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Jan Miner

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Other names
Janice Miner

Years active

Jan Miner


Jan Miner Jan Miner Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

October 15, 1917 (
Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Radio, television, film and stage actress

February 15, 2004, Bethel, Connecticut, United States

Richard Merrell (m. 1963–1998)

Lyndsey Miner, Donald Miner, Sheldon Miner

Lenny, Mermaids, Willie & Phil, The Swimmer, Out of Our Father's House

Similar People
Bob Fosse, Richard Benjamin, Paul Mazursky, Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack

Edits : Dialogue #5-2 (2 of 3) ( Jan Miner #1)

Jan Miner (October 15, 1917 – February 15, 2004) was an American actress of film, television, radio and stage, but was best known for her iconic role as the character of Madge the manicurist, in a 27-year series of television commercials as a spokesmodel for Colgate Palmolive dish-washing detergent, from the 1960s until the early 1990s.


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Madge Palmolive Liquid Decorative 1990 Jan Miner

Early life and career

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Jan Miner, the daughter of a dentist and a painter, whose siblings included three brothers, Sheldon, Donald and Lyndsey, studied at the Vesper George School of Art in her native Boston, Massachusetts. She went on to study acting with Lee Strasberg and others before making her stage debut in 1945 in a Boston production of Elmer Rice's Street Scene.

Jan Miner random thoughts for monday february 15th 2010 Inside

Miner then became a well-established actress on radio, and through the 1950s was one of many busy performers working in multiple series simultaneously. Among other roles, she was one of three sequential actresses who voiced secretary Della Street on Perry Mason, one of five to play girlfriend Ann Williams on Casey, Crime Photographer, and Mary Wesley on Boston Blackie.

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Miner played featured roles in the 1948-1950 dramatic anthology series Radio City Playhouse ("Soundless", "Portrait of Lenore," et al.). It was, though, her appearance in the premiere broadcast of the series that "created a minor sensation in the play Long Distance"; the episode proved so popular that she repeated her performance later in the season.

From circa 1948 through sometime before the series ended in 1957, Miner, eventually succeeded by Grace Matthews, starred as Julie Erickson, head of the titular orphanage in the revival of the 1937-1941 soap opera Hilltop House. The series was sponsored by the Colgate-Palmolive Company, for which she would later appear in a famous, long-running series of television commercials.

Broadway career

Jan Miner Jan Miner Radio Star Old Time Radio Downloads

As radio drama faded with the popularity of television, Miner made her New York City theater debut in the 1958 melodrama Obbligato at Theatre Marquee, adapted by Jane Hinton Gates from the novel Une Ombre by Paul Vialar; Miner starred as a spinster in romantic competition with her younger sister, played by Carol Vandermeir. Her Broadway debut came two years later, in the very short-lived (April 6–7, 1960) advertising-world comedy Viva Madison Avenue!, by George Panetta, at the Longacre Theatre.

Television icon

Jan Miner Radio Spirits Blog Archive Happy Birthday Jan Miner

Miner appeared on television in, among other shows, Boston Blackie and Casey, Crime Photographer, in roles she originated on radio. But she became an icon to TV viewers as Madge, the wisecracking manicurist in commercials for Palmolive dish-washing detergent. In an advertising campaign created by the agency Ted Bates Advertising, Miner played Madge, who worked at the Salon East Beauty Parlor and soaked her customer's fingernails in Palmolive ("Palmolive softens hands while you do the dishes"). The campaign ran from 1966 to 1992.

Miner's Palmolive commercials would appear in France (where Madge was "Françoise"), Germany, Switzerland, and Austria (in all three as "Tilly"), Finland (as "Marissa"), Denmark, and Italy. (In Australia and New Zealand], her counterpart Madge was played by Robina Beard.) Her trademark line became one of the more famous and parodied television commercial quotes:

Jan Miner Pictures of Jan Miner Pictures Of Celebrities

Miner was a regular on the 1974 CBS situation comedy Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers in which she played the mother of the character portrayed by Paul Sand.

