out of Idrea’s class “Attitude” at the gym. We both will miss Jane at the upcoming Tea parity. Rest in peace Sweet Lady.”
Jane Kean and her older sister, Betty (December 15, 1914 — September 29, 1986), formed a comedy duo that worked the nightclub circuit throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and the two appeared on Broadway as sisters in the short-lived 1955 musical Ankles Aweigh.
She studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Additional theatre credits include Call Me Mister and Carnival!. She had a small part in Take Me Along which starred Jackie Gleason, who would remember her a few years later when casting his weekly hour television program.
Other credits include The Phil Silvers Show, Make Room for Daddy, The Lucy Show, Love, American Style, The Love Boat, The Facts of Life and Dallas. Her feature films include Pete’s Dragon. She also voiced the character Belle in the 1962 television special Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol.
Her memoir is entitled A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Honeymooners . . . I Had a Life.
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