Tuesday, January 17, 2012

1975: Rest in Peace, Mary Frann

I was saddened this morning to learn that Mary Frann died in September 1998. The Associated Press reported that year that an autopsy concluded Frann, who died in her sleep, suffered a heart attack associated with "an existing but undiagnosed scarring of heart-muscle tissue." She was 55. 

On Jan. 16, 1975, Suzanne Pleshette had been a Hollywood Square, and, on Jan. 18, 1975, she's in another episode of the hit Bob Newhart Show. Pleshette is a bonafide TV star as of today 1975. 

Not Mary Frann. Not yet. 

Things are looking up, however. Mary Frann turns up for a guest spot on the Jan. 17, 1975, episode of Rockford Files, much as the 1961 "America's Junior Miss" has been turning up on shows here and there for much of the last decade. Her TV career is really starting to take off, in fact. Just last year, in 1974, Frann had finally secured her first regular part--as Amanda Howard, on Days of Our Lives. Mary Frann's 15th Nerinx Hall High School reunion is coming up in 1976, and it's beginning to look like there's going to be a lot of fun stuff to talk about when the girls get back together after all those years in Webster Groves, Mo. 

If they only knew. It won't be until 1982 that Mary Frann lands the role for which she will be primarily remembered. Mary Frances Luecke is going to be bonafide Network Star in her own right (even if, after 184 episodes and eight years as Joanna Loudon, she never exactly convinced us that she was Bob Newhart's wife). 

And, then, not many years later, Mary Frann will be gone. What a sad and odd conversation that must've been when the Nerinx Hall Marker alumnae of '61 reconvened for their 50th last year.


  1. This was a very nice tribute. I thought she did a good job in that role -- although, of course, she was no Suzanne Pleshette.

  2. On January 13, 1975, UK rebounded from its loss at Auburn with an 88-82 win at home over Tennessee. The win is even more impressive when you consider that UT shot 30-36 from the line, while UK went 16-21 on free throws.

    However, the Auburn loss drops UK from number 7 to number 10 in the AP poll.