JANET BLAIR, who appeared in several 1940s musicals and comedies and later turned to TV work, has died. She was 85.
Blair died of complications from pneumonia in Santa Monica, California Monday (19FEB07).
She was discovered singing with HAL KEMP's band at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles in 1941 when she was spotted by a talent scout for Columbia Pictures.
She signed a contract with the studio paying $100 (GBP51) a week and became an actress in B-grade pictures until film star Rosalind Russell recommended her for the title role in the comedy MY SISTER EILEEN.
Blair also appeared opposite George Raft in the gangster movie BROADWAY, and co-starred with Cary Grant in 1944's ONCE UPON A TIME.
She appeared as the love interest in THE FABULOUS DORSEYS and appeared opposite Red Skelton in the 1946 hit THE FULLER BRUSH MAN.
In 1956, she joined comedian Sid Caesar on his television show CAESAR'S HOUR as replacement for co-star NANETTE FABRAY.
She returned to television in 1971 playing the wife in THE SMITH FAMILY.