Mary Jane Croft (February 15, 1916 - August 24, 1999) was an American actress best known for her role as Mary Jane Lewis on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy.
On I Love Lucy Edit
Late in the weekly run of the original I Love Lucy series, the major characters moved to Connecticut. There Lucy Ricardo befriended a new neighbor, Betty Ramsey, who was portrayed by Croft. She was very socially-conscious and tended to get Lucy involved in a different sort of series of adventures than did Vivian Vance (as Ethel Mertz). Prior she guest starred as a weathly schoolmate of Lucy's, Cynthia Harcourt, in "Lucy is Envious," then as Evelyn Bigsby, the airline passenger seated next to Lucy in "Return Home from Europe," the episode in which Lucy disguises a hunk of cheese as a baby.
After Vance left The Lucy Show after the 1964-65 season, Croft became Lucy's new sidekick, Mary Jane Lewis. Croft had previously had a recurring role as Audrey Simmons during the show's early seasons based in Danfield, New York. In fact, "Mary Jane Lewis" was Croft's legal name at the time, as she was then married to actor/producer Elliott Lewis but continued to use her maiden name professionally. (Her only son, by a prior marriage, was killed in the Vietnam War during the period that she was co-starring with Ball.) The Lewis character was maintained when The Lucy Show was transformed into Ball's third sitcom, Here's Lucy. The character remained until the cancellation of Here's Lucy in 1974.
Croft continued to act in television for several years after the end of Here's Lucy, even reuniting with Ball in 1977 in the special, Lucy Calls the President. She died of natural causes in Century City, California.
Lived in Muncie, Indiana. Attended Ball State University. Performed at Muncie Civic Theatre.