The Hub’s EXCLUSIVE conversation with Jayne Kennedy Overton
by Michael P. Coleman
“For me, it was never about the way that I looked, about wanting to be famous or being a celebrity. If I could have worked without fame and celebrity, that would have been the ultimate.”
I sat down with the Emmy winner as she took a break in preparing her keynote presentation for Sacramento’s 6th Annual Exceptional Women of Color conference, to be held on September 13th. Among the surprises she had for me were her description of what I’d thought would be career highlights — her Miss Ohio crown or her groundbreaking role on NBC’s Laugh-In, for example — as relatively insignificant “blips on the radar”.
She talked about why her performance in Lady Sings The Blues was edited out of the final cut of the landmark film, why she wasn’t allowed to be one of Charlie’s Angels, and how Different Strokes’ Gary Coleman inadvertently cost her a potentially-lucrative poster deal. Kennedy Overton also talked about her battle with endometriosis, and the challenges she faced in trying to make Jayne Kennedy “a household name” in a Hollywood that was a very different town for African Americans than it is today.