As frequent confidante or comic sidekick, sprightly character actress Jeff Donnell played supporting parts in a range of film and television productions, including such highly regarded pictures as "Sweet Smell of Success" and "In a Lonely Place. " Born Jean Marie Donnell in South Windham, Maine, she self-appointed her nickname from an obsession with the comic strip "Mutt and Jeff." She graduated from the Yale School of Drama and made her first appearance in the 1942 screwball comedy "My Sister Eileen." She landed occasional larger roles in many of her '40s pictures, including several Western musicals, though she stepped up a notch for the 1950 noir "In a Lonely Place" as best friend to the tormented Gloria Grahame. Subsequent films included "Thief of Damascus," as renowned storyteller Scheherazade, and "The Blue Gardenia," a late work by German director Fritz Lang. In the grim and gritty "Sweet Smell of Success," she played the needy secretary of desperate publicist Tony Curtis, and on the other end of the spectrum, she played the mother of the beach-loving heroine in "Gidget Goes Hawaiian." After a number of '50s television appearances, she moved more squarely into guest spots on series in the '60s and beyond, with only a few more film roles, including a part in the drama of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" Throughout the '80s, Donnell played a recurring role on the soap "General Hospital" as a housekeeper until her sudden death from a heart attack in 1988.