Jane Frazee, a glamorous actress whose starring roles in numerous 1940s films earned her the title “The Queen of B Musicals,” died of pneumonia Friday at the Flagship Health Care Center in Newport Beach.
The actress, who was 67, had been seriously ill since she suffered the first of a series of strokes in 1983.
Born Mary Jane Frehse in 1918 in St. Paul, she and her sister, Ruth, sang and danced as the Frazee Sisters in nightclubs and presentation theaters around the country until 1940, when her sister’s marriage to writer-producer Norman Krasna broke up the act. Soon after that, she appeared in her first feature film, “Moonlight and Melody.”
In 1941, she starred opposite Abbott and Costello in the comedy duo’s first starring feature, “Buck Privates.” That same year, while filming “Hellzapoppin” with comics Olsen and Johnson, she met the first of her four husbands, actor-producer Glenn Tryon. The marriage lasted six years and produced her only child.
Frazee starred and sang the hit title song in “Rosie the Riveter,” a 1944 film about the war effort at home, and, later in her career, co-starred in several Westerns with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
She made 42 films in all, mostly for Universal and Republic studios. In 1970, Frazee moved to Newport Beach, where she sold real estate until illness disabled her.
She is survived by her sister and her only son, Timothy Glenn Tryon.