Jane Trahey

Born - Nov 19, 1923   |   Died - Apr 27, 2000   |   Genres - Children's/Family, Comedy

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Jane Trahey is only known to filmgoers for a single work, the book Life With Mother Superior, which was filmed in 1966 at Columbia Pictures as The Trouble With Angels. Strangely enough, Trahey's influence on popular culture goes far deeper than that lone literary/cinematic association would lead one to believe. In her professional life, Trahey's major accomplishment was in the area of advertising, where, for 30 years, she was one of the most successful women in the field. Born in Chicago, IL, in 1923, Trahey was raised a Catholic and attended Catholic schools, graduating from Providence Academy and Mundelein College. Much of the content of Life With Mother Superior was based on actual experiences that she had as a good-natured but rebellious student at the school. She also attended the University of Wisconsin and earned a master's degree from Columbia University. Trahey began working as a receptionist at a Chicago department store and later became a copywriter. She moved to Dallas and went to work for Neiman Marcus, and in 1956 became the director of advertising at the Kayser-Roth agency. In 1960, she started her own advertising agency and went on to became the first woman to earn a million dollars in the advertising business; with such clients as Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Olivetti, and Elizabeth Arden, she was at the top of her field for decades, and was especially known in the industry for her use of humor in advertising. Life With Mother Superior, her autobiographical novel about life in a Catholic boarding school, was published in 1962 and immediately became popular. In 1966, the book was turned into a feature film directed by Ida Lupino and starring Hayley Mills as Jane (Trahey's fictionalized alter ego) and Rosalind Russell as the Mother Superior, entitled The Trouble With Angels (which also became the more familiar title of the novel). The film was so successful that it yielded a sequel, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows, utilizing several characters from the earlier movie and the novel. Trahey wrote some 16 books, none remotely as well known as her 1962 novel, and several plays as well. She was one of the most honored women in her professional field. Trahey died of cancer in 2000 at age 76.