When redheaded band vocalist Martha Jean Lafferty was casting about for a professional name, she chose Janet Blair, claiming that she named herself after her county of birth, Blair County, Pennsylvania. Janet was signed to a Columbia Pictures contract in 1941, appearing in such programmers as Blondie Goes to College (1941) before graduating to the "dish" title role in My Sister Eileen (1942). Her last assignments at Columbia were nondescript leading-lady stints in Red Skelton's The Fuller Brush Man (1948) and the swashbuckling The Black Arrow (1948). She left Hollywood for Broadway in 1950, then toured for many years in the road company of South Pacific, eventually playing the leading role of Nellie Forbush more often than any other actress. She returned to moviemaking in 1957; the best of her later film roles was the suspected sorceress in the British Burn, Witch, Burn (1962). Janet Blair's TV activities included several musical specials of the 1950s and 1960s, one of them based on the exploits of globetrotting journalist Nellie Bly; she also played Sid Caesar's wife in many of the comedian's TV appearances of the 1956-57 season, co-hosted 1959's The Chevy Show with singer John Raitt, and portrayed the wife of detective Henry Fonda on the 1971 "drammedy" The Smith Family.