Jayne Meadows, actress and panelist on game shows, dies at 95

Top 10 Actors Who Died Too Soon

Jayne Meadows, the actress and widow of comedian Steve Allen who is perhaps best known for her work as a celebrity panelist on such TV game shows as I've Got a Secret, has died. She was 95.

Meadows died of natural causes in her longtime Encino home on Sunday night, her son, Bill Allen, told Entertainment Tonight.

Allen, the first host of NBC's Tonight Show (from 1954-57), died in 2000 of a heart attack at age 78. Her late sister was Audrey Meadows, who played Alice, the wisecracking wife of Jackie Gleason's character, on The Honeymooners.

Meadows was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for her work on the series Meeting of Minds, St. Elsewhere and High Society.

Her film résumé includes Undercurrent (1946) opposite Katharine Hepburn, Lady in the Lake (1947) with Robert Montgomery and Song of the Thin Man (1947), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Meadows also appeared on the games shows To Tell the Truth, The Match Game, What's My Line? and The Hollywood Squares.

"I've Got a Secret was my favorite," she said in a 2005 interview with the Archive of American Television. "The next day after the show I would go to the grocery store and the cab drivers would say: 'Jaynie, great show last night! How's Steve O?' It was the medium that came to every living room. Didn't matter if it was the Rockefellers or the guy who was struggling to pay the bills in the Bronx, I wasn't Miss Meadows from the movies, I was Jaynie."

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Jayne Meadows, actress and panelist on game shows, dies at 95

Phil Everly, 74, Singer                                                     (Jan. 19, 1939 - Jan. 3, 2014)

'There's never been logic to music being forgotten, for if a song is good, it should be good all the time.'

Half of the legendary Everly Brothers, Phil and his brother Don were record-setting vocalists lauded for their harmonies that blended rock 'n' roll with folk and bluegrass sounds. The brothers have been called 'the most important duo in rock' by Rolling Stone and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Phil's death at the age of 74 was attributed to complications from chronic lung disease brought on by a lifetime of smoking.

Photo Credit: PA 

Russell Johnson, 89, Actor                                          (Nov. 10, 1924 - Jan. 16, 2014)

'Old actors never die, they don't even fade away. They're always available.'

Russell Johnson was a television and film actor best known for his role as The Professor on the 1960's sitcom 'Gilligan's Island.' The last surviving male cast member of the show, Johnson died at the age of 89 from kidney failure.

Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Dave Madden, 82, Actor
(Dec. 17, 1931 - Jan. 16, 2014)

'I try not to look back on my career.'

Dave Madden was an actor who became known for his role on 'The Partridge Family,' in which he portrayed the group's manager, Reuben Kincaid. Later he had a recurring role on the sitcom 'Alice.' Madden died at the age of 82 of complications from myelodysplastic syndrome.

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

Richard Bull, 89, Actor
(June 26, 1924 - Feb. 3, 2014)

'Almost all of them in this case are from out of town, ... It isn't illegal for people to come out here, but they do need to abide by the law.'

Richard Bull was an American film, stage and television actor, best known for his roles of Doc on 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' and Nels Oleson on 'Little House on the Prairie.' Throughout his career he made nearly 100 film and TV appearances. Bull died at the age of 89 of pneumonia.

Photo Credit: NBC/Getty Images

Ralph Waite, 85, Actor                                               
(June 22, 1928 - Feb. 13, 2014)

'The beauty of life is in people who feel some obligation to enhance life. Without that, we're only half alive.'

Ralph Waites was a veteran character actor who was most well known for his role as John Walton, Sr. on 'The Waltons.' He also appeared on numerous TV series in guest roles -- most recently in a recurring role on 'NCIS.' Waites died at the age of 85 from unspecified causes, but a longtime friend ascribed his death to a 'tired heart.'

Photo Credit: CBS/Getty Images

Harold Ramis, 69, Director                                          
(Nov. 21, 1944 - Feb. 24, 2014)

'My characters aren't losers. They're rebels. They win by their refusal to play by everyone else's rules.'

Specializing in comedy, Harold Ramis was an American actor, director and writers. His best known acting roles were in 'Ghostbusters' and 'Stripes' -- both of which he also co-wrote. As a writer-director, his films include comedy classics, such as 'Caddyshack,' 'National Lampoon's Vacation' and 'Groundhog Day,' which won him the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay. Ramis died of complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a disease he contracted in 2010 from an infection and suffered a relapse of in 2011. He was 69.

Photo Credit: Paul Natkin, WireImage/Getty Images

James Rebhorn, 65, Actor   
(Sept. 1, 1948 - March 21, 2014)

'The way I look at the world, if you can't find a way to get something good out of the experience, then you have lived an unhappy life.'

