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Jane Mallett

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B: April 17, 1899 in London, Ontario
D: April 14, 1984 in Toronto, Ontario

Born Jean Dawson Keenleyside, early in her career Jane Mallett adopted the stage name of Jane Aldworth, which was a name that had been in her extended family since the late 1700s. An undergraduate at Victoria College, University of Toronto, and performing as Miss J. D. Keenleyside at Hart House Theatre, she was invited to play the leading female role in Arnold Bennett’s The Great Adventure at Toronto’s Upper Canada College in 1921. Opposite her was Frederick Mallett, an Upper Canada College chemistry teacher. In 1926 she married “Freddie” Mallett. Jane Mallett appeared in several revues in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, most memorably with the New Play Society’s famous annual topical revue, Spring Thaw. She performed in seven Thaws between 1948 and 1955, with a veritable who`s who of Canadian comic talent, one of whom, Don Harron, called her “the funniest home-grown Canadian since Bea Lillie.” Mallett was also a popular radio performer who was referred to as “the girl with a thousand voices” because of her talent for portraying as many as five different characters on the same show. Trivia buffs may want to know that when she appeared in an episode of The New Avengers, which costarred fellow Canadian Linda Thorson, her character’s name was Miss Daly. Daly was also an old family surname. The majority of Mallet’s career was spent on stage and she received the Brenda Donohue Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian theatre, ACTRA’s John Drainie Award for distinguished contribution to broadcasting and, in 1975, the Order of Canada. The achievement that earned her the title “Godmother of Canadian Performers” was her role as co-creator of the Actors’ Fund of Canada, which helps theatre people in financial need. It was to recognize her efforts on behalf of her profession and her fellow performing artists that in 1985, the year after she died of emphysema, the newly renovated Town Hall of the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto was renamed the Jane Mallett Theatre in her honour.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release
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The Yellow Leaf (1956, short)

The Bitter and the Sweet (1967)

All the Way Home (TV-1971)
Sweet Movie (1974)
The Canary (TV-1975)
Love at First Sight (1977)
A Cosmic Christmas (voice, TV-1977, short)

Nothing Personal (1980)
Improper Channels (1981)
Utilities (1983)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
On Camera (1956, 1957)
Folio (1959)
RCMP (1959)

Festival (1960, 1961)
The Wednesday Play (1964)
Seaway (1966)
The Mystery Maker (1967)

King of Kensington (1975)
The New Avengers (1977)

The Littlest Hobo (1980)