98 (passed away Jun. 12th, 2016)
Feb. 4th, 1918
Grandview, Washington, USA
Janet Waldo's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Janet Waldo provided the quintessential voice of the swooning, overly dramatic teenager for a number of generations -- from the 1940s swinging bobbysoxer to the 1960s groovy chick. A bouncy, perennially-youthful brunette, she was born in Yakima, Washington, and began entertaining in church plays as a youth. Urged on by her singer mother, she studied at the University of Washington and performed in plays. She was discovered by none other than Paramount star Bing Crosby, when he and his talent scouts conducted a contest and invited her to try out for it, which she won. Crosby next invited Janet (accompanied by her mother) to California and the rest is history.
Janet met a Paramount talent scout who signed her up for small roles in movies, including the Crosby films Sing You Sinners (1938) and The Star Maker (1939). Unable to completely break out of her bit-part cycle as assorted hat-check girls, receptionists, and telephone operators, she did manage a few co-starring roles in such Tim Holt (I) westerns as The Bandit Trail (1941) and Land of the Open Range (1942) before setting her career sights on radio in 1943. It was Crosby himself who introduced Janet to radio and she fell in love with the medium and its possibilities. As the eternal teen in "Meet Corliss Archer," Janet's voice became a household sound and it was obvious that her vocal talents would become her biggest moneymaker. She also performed on radio's "One Man's Family," "The Gallant Heart," and "Star Playhouse." She played the cigarette girl on both Red Skelton and Art Linkletter's programs, and played teenager Emmy Lou for Ozzie Nelson on both his radio and TV shows. In the early 1950s Janet filmed one classic "I Love Lucy" (1951) episode playing (what else?) a lovesick teen who fell for Ricky Ricardo, even though she was around 30 years old at the time!
In 1948 Janet married writer-director-producer Robert E. Lee (II) of "Inherit the Wind" and "Auntie Mame" fame. She curtailed her career activities sharply for some time in order to raise her two children. She even turned down the opportunity to return to her popular role of Corliss Archer when the radio series was revamped for TV in 1951, and Lugene Sanders from the "Life of Riley" series took on the part instead. After sporadic appearances on stage, Janet established herself as one of the top female voice artists in the early 1960s when she gave vocal life to hip high schooler Judy Jetson in the prime-time Hanna-Barbera cartoon series "The Jetsons" (1962), a role that she would go on to play well past the age of 70. Her vocal range was absolutely limitless as she went on to become a well-oiled Hanna-Barbara staple for over three decades, providing hundreds and hundreds of voices, old and young, to both Saturday morning and feature film cartoons. Some of her better known characters include Granny Sweet, Penelope Pitstop, Superman's Lana Lang, the Addams Family's Morticia Addams, the title role in "Josie and the Pussycats" (1970) and Princess on Sandy Frank (I)'s "Battle of the Planets" (1978). She is a member of the California Artists Radio Theatre (CART) and has performed frequently on the smaller L.A. stages over the years.
The woman with a thousand voices is a legend in her field and an octogenarian now, still as busy and perky as ever doing radio shows (one regularly with Alan Young (I) of "Mister Ed" fame and her co-star on "Batte of the Planets"), commercial voice-overs (Electrosol) and personal appearances. She is also in the process of writing a book.
- As of 2009, she is the last surviving major cast member of _"The Jetsons" (1962)_ (qv).
- Her sister 'Elizabeth Waldo (I)' (qv) is a virtuoso violinist, composer, conductor, songwriter and producer.
- Recorded _Jetsons: The Movie (1990)_ (qv) as the voice of Judy Jetson but was then replaced by 'Tiffany (I)' (qv) by studio executives to attract a younger crowd.
- In one memorable 1952 "I Love Lucy" episode, Janet guest-starred as high-schooler Peggy Dawson who is absolutely ga-ga over the much more mature Ricky Ricardo, while her steady boyfriend Arthur (played hysterically by 'Richard Crenna' (qv)) makes counter moves on Lucy. The joke of it all was that the ever youthful-looking Janet was 34 years old at the time she played Peggy--only a year younger than 'Desi Arnaz' (qv). Crenna was 25. Janet, who played "Katy, the Maid" in the 50th Anniversary Reunion Performance of "Lucy's First Sitcom," first appeared with 'Lucille Ball' (qv) in one of the last episodes of Lucy's radio series "My Favorite Husband." That part led to her guest spot on "I Love Lucy."
- Popular juvenile lead
- Won a special performing award while attending the University of Washington. The award was presented to her by former alumnus 'Bing Crosby' (qv)
- In the spring of 2007 Janet spent several weeks in New York for the Broadway run of her late husband's play, "Inherit the Wind.".
- Her father, a railroad executive, was a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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