Known for portraying lawyers, doctors, politicians, military men and criminals, James Rebhorn was an actor who appeared in over 100 films, TV series and plays. One of his best known roles was playing Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki in 'Independence Day.' At the time of his death, he had recurring roles in the series 'White Collar' and 'Homeland.' He died at the age of 65 at his home of melanoma.

Photo Credit: Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Kate O’Mara, 74, Actress                                            
(Aug. 10, 1939 - March 30, 2014)

'I have very long, wild hair, a suntan and wear knee high boots and ignore all the rules about what you should or shouldn't wear at whatever age.'

Kate O'Mara was an English film, television and stage actress. She was best known for her role in the American prime time soap opera 'Dynasty,' in which she portrayed Caress Morell, the sister of Joan Collins' Alexis Colby. O'Mara died at the age of 74 following a short illness.

Photo Credit: Les Lee, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Peaches Geldof, 25, Socialite                                   
(March 13, 1989 - April 7, 2014)

'I hate ridiculous names; my weird name has haunted me all my life.'

An English model and television presenter, Peaches Geldof was the daughter of musician and Live Aid founder Bob Geldof and TV presenter Paula Yates. She placed number seven on Tatler's Top Ten Fashion Icons List in 2006 and was voted 53rd sexiest woman in the world British men's magazine FHM in 2007. Geldof was found dead from a heroin overdose at the age of 25.

Photo Credit: Anthony Harvey. Getty Images

Bob Hoskins, 71, Actor                                                
(Oct. 26, 1942 - April 29, 2014)

'I'm very romantic. I've emptied flower shops.'

Lauded for playing Cockneys and gangsters, Bob Hoskins was best known for playing lead roles in 'The Long Good Friday,' 'Mona Lisa,' 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit,' 'Mermaids' and 'Super Mario Bros.' He also had many notable supporting performance and won numerous awards, including the prestigious Prix d'interprétation masculine, the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Hoskins died from pneumonia at the age of 71.

Photo Credit: Elisabetta Villa, Getty Images

Ann B. Davis, 88, Actress                                             
(May 5, 1926 - June 1, 2014)

'I think I'm lovable. That's the gift God gave me. I don't do anything to be lovable. I have no control.'

Ann B. Davis was an American actress best known for playing the housekeeper Alice on the sitcom 'The Brady Brunch.' She won two Primetime Emmy Awards for her role on 'The Bob Cummings Show,' and in 1960 (nine years before 'The Brady Bunch' would air), received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Davis died at the age of 88 after falling and sustaining a subdural hematoma.

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

Ruby Dee, 91, Actress                                                 
(Oct. 27, 1922 - June 11, 2014)

'The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within -- strength, courage, dignity.'

An American actress, poet, screenwriter and activist, Ruby Dee was best known for starring in the films 'A Raisin in the Sun,' 'Do the Right Thing' and 'American Gangster.' In addition to numerous acting awards (Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, National Medal of Arts, to name a few), Dee was a personal friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X and received multiple medals and honors for her work as a civil rights activist. She died at the age of 91 from natural causes.

Photo Credit: Charley Gallay, Getty Images

Horace Silver, 85, Musician                                        
(Sept. 2, 1928 - June 18, 2014)

'Jazz is not background music. You must concentrate upon it in order to get the most of it. You must absorb most of it.'

Horace Silver was an American jazz pianist and composer known for catchy and harmonically strong compositions. Silver's 1955 album 'Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers' was regarded as a 'milestone in the development of hard bop' and featured his first hit 'The Preacher.' He received the President's Merit Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2007. Silver died of natural causes at the age of 85.

Photo Credit: Gilles Petard, Getty Images

Eli Wallach, 98, Actor                                                    
(Dec. 7, 1915 - June 24, 2014)

'Having the critics praise you is like having the hangman say you've got a pretty neck.'

Eli Wallach was an American stage, film and television actor whose career spanned over six decades with over 90 film credits. His most notable roles were Calvera in 'The Magnificent Seven,' Guido in 'The Misfits' and Tuco in 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.' Receiving BAFTA Awards, Tony Awards and Emmy Awards for his work, Turner Classic Movies called him 'one of the greatest character actors ever to appear on stage and screen.' Wallach died of natural causes at the age of 98.

Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images

Bob Hastings, 89, Actor                                              
(April 18, 1925 - June 30, 2014)

'Nobody is taking a vigilante force onto my streets.'

Best known for his role of Lt. Elroy Carpenter on 'McHale's Navy,' Bob Hastings was an American character actor who made appearances on classic sitcoms such as 'Green Acres,' Dennis the Menace' and 'The Munsters.' He was also a prolific voice actor, doing voice-over work for animation and commercials (most notably, he was the voice of Commissioner Jim Gordon in 'Batman: The Animated Series' and its spinoffs). Hastings died from prostate cancer at the age of 89.