Theater and film career

Following her 1960 debut, Miner appeared on Broadway in The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1963) and Butterflies Are Free (1972) (in each as an understudy); the 1973 revival of The Women; the 1976 revival of The Heiress with Jane Alexander; the 1980 revival of Watch on the Rhine, by Lillian Hellman; the 1983-1984 Circle in the Square Theatre revival of Heartbreak House, with Rex Harrison, Philip Bosco, Rosemary Harris, Amy Irving, Dana Ivey, and Stephen McHattie; and the Franco Zeffirelli productions of Terrence McNally's adaptation of The Lady of the Camellias (1963) and Eduardo De Filippo's Saturday Sunday Monday (1974). Her Shakespearean roles on Broadway included Emilia in the American National Theatre and Academy production of Othello (1970), starring Moses Gunn; and as Juliet's nurse in director Theodore Mann's Circle in the Square production of Romeo and Juliet (1977). Other theater work included Major Barbara.

In 1986, Miner appeared at the Off Broadway Lucille Lortel Theatre as Gertrude Stein in the play Gertrude Stein and a Companion, by Win Wells, with Marian Seldes as Alice B. Toklas. Miner and Seldes reprised the roles in a June 1987 television version for the cable network Bravo. Miner also appeared for six seasons in repertory roles at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut.

Miner played Lenny Bruce's mother, Sally, in the Bob Fosse film Lenny (1974) alongside Dustin Hoffman (Lenny Bruce) and Valerie Perrine (Honey Bruce). She also appeared in The Swimmer (1968), Willie & Phil (1980), Endless Love (1981), and as the Mother Superior in Mermaids (1990). Her latter-day work in television included an episode of Law & Order.

Personal life

Miner was married to actor and writer Richard Merrell (1925-1998) for 35 years until his death from heart failure at age 73, on September 13, 1998. The two often appeared together onstage, including in The Gin Game at the Missouri Repertory Theater, prior to its renaming as the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2004, as well as in Night Must Fall, High Spirits, and what Miner called their favorite play together, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, New York.

A resident of Southbury, Connecticut in her later years, she died at the Bethel Health Care Facility in Bethel, Connecticut, after having been in failing health for several years.


