Gamine-like Canadian singer-dancer Allyn Ann McLerie built her reputation on Broadway, where she made her debut at 16 in the chorus of One Touch of Venus. She rose to stardom playing soubrette roles in such hits as Leonard Bernstein's On the Town and Irving Berlin's Miss Liberty Four years after her tentative movie debut in the 1948 MGM feature Words and Music Ms. McLerie won a Warner Bros. contract when she repeated her Broadway role of Amy Spettigue in the film version of Frank Loesser's Where's Charley? Rapidly outgrowing the wearisome ingenues assigned her by the studio, Allyn temporarily retired in 1954. Resuming her acting, singing and dancing lessons in the mid-1960s, Allyn slowly reemerged as a versatile character actress, popping up in such small but powerful roles as Red Buttons' psychotic dance partner in They Shoot Horses, Don't They (1969) and the "wrong" White House source in All the President's Men (1976). On TV, she played spinsterish secretary Janet Reubner on The Tony Randall Show (1976-78), while on the 1987 critic's darling Days and Nights of Molly Dodd she portrayed Molly's divorced mother. Allyn Ann McLerie has been married twice, to actor/playwright/lyricist Adolph Green and to Broadway leading man George Gaynes.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Was raised in Brooklyn, New York.
- Made her Broadway debut when she was 16, in Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus.
- Danced with American Ballet Theatre during its European and South American tour from 1950 to 1951.
- Studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.
- First credited role was Amy Spettigue in the 1952 musical comedy Where's Charley?
- Appeared in the hit series Punky Brewster alongside her husband, George Gaynes, playing his character’s love interest.