Photo Credit: ABC, Getty Images

Tommy Ramone, 65, Musician                                     
(Jan. 29, 1949 - July 11, 2014)

'One the reasons that the Ramones were so unique and original was that they were four original, unique people.'

Tommy Ramone was the last surviving original member of the trailblazing punk rock band the Ramones. He was initially supposed to be the band's manager, but he soon took over as drummer so that Joey Ramone could focus on vocals. Tommy was the main writer on many of the bands early hits but left to focus on studio work in 1978. He died at the age of 65 following unsuccessful treatment for bile duct cancer.

Photo Credit: Gus Stewart, Getty Images

Charlie Haden, 76, Musician                                       
(Aug. 6, 1937 - July 11, 2014)

'I have music inside me and I'm very lucky to be able to play music and that's the way that I try to do it.'

Known for his warm tone and lyrical playing, Charlie Haden was an American jazz double bass player whose musical career crossed seven decades. He got his start as a member of the Ornette Coleman Quartet, subsequently aiding in the development of 'free jazz.' His large ensemble was the the politically-charged Liberation Music Orchestra, which he led with pianist Carla Bley. In 2009, a Swiss film entitled 'Rambling Boy' was released about his life. Haden died at the age of 76 after several years of struggling with the degenerative effects of post-polio syndrome.

Photo Credit: Rafa Rivas, AFP/Getty Images

James Garner, 86, Actor                                            
(April 7, 1928 - July 19, 2014)

'I saw my wife at a pool, flipped over her, and 14 days later we were married.'

James Garner was an American actor and comedian, who was well known for starring in several television series over more than 5 decades. He played Bret Maverick in the '50's western comedy series 'Maverick' and starred in the 'Rockford Files' as Jim Rockford. He also appeared in over 50 films, including 'The Great Escape,' 'Murphy's Romance,' 'Space Cowboys,' and 'The Notebook.' He received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Garner died of acute myocardial infarction at the age of 86.

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Richard Attenborough, 90, Actor                                
(Aug. 29, 1923 - Aug. 24, 2014)

'At my age the only problem is with remembering names. When I call everyone darling, it has damn all to do with passionately adoring them, but I know I'm safe calling them that. Although, of course, I adore them too.'

An acclaimed English actor, director and film producer, Richard Attenborough served as president of both the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). He won multiple awards, including two Oscars, as the director and producer of 1983's 'Gandhi.' As an actor, he was best known for roles in 'The Great Escape,' 'Miracle on 34th Street' and 'Jurassic Park.' He was knighted in 1976. Attenborough died at the age of 90 after years of failing health. 

Photo Credit: Chelsea FC

Polly Bergen, 84, Actress                                            
(July 14, 1930 - Sept. 20, 2014)

'I was fanatically ambitious. All I ever wanted was to be a star.'

Most notably appearing in the original 'Cape Fear' opposite Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen was an actress, singer, TV host and writer. She won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of singer Helen Morgan in an episode of the television series 'Playhouse 90.' In the '50s, she became known as 'The Pepsi Cola Girl' after doing a series of commercials for the brand. She was nominated for a Tony for her role in the 2001 Broadway revival of 'Follies' and made appearances on numerous TV shows, including 'The Sopranos' and 'Desperate Housewives.' Bergen died of natural causes at the age of 84.

Photo Credit: Herb Ball, NBC/Getty Images

Rob Bironas, 36, Football Player                                 
(Jan. 29, 1978 - Sept. 20, 2014)

'It was awkward. I didn't get the full ball; I got under it just a bit.'

Rob Bironas was a kicker in the NFL who spent time on the Packers, Buccaneers and Steelers before signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Tennessee Titans, where he played until March 2014. He set the NFL's record for most field goals in one game (8) and was selected to the NFL's All-Pro Team and the Pro Bowl. Bironas died at the age of 36 after losing control of his SUV in a car crash.

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt, Getty Images

Marian Seldes, 86, Actress                                          
(Aug. 23, 1928 - Oct. 6, 2014)

'I know I'm funny, because I'm eccentric, I'm odd. I'm not what you expect.'

Marian Seldes was a stage, film and television actress whose illustrious career spanned seven decades. She was a faculty member of The Juilliard School and taught Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer, Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tonys in 2010 and was mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the 'most durable actress' after appearing in all 1,809 performances of the play 'Deathtrap.' Seldes died at the age of 86 following a long illness.

Photo Credit: Donald Bowers, Getty Images

Elizabeth Peña, 55, Actress                                         
(Sept. 23, 1959 – Oct. 14, 2014)

'I figured, if I failed, I'd tried something that I hadn't tried before and if one movie was going to destroy my career than I didn't have much of a career to start with.'

