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Jayne Meadows is an American actress best known for her television work on I’ve Got a Secret (1952-'59). She is the wife of comedian Steve Allen.
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For three years, she appeared as Nurse Chambers on Medical Center with James Daly and Chad Everett. But it was her work in the 1970s on the series created by her husband, Meeting of Minds, that led to her first Emmy Award nomination. Presented on public television, the show was a historical twist on the television talk show. Steve Allen played host to a variety of legendary people, including Plato,
Thomas Jefferson and Marie Antoinette. Meadows often played the female characters, including Cleopatra and Florence Nightingale, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for one of her appearances in 1978. Truly a team, she co-wrote much of her material for the show with Allen. Later, Meadows added other writing credits to her extensive creative resumé. She wrote a play entitled The Eternal Bed, which was produced in Los Angeles, and authored a column for Carte Blanche magazine for several years.
Continuing her career as an actress, Meadows tried her hand at series television with the comedy It’s Not Easy in 1983, playing Ken Howard’s mother. While the series failed to take off, she continued to delight audiences with numerous guest appearances on such shows as Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote and more. She and Allen appeared as the parents of Ed Begley, Jr., on the medical drama St. Elsewhere. This guest spot garnered her another Emmy Award nomination in 1987.
Meadows and Allen made quite a team and often appeared together in concert and on stage. In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, they did several performances of A. R. Gurney’s two-person play, Love Letters. Meadows also toured with a one-woman show, Powerful Women in History, revisiting some of the characters she played on Meeting of Minds. On television, she scored her most recent Emmy Award nomination for her turn as Mary McConnell’s outlandish mother on the short-lived comedy High Society in 1996.
In 2000, Meadows suffered a tremendous loss when Steve Allen died from complications related to a car accident. Since then, she has kept out of the public eye. Meadows has one son, William “Bill” Allen.
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