Allyn Ann McLerie
December 1, 1926
Grand-Mère, Quebec, Canada
May 21, 2018
North Bend, Washington, United States
Actress Allyn Ann McLerie parlayed early Broadway success into a lengthy career as a character actor on television. The Quebec native first earned notice on the stage in 1948 when she starred opposite Ray Bolger in Frank Loesser's musical "Where's Charley?" as a 21-year-old. She continued acting on Broadway, but began focusing on screen work throughout the 1950s. She starred again opposite Bolger in the film version of "Where's Charley?" (1952), while adding supporting credits in the musicals "The Desert Song" (1953) and "Calamity Jane" (1953). After marrying actor George Gaynes, McLerie took several prolonged breaks from acting before appearing in Sydney Pollack's dance marathon drama "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" (1969), starring Jane Fonda. That kicked off a string of roles, primarily as a guest performer on television dramas such as "Cannon" (CBS, 1971-76) and "The Waltons" (CBS, 1971-81). Her film credits during this time included appearances in three Robert Redford-led hits, "Jeremiah Johnson" (1972), "The Way We Were" (1974), and "All the President's Men" (1976). (The first two were also directed by Pollack). She then began a run as a series regular on "The Tony Randall Show" (ABC/CBS, 1976-78), playing the straight-laced secretary to Randall's widowed judge. When the show ended, she returned to television guest roles, before appearing in the blockbuster mini series "The Thorn Birds" (1983). She had recurring roles on "WKRP in Cincinnati" (CBS, 1978-82), as the wife of station manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), and on "Punky Brewster" (NBC, 1984-88), which starred Gaynes. She earned critical acclaim as part of the cast of Jay Tarses's landmark dramedy "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC/Lifetime, 1987-91), where she played the hard-to-please mother of Blair Brown's title character. She retired from acting shortly after the series ended. Her last role was an uncredited appearance in her husband's film "Police Academy: Mission to Moscow" (1994). McLerie died from complications related to Alzheimer's Disease on May 21, 2018.