Once named The Most Admired Black Woman in America by Coca-Cola USA, and One of the 20 Greatest Sex Symbols of the 20th Century by Ebony Magazine, Jayne Kennedy Overton is an epitome of beauty and adulation. Her face was once insured for a whopping sum of 1 million USD. That should tell you how pretty she is.
She has been on the covers of prominent magazines like Ebony, Essence, Jet magazines and was the first black woman to be on the cover of the prestigious Playboy Magazine.
Nevertheless, she is not just a pretty face, she is an actress, a model, dancer, beauty pageant winner, sportscaster, television personality, public speaker, corporate spokeswoman, producer, writer, and philanthropist, with a couple of pioneer achievements to her credit. She is considered a living legend as a result of her achievements; paving the way for African American women in America.
Jayne Kennedy Bio, Wiki, Age
She was born Jayne Harrison (now Jayne Kennedy Overton) on the 27th of October, 1951 in Washington, D.C., to parents Virginia and Herbert Harrison.
Jayne Harrison attended Wickliffe High School in Wickliffe, Ohio. As a student of Wickliffe High School, she was elected senator and later sworn into the office of Vice President of the American Legion’s Girls Nation program in Washington, by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.
Jayne Kennedy and Politics
The exposure to politics Jayne Kennedy got while in school inspired her to consider full-time politics in the emulation of one of her role models, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, but this hasn’t quite happened.
She also won the 1970 Miss Ohio Beauty Pageant (the first African American female to achieve this feat) and in the same year, went on to be among the 10 semi-finalists of the Miss USA Beauty Pageant; now this was a noteworthy and commendable achievement because, at that time, it was unheard of for an African American female to be a contestant in the Miss USA Pageant, or go on to be among the 10 semi-finalists.
Jayne is also a member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority.
Jayne Kennedy’s Acting Career
At the age of 20, Jayne moved to California in order to pursue a career in acting, and as an actress, she has earned herself a good number of filmography credits. She started out as a dancer in NBC’s comedy TV series, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in.
In 1973 she starred as Judy in the comedy film, Group Marriage and was also featured in an episode of NBC’s crime drama TV series, Ironside. The next year, she featured in an episode of the TV series titled Banacek as well as the NBC sitcom, Sanford and Son.
Jayne featured as Girl at Factory in the action-comedy Let’s Do it Again and was in The Song and Dance Spy episode of the American science fiction TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. She played the role of Serena in the 1976 film, The Muthers and would go on to appear on NBC’s TV drama series The Rockford Files in the same year.
Jayne Kennedy’s TV Series
J. Kennedy appeared in Wonder Woman’s (1977) TV series, Chips’ (1980 and 1981) TV drama, and ABC’s TV series The Love Boat (1981). Jayne was cast as Julie Winters, alongside her ex-husband, Leon Kennedy, in the 1981 film Body and Soul and won the NAACP Image Award for Best Actress.
She would go on to appear on single episodes of the following TV series: Diff’rent Strokes (1983), Benson (1986), and 227 (1986). Unfortunately, Jayne Kennedy was considered for some roles that never materialized; she was to have her own spin-off series to the Wonder Woman (1975) TV series; was supposed to be one of the Charlie’s Angels (1976); and was also supposed to have her own TV show, a spin-off from the TV movie Cover Girls (1977).
Her most recent appearance on a TV show was as a guest on TV One’s Way Black When in 2011.
Asides from acting, Jayne Kennedy has also hosted critically acclaimed sports shows e.g. The NFL Today, Greatest Sports Legends (the only woman to ever host this show). She once served as spokeswoman for Coca-Cola, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Esoterica, Revlon, Bankers Systems, and Butterick Patterns.
Jayne also produced and starred in the Love your Body fitness videos. Sadly, Jayne Kennedy retired quite early in the ’90s after she was diagnosed with an abdominal disease in the ’80s called Endometriosis, an abdominal disorder where the tissue that normally grows within the uterus grows outside the uterus.
Jayne Kennedy’s net worth has been estimated to be around $2 million, accumulated from mostly her active years in show business.
She is known to be an active member of the charity, Children’s Miracle Network, and is reported to make generous contributions to support this charity.
Jayne Kennedy Husband, kids, and family
Jayne was married to Leon Isaac Kennedy a writer, actor, and DJ she met after high school in 1971. They were considered one of the pioneer black “power couples”.
However, they got divorced in 1982 without any kids and she got remarried to fellow actor Bill Overton in 1985 with whom she had 3 lovely daughters – Savannah Re, Kopper Joi, and Zaire Ollyea. Bill also has a daughter from his previous marriage named Cheyenne. Jayne and Bill have been married for over 30 years and seem really happy together.
Contrary to people’s expectations, Jayne is a really involved mum, she is really close to her daughters and spends time coaching them on soccer.