Jayne Meadows Cotter was born on 27 September 1919, in Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, to American Episcopal missionary parents, the Rev. Francis James Meadows Cotter and Ida Miller Taylor. She was an actress, author and lecturer, best known for her work as a panelist in the CBS television quiz show “I’ve Got a Secret”, as well as for being the wife of the legendary comedian Steve Allen. Jayne passed away in 2015.
So just how rich was Jayne Meadows? Sources state that Meadows had accumulated a net worth of over $10 million, earned through her involvement in the entertainment industry over five decades.
Jayne Meadows Net Worth $10 million
Meadows grew up in China, along with her three siblings, her sister being actress Audrey Meadows. In the early ’30s, her family returned to the USA, settling in Sharon, Connecticut.
She pursued an acting career during her teenage years, making her Broadway debut in “Spring Again” in 1941. After another Broadway appearance, this time in the comedy “Another Love Story” in 1943, she made her film debut in 1946, appearing in the noir thriller “Undercurrent”. Other big screen opportunities followed, and by the end of the decade she had landed parts in films such as “Lady in the Lake”, “The Song of the Thin Man” and “The Luck of the Irish”. All contributed to her net worth.
Although she gathered a decent recognition in the world of film, it was her work on television that earned Meadows her greatest acclaim. In 1952 she became a regular panelist on the CBS panel show “I’ve Got a Secret”, which featured a group of panelists trying to guess the contestant’s secret by asking him or her questions. The show shot her to stardom, enabling her to earn a considerable net worth. She remained on the show until 1959, during which she met comedian Steve Allen, with whom she started a relationship, marrying him in 1954 and forming a strong personal and professional relationship, appearing in a number of diverse projects together.
The ’60s saw the actress landing a part in the CBS medical drama series “Medical Center”, playing Nurse Chambers. The role enabled her to showcase her dramatic talents, reinforcing her popularity and greatly increasing her net worth.
In 1977 she became involved in her husband’s TV series “Meeting of Minds”, remaining part of it until 1981. The show featured guests, played by actors, who had significant roles in world history, thus making a historical twist on the television talk show. It earned Meadows her first Emmy Award nomination, cementing her reputation of a star and greatly expanding her wealth. Aside from acting, she wrote much of the material for the show.
Meadows continued with television work during the ’80s, appearing in series such as “It’s Not Easy” and “Murder She Wrote”, and in TV films including “Miss All-American Beauty” and “Alice in Wonderland”. Along with her husband, she appeared in the medical drama “St. Elsewhere”, which earned her another Emmy nomination. In the late ’80s and through the following decade, the couple made several performances of the play “Love Letters”. Her net worth grew larger.
Her other notable work of the ’90s included a role in the short-lived series “High Society”, but for which she also received an Emmy nomination. She landed several smaller film parts during this time as well, adding consistently to her wealth.
In addition to her work in film and television, Meadows also wrote a play called “The Eternal Bed”, as well as a column for Carte Blanche magazine.
Speaking about her private life, Meadows was married to writer/actor Milton Krims from 1948 to 1954. After marrying Allen in 1954, she had one child with him, and three stepchildren from his first marriage. Following her husband’s death in 2000, she kept out of the public eye. She died of natural causes in 2015, aged 95.