Tony nominee Jane Connell, who originated the role of secretary Agnes Gooch in the Broadway musical Mame, passed away on September 22, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 87.
Connell is best known for her role opposite Angela Lansbury in the original 1966 Broadway production of Mame, which she reprised in the 1974 film adaptation (starring Lucille Ball) and the short-lived 1983 Broadway revival. The character memorably sings “Gooch’s Song,” as well as the standard “We Need a Little Christmas.”
Born on October 27, 1925, in Berkeley, CA, Jane Bennett married actor Gordon Connell in 1948 and made her Broadway debut as Mrs. Peachum in a 1955 production of Threepenny Opera. Her five-decade theatrical career included Broadway appearances in New Faces of 1956, Drat! The Cat!, Dear World, Lysistrata, Me and My Girl (best featured actress Tony nomination), Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy For You, Moon Over Buffalo, The Full Monty and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Connell also starred as Princess Winifred in a 1960 West End production of Once Upon a Mattress.
Connell also frequently appeared on television in shows like All in the Family, Green Acres, Bewitched, Good Times, M*A*S*H, Maude (starring her Mama co-star Bea Arthur), Law & Order, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and That Girl.
On film, she appeared in Jack Lemmon’s Kotch (opposite Walter Matthau), Frank Perry’s Ladybug Ladybug and the Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil.
Connell is survived by her husband, now 90, and two children.