Best known for her role as Ritchie Valens' sister-in-law in 'La Bamba,' Elizabeth Peña was an American actress and a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. She had memorable roles in 'Lone Star,' 'Jacob's Ladder,' 'Down and Out in Beverly Hills' and 'Rush Hour.' She also provided the voice of Mirage in Pixar's 'The Incredibles' and had recently guest starred on 'Modern Family.' Peña died from cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 55.

Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Oscar de la Renta, 82, Fashion Designer                     
(July 22, 1932 - Oct. 20, 2014)

'I always say: To be well dressed you must be well naked.'

One of the world's most legendary fashion designers, Oscar de la Renta was an award-winning couturier known for dressing celebrities, socialites and first ladies. His name became linked to red carpets and celebrity events with Amy Adams, Sarah Jessica Parker and Penélope Cruz among the many stars to have worn his dresses. Upon hearing of his death, former first lady Laura Bush remarked, 'We will always remember him as the man who made women look and feel beautiful.' De la Renta died of complications from cancer at the age of 82.

Photo Credit: Pierre Guillad, AFP/Getty Images

Marcia Strassman, 66, Actress                                    
(April 28, 1948 - Oct. 24, 2014)

'I did not particularly enjoy Kotter. I spent much of the four years being frustrated. I didn't have much to do on the show. I was just there when Kotter came home at the end of the day.'

Marcia Strassman was an American actress best known as Julie Kotter on the ABC series 'Welcome Back, Kotter' and for her recurring role of nurse Margie Cutler in 'M*A*S*H.' She guest starred in numerous television shows and acted opposite Rick Moranis as his wife in the films 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' and 'Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.' Strassman died of breast cancer at the age of 66.

Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Orlando Thomas, 42, Football Player                          
(Oct. 21, 1972 - Nov. 9, 2014)

'I would like to think I played every play like it was my last play and that my teammates enjoyed playing with me.'

Orlando Thomas was a defensive back in the NFL who played his entire career with the Minnesota Vikings. He was a second round draft pick in 1995, and as a rookie, he led the league with nine interceptions. Thomas died at the age of 42, following a 10-year battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Photo Credit: Scott Halleran, Getty Images

Henry Lee Jackson (Big Bank Hank), 58, Rapper         
(Jan. 11, 1956 – Nov. 11, 2014)

'They say that miracles never cease, I’ve created a devastating masterpiece.'

Known by his stage name Big Bank Hank, Henry Lee Jackson was an old school rapper and member of the pioneering rap trio The Sugarhill Gang. The group was the first hip hop act to have a crossover single with their hit 'Rapper's Delight' in 1979, effectively bringing hip hop to most of America. Jackson died from kidney complications due to cancer at the age of 58.

Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

Carol Ann Susi, 62, Actress                                          (Feb. 2, 1952 – Nov. 11, 2014)

'It just hit me that they wanted someone who was screaming at him all the time, so that’s what I did.'

Carol Ann Susi was an American actress best known for providing the voice of Howard Wolowitz's unseen, controlling mother on 'The Big Bang Theory.' She had extensive theater experience, voiced video game characters and appeared in other television series and films, including 'Coyote Ugly,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'That '70s Show' and 'Seinfeld.' Susi died of cancer at the age of 62.

Photo Credit: AP Photo

Diem Brown, 34, TV Personality                                 
(June 12, 1980 - Nov. 14, 2014)

'It’s my personal perspective that you live as hard and as vigorously as you can.'

Diem Brown was a recurring cast member on MTV's reality TV series 'The Challenge' and an entertainment reporter. She debuted on 'Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat' in 2006 and went on to compete in six additional challenges. She blogged for People.com and hosted the MTV.com special 'Surviving Cancer.' After a nine year battle with ovarian cancer, Brown died at the age of 34.

Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images

Bobby Keys, 70, Musician                                            
(Dec. 18, 1943 - Dec. 2, 2014)

'Some of us were drinking Dr. Pepper; some of us were drinking Dr. Pepper with a little something extra in it. That was great fun.'

Bobby Keys was an American saxophone player who played on hundreds of recordings and was a touring musician from 1956 until his death. He performed with other musicians in the '70's as a member of several horn sections, and he appeared on albums by The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, Eric Clapton and George Harrison, among others. Keyes died from cirrhosis at the age of 70.

Photo Credit: Estate of Keith Morrison, Getty Images

Ken Weatherwax, 59, Actor                                       
(Sept. 29, 1955 - Dec. 7, 2014)

'Frankly, I didn't deal with it very well. I was kicked out of about six or seven schools and ended up in the service at the age of 17.'

Ken Weatherwax was an American child actor best known for portraying Pugsley Addams on the original television series 'The Addams Family' and in the television movie 'Halloween with the New Addams Family.' He died of a heart attack at the age of 59.

Photo Credit: ABC, Getty Images


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