The late actress Janet Blair died aged 85 from a common condition

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Born on April 23, 1921, Janet Blair first appeared in the LA limelight as the lead vocalist with Hal Kemp’s band. Marrying the band’s pianist, Lou Busch, her linear singing career took a detour when Kemp died in a car accident and the band split up. Spotted by a Columbia Pictures scout, Janet made her move in the debut film Three Girls About Town (1941).

From there, she made a name for herself in My Sister Eileen (1942), The Black Arrow Strikes, That Mad Mr Jones, and I Love Trouble – all three released in 1948.

In her romantic life, Janet and Lou’s feelings for one another had fizzled out, which ended in divorce in 1950.

Within three years, Janet had secured her second husband, Nick Mayo, and the pair had two children together, Amanda and Andrew.

Her second pairing wasn’t meant to last, however, and so they separated in 1971, by which time Janet starred in the TV series The Smith Family as Betty Smith.

Fast forward to 1991 and Janet starred in her last TV production, Murder, She Wrote.

Sadly, Janet passed away on February 19, 2007, aged 85, but what did she die from?

According to The New York Times, the actress died due to complications of pneumonia.


Pneumonia is usually the result of a pneumococcal infection, caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumonia, the NHS explains.

Viral pneumonia, on the other hand, can be caused by the flu virus, but both cause the tissue in the lungs to become inflamed.

In older adults, pneumonia can lead to serious illness, which may require hospital admission.

The symptoms of the condition can appear suddenly, or gradually over a few days.

Symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • A cough – you may cough up yellow or green mucus (phlegm)
  • Shortness of breath
  • A high temperature
  • Chest pain
  • An aching body
  • Feeling very tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Making wheezing noises when you breathe – babies may also make grunting noises
  • Feeling confused – this is common in older people.

People over the age of 65 are more at risk of complications of pneumonia.

“Call 999” if you’re struggling to breathe or if you have pale, blue or blotchy skin, lips or tongue, the national health service advises.

The emergency services must be contacted if you suddenly “do not know where you are”.

In the meantime, the NHS recommends people who have pneumonia to drink plenty of fluids, and to take ibuprofen to help with pain or a high temperature.

Adults over the age of 65 are eligible for the pneumonia vaccine, which can help to protect against an infection that causes the condition.

Older adults should also get the flu vaccine every year to help minimise their risk of hospitalisation.

“You can ask a GP or pharmacist about both vaccines,” the NHS says.

Janet Blair starred in The Black Arrow, which is showcasing on January 30 at 11am on Film4.

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