Mary Jane Croft

Actor
One of the most employed TV sitcom second bananas of the 1950s and 60s, Mary Jane Croft was so busy she co-starred in several series at the same time, but is best recalled for her work alongside Lucille Ball on the last ... Read more »
Born: 02/15/1916 in Muncie, Indiana, USA

Filmography

Actor (6)

Here's Lucy 1968 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lucy Show 1962 - 1968 (TV Show)

Actor

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet 1952 - 1966 (TV Show)

Actor

The Two of Us 1965 - 1966 (TV Show)

Actor

The People's Choice 1955 - 1958 (TV Show)

Voice

I Love Lucy 1951 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

One of the most employed TV sitcom second bananas of the 1950s and 60s, Mary Jane Croft was so busy she co-starred in several series at the same time, but is best recalled for her work alongside Lucille Ball on the last season of "I Love Lucy" as the somewhat snooty Connecticut friend Betty Ramsey. She later replaced Vivian Vance as Lucy's sidekick on "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy". Croft wore her blonde hair in the same manner for 25 years, and the blandness of the style made her adaptable to playing uppercrust matrons or lower rung career gals. In addition to reprising her radio role of Miss Daisy Enright on "Our Miss Brooks" (CBS, 1952-54), she played neighbor to the Nelsons on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" (ABC, 1954-66) and provided the voice of Cleo, the commenting basset hound, on "The People's Choice" (NBC, 1955-58). Other credits included recurring roles on "I Married Joan" (NBC, 1952-55), and "The Life of Riley" (NBC, 1953-58).

But it is her work with Ball that has given her the most longevity for the TV viewer. Although not as memorable as Vivian Vance as Ball's cohort, Croft actually worked with the red-haired comedienne for more years, She also did not perform the outrageous stunts that her predecessor did, instead providing a comfortable confidante in lieu of a comrade-in-arms. After the demise of "Here's Lucy", Croft more or less retired yet was a frequent interviewee on retrospective tributes to Ball and appeared at We Love Lucy Fan Club conventions.

Relationships

Elliott Lewis

Husband
died on May 29, 1990 at age 73

Eric Zoller

Son
killed in combat in Vietnam in January 1967 at age 21

Milestones

1957

Joined cast of "I Love Lucy" playing Connecticut neighbor Betty Ramsey; shows were later repackaged in 1960 and aired under the title "Lucy in Connecticut"

1954

Made first appearance on "I Love Lucy" (CBS)

1952

Reprised radio role of Miss Enright on the CBS comedy "Our Miss Brooks"

1939

Moved to Los Angeles

Played neighbor Clara Randolph on "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" (ABC)

Worked as a radio actor on such programs as "Lux Radio Theatre", "One Man's Family" and "I Love a Mystery"

Reteamed once again with Lucille Ball as sidekick and friend on "Here's Lucy"

Provided voice of Cleo the bassett hound on NBC's "The People's Choice"

Played Mary Jane Lewis, the sidekick and best friend of Lucille Carmichael on "The Lucy Show" (CBS)

Began career as a radio performer in Cincinnati, Ohio

Bonus Trivia

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Croft first appeared on "I Love Lucy" in 1954 playing Cynthia Harcourt, Lucy Ricardo's wealthy friend in the episode in which Lucy and Ethel dress as Martians. Croft guested again in 1956 as Lucy was returning from Europe, playing a mother seated next to Lucy, who was smuggling cheese disguised as a baby.

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She last worked with her "I Love Lucy" and Desilu boss Desi Arnaz in a 1969 episode of "The Mothers-in-Law", which was produced by Arnaz.

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