Remember WENN (TV Series) as
Aunt Agatha
- Scott Sherwood of the F.B.I. (1997) - Aunt Agatha
Law & Order (TV Series) as
Edna Hodge
- Golden Years (1994) - Edna Hodge
Mermaids as
Mother Superior
ABC Afterschool Specials (TV Series) as
Mrs. Abbott
- Stood Up! (1990) - Mrs. Abbott
Gertrude Stein and a Companion! (TV Movie) as
Gertrude Stein
Great Performances (TV Series) as
Nurse Guinness
- Heartbreak House (1985) - Nurse Guinness
- Out of Our Father's House (1978)
Paper Dolls (TV Series) as
Booker #2
- Episode #1.1 (1984) - Booker #2
Cagney & Lacey (TV Series) as
Stella Wall
- Hopes and Dreams (1983) - Stella Wall
Endless Love as
Mrs. Switzer
Willie & Phil as
Mrs. Kaufman
F.D.R.: The Last Year (TV Movie) as
One Day at a Time (TV Series) as
Rose Stegemuller
- The New Owner (1978) - Rose Stegemuller
Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers (TV Series) as
Marge Dreyfuss
- Just the Ticket (1974) - Marge Dreyfuss
- All's Well That Ends (1974) - Marge Dreyfuss
- Smart Move (1974) - Marge Dreyfuss
- Ben and Marge Are Back (1974) - Marge Dreyfuss
Lenny as
Sally Marr
Rx for the Defense (TV Movie)
The Jackie Gleason Show (TV Series) as
Stella the Makeup Lady
- The Honeymooners: The Honeymoon Is Over (1969) - Stella the Makeup Lady
The Swimmer as
Lillian Hunsacker
N.Y.P.D. (TV Series) as
Mrs. Matthews
- To Catch a Hero (1967) - Mrs. Matthews
The Doctors and the Nurses (TV Series) as
Mrs. Harmon / Lee Stevens
- The Patient Nurse (1965) - Lee Stevens
- The Unwanted (1963) - Mrs. Harmon
- Ordeal (1963) - Mrs. Harmon
The Defenders (TV Series) as
Mrs. Berger / Mrs. Thomas
- Comeback (1964) - Mrs. Berger
- The Weeping Baboon (1963) - Mrs. Thomas
Naked City (TV Series) as
Superintendent / Rosie Wilkin / Lia Wallace / ...
- Kill Me While I'm Young So I Can Die Happy! (1962) - Superintendent
- Sweet Prince of Delancey Street (1961) - Rosie Wilkin
- A Death of Princes (1960) - Lia Wallace
- Turn of Events (1959) - Elsie Knauf
- Stakeout (1958) - Wilma Rogan
Ten Girls Ago (TV Movie) as
Aunt Minnie
The Wonderful World of Little Julius (TV Special) as
Miss Butler
Deadline (TV Series) as
Mrs. Landley / Alma
- Suspicion of Murder (1959) - Mrs. Landley
- Clean Kill (1959) - Alma
One Step Beyond (TV Series) as
Grace Harkness
- The Inheritance (1959) - Grace Harkness
True Story (TV Series) as
Martha Sims / Kate / Ada
- The Man in 1-B (1958) - Martha Sims
- The Cats (1958)
- Girl in Hotel (1957) - Kate
- Tea Is for Terror (1957) - Ada
- The Return of Julia Lawson (1957)
Robert Montgomery Presents (TV Series) as
Melinda Phillips / Linda Reed / Enid Garroway / ...
- The Weather Lover (1957)
- The Liar (1957)
- After All These Years (1956)
- Mr. Parker's Rhubarb (1956)
- The Company Wife (1956) - Melinda Phillips
- Maybe Tomorrow (1956)
- Southern Exposure (1956)
- Catch a Falling Star (1956) - Linda Reed
- Day of Grace (1956)
- A Matter of Conscience (1956)
- Dream No More (1956) - Enid Garroway
- Storm Over Swan Lake (1956)
- End of Morning (1956) - Irene
- See the Man (1955)
- Paper Town (1955) - Jennie Ward
- Coming of Age (1955) - Janet Ballard
- The People You Meet (1954) - Julia
- A Matter of Luck (1954)
- Personal Story (1954)
- Invitation to Murder (1954) - Lesley
- About Sara Caine (1954)
- Home Town (1954)
- It Happened in Paris (1954)
- Story on Eleventh Street (1954)
- The Expert (1954)
- In His Hands (1954)
- The Closed Door (1952)
- The Big Sleep (1950) - Vivian
Studio One (TV Series) as
- Julie (1955) - Mother
X Minus One (Podcast Series)
- Hello, Tomorrow (1955) - (voice)
The Man Behind the Badge (TV Series)
- The Case of the Reluctant Flop Artist (1954)
Lux Video Theatre (TV Series) as
Spry Commercials
- Hold Back the Dawn (1954) - Spry Commercials
Schlitz Playhouse (TV Series)
- Allen of Harper (1953)
Mr. District Attorney (TV Series)
- The Case of the Dangerous Clown (1951)
Cameo Theatre (TV Series)
- Strange Identity (1951)
Crime Photographer (TV Series) as
Ann Williams
- Retirement of Willie (1951) - Ann Williams
Dimension X (Podcast Series) as
- To the Future (1950) - Susan (voice)
Lights Out (TV Series) as
Mrs. Leon Jackson
- Long Distance (1949) - Mrs. Leon Jackson
Used Innocence (Documentary) as
Laurie Bembenek
The Mike Douglas Show (TV Series) as
Self - Actress
- Episode #17.128 (1978) - Self - Actress
- Episode #16.139 (1977) - Self - Actress
Satanis: The Devil's Mass (Documentary) as
Cult member (uncredited)
The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar (TV Series) as
- Episode #4.131 (1961) - Self
Caesar's Hour (TV Series) as
- Tonight! America After Dark (1957) - Self
Lux Video Theatre (TV Series) as
Self - Spry Commercials
- Welcome Stranger (1954) - Self - Spry Commercials
- To Each His Own (1954) - Self - Spry Commercials
Archive Footage
The ComicWeb: Old Time Radio Programs (Podcast Series) as
- That Hammer Guy: The Saddle Shoes (2015) - Vera


Jan Miner Wikipedia

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