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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.

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