Janet Carroll (December 24, 1940 – May 22, 2012) appears on Married with Children as Gary, owner of Gary's Shoes and boss of Al and Griff. Janet was a veteran character stage and TV actress and singer.[1]

Janey's career spanned more than four decades and included major roles in Broadway musicals and Hollywood productions, but was perhaps most recognized for her portrayal of the oblivious mother of Joel (Tom Cruise) in the 1983 film Risky Business.[2]

Life and careerEdit

Born and raised in Chicago, Janet received formal theatrical training and began acting professionally in the late 1960s there, appearing in numerous productions in local theaters. She then became a regular at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, where she acted during five seasons.[1]

Vocally, she began classical training at age 12 with Dr. Greta Allum in Chicago. Over the years she continued building and expanding her voice and repertoire in formal study with Douglas Susu-Mago. With a fluent 3½ octave vocal range she was able to sing everything from opera to jazz and Broadway style to gospel music and Dixieland genre.[3]

Notably, Carroll sang as a first soprano with the esteemed Canterbury Choral Society in New York City featuring sacred choral masterpieces of J. S. Bach, Antonín Dvořák and Gustav Mahler at Carnegie Hall and other venues across NYC.[3][4]

Carroll then performed at Broadway, assuming significant roles in musicals as Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy:A Musical Fable, Hello, Dolly!, Mame, South Pacific and The Pajama Game, before moving to California, where she continued her stage work, winning a Drama-Logue Award for her performance as Klytemnestra in Ezra Pound’s Elektra.[5]

Besides Risky Business, Carroll appeared in more than 20 other films over the next three decades, including Secret Admirer (1985), The Killing Time (1987), Memories of Me (1988), Family Business (1989), Talent for the Game (1991), Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995), Forces of Nature (1999), The Omega Code and Enough (2002), among others.[6] She developed her television career with recurring roles on the series Hill Street Blues (1983, 1986 as Peggy LaRue Nelson), The Bronx Zoo (1987 as Carol Danzig), Murphy Brown (1990–96, as Doris Dial, stoic anchorman Charles Kimbrough's wife), Melrose Place (1993–97, as Marion Shaw, Kimberly's mother), and Still Standing (2002–04, as Helen Michaels, Judy and Linda's mother).

In addition to her acting career, starting 1982, Janet performed as a singer at Jazz Festivals throughout the United States and Canada, being accompanied by her seven piece format, while interpreting traditional jazz, swing, blues, and classic ballads or the Great American Songbook.

After twelve years of formal training Janet Carroll was ordained and licensed at the West Los Angeles' Church of Inner Light. An active participant in social issues, Carroll was a longstanding member of the Screen Actor's Guild and American Federation of Radio Artists and Actors Equity Association. On the other hand she served as the Artistic Director of The Jazz Series at Simi Valley's Cultural Arts Center, which features some of the greatest names and legends in the jazz scene, as well as the most promising young artists from the community. She was a V.P. on the Executive Board Of Directors of The Society of Singers, and founder and co-chair of The Victory Ball in Westport, Connecticut, annually benefiting the ALS Foundation (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease).

In 1992, Carroll collaborated as a singer on the album This Joint Is Jumpin' Live! – Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band, a curious recording project led by Dixieland trombonist and actor Conrad Janis.[7] She later released her solo albums Presenting... Janet Carroll and the Hollywood Jazz Cats (1992),[8] I Can't Give You Anything But Love (2000),[8][9] I'll Be Seeing You (2000)[8][10] and Lady Be Good (2010).[11]

By 2011, Janet was preparing the production of her fourth and fifth records titled A Tribute to the Great Ladies of Song! and Scorch Your Shorts Torch Songs!. She was diagnosed with brain cancer later that year, and took a leave of absence. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy without success.


Carroll died from brain cancer at her home on Manhattan, aged 71. She was survived by her son and his family.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Internet Broadway Database profile for Janet Carroll. .
  2. IMDb profile of Risky Business (1983)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Feinstein's at Loews Regency – Janet Carroll biography.
  4. Canterbury Choral Society official website
  5. – Actress Janet Carroll dies at 71.
  6. IMDb profile for Janet Carroll.
  7. – This Joint Is Jumpin Live! info
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Janet Carroll official website.
  9. – I Can't Give You Anything But Love review
  10. – I'll Be Seeing You review
  11. – Lady Be Good review

External linksEdit

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