Revolutionary comedian Jean Carroll has passed away at her home in White Plains, NY. Carroll died on Jan. 1, just five days short of her 99th birthday, reports the New York Times. She leaves behind a staggering comic legacy– one that paved the way for women in comedy.
Carroll, born Celine Zeigman in 1911, is one of the last performers of the quickly-vanishing generation of comics who got their start in vaudeville. She started her act in the 1920s with future husband Buddy Howe who, after returning from service in World War II, decided the act was far better off without him and took the role of her manager. Carroll went on to revolutionize the role of women in comedy, standing alone on the stage armed only with her cunning observational humor while most women either played straight “man” to male comics, or took on exaggerated caricatures of female personas.
Her radical approach to comedy landed her an album in 1960 titled Girl in a Hot Steam Bath, her own short-lived television program titled The Jean Carroll Show, and countless appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, one of which can be seen here.
With a heavy heart, another chapter in comedy history comes to a close. Our thoughts go out to Carroll’s family as we thank her for her comedy legacy.