Over the course of her sixty year career in show business, Penny Singleton appeared in 28 motion pictures as the comic strip characters Blondie Bumstead and also served as the voice of Jane Jetson in The Jetsons. She was active in union affairs and was the first female president of the AFL-CIO, leading a strike by the Radio City Rockettes in 1967.
Actress, singer. Born on September 15, 1908, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During her many decades in show business, Penny Singleton played a variety of roles, from seductress to a legendary comic strip character to an animated version of a futuristic mother. She began as a singer using her real name, Dorothy McNulty, and landed roles in Broadway productions several times in the 1920s, including the 1927 musical Good News. She reprised her role as Flo in the 1930 film version, which showcased her singing and dancing abilities.
More film roles followed, usually with Penny Singleton playing a seductive or manipulating female character, such as the lounge singer in After the Thin Man (1936). But the tide turned when she landed the title part in the 1938 film Blondie. Based on the popular comic strip by Murat ??Chic?? Young, the film followed the humorous adventures of Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead (played by Arthur Lake). Singleton dyed her hair blonde for the role of daffy, lovable wife and mother, a part she would play in a total of 28 Blondie films from 1938 to 1950.
After the last Blondie film, Penny Singleton spent most of her time performing in nightclubs and touring in theatrical productions. In 1962, she took on another trademark role??this time on television. Singleton voiced the character of Jane Jetson, an at-home wife and mother, in the animated series The Jetsons. Married to George (George O??Hanlon), Jane looked after their two children??Judy (Janet Waldo) and Elroy (Daws Butler). Jane had help taking of her family from their robot, Rosie (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl, who was also Wilma on The Flintstones). Despite its interesting, imaginative, and humorous take on family life in the future, the show only ran for one season??for a total of 24 episodes??on network television. It was later revived in syndication in 1980s with new episodes added.
Over the years, Penny Singleton reprised her work as Jane for specials and films, including the 1990 animated feature film The Jetsons. She died on November 12, 2003, at the age of 95. She was briefly married to dentist Lawrence Singleton in the 1930s and they had one daughter together. She had a second daughter during her later marriage to Blondie producer Robert Sparks.
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