You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Actress Janet Carroll dies at 71

Played the mother in 'Risky Business'

Actress Janet Carroll, who appeared on television and onstage but was perhaps most recognized for her first film role, as Tom Cruise’s oblivious mother in “Risky Business,” died May 22 in New York after a long illness. She was 71.

The role in the highly successful “Risky Business” led to parts in more than 20 other movies over the next three decades, including “Memories of Me,” “Destiny Turns on the Radio,” “Family Business,” “Talent for the Game,” “Enough,” “The Killing Time,” “Forces of Nature” and “My Guaranteed Student Loan.”

Carroll was even busier on television, recurring on series including “Murphy Brown,” “Married With Children” and “Melrose Place” and guesting on dozens of shows, including “Cagney and Lacey,” “Hill Street Blues,” “The Golden Girls,” “L.A. Law,” “7th Heaven,” “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Ally McBeal” and “Judging Amy.” More recently she had guested on “Scrubs,” “Brothers and Sisters” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

Carroll was born in Chicago and began her stage career immediately after high school, appearing in numerous productions at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre as well as in local Chicago theaters. She appeared in “Mame,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Guys and Dolls,” “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game,” “Carousel” and “Gypsy” before moving to California, where she continued her stage work. Other notable productions include “Lady Windemere’s Fan,” with Lynn Redgrave and John Lithgow; “A Couple of White Chicks,” co-starring Cloris Leachman; and Ezra Pound’s “Elektra,” in which she starred as Klytemnestra and received the Los Angeles Drama Logue Critics’ Award. In 2005 she appeared on Broadway with Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern in the original musical “Little Women.”

Survivors include her son George Brown.

A memorial service will be held at Manhattan’s Advent Lutheran Church, located at 93rd and Broadway, at 3 p.m. this Saturday, May 26. Her ashes will be spread in the Edgebrook Lutheran Church Memorial Garden alongside her parents in Chicago in a ceremony to take place at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 10.

More Scene

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content