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Opposites Attract, Succeed for Decades

Entertainment: The careers of Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows a study in endurance, versatility.

May 07, 1997|KARIMA A. HAYNES

What makes a Hollywood legend? Talent? Good looks? A tough-as-nails agent?

For Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, endurance seems to be the essential ingredient that has fueled their marriage and careers for more than four decades.

What is so amazing about their personal and professional partnership is that they are opposites in many regards. She's the daughter of Episcopal missionaries. He's the son of alcoholics. She's a Republican. He's a Democrat. She's a trained actress. He's a comedian.

But what the longtime Encino residents--he is a former honorary mayor of Encino--have in common is their love for the performing arts and, of course, for one another.

Those two loves coincided during a performance of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters," a play that chronicles a couple's 50-year relationship through their letters. Meadows played the acerbic, yet vulnerable, New England heiress to Allen's prim-and-proper Ivy League gentleman.

Allen is primarily known as the founder and original host of "The Tonight Show," which is taped at NBC-TV studios in Burbank.

An author of 43 books and a composer of about 6,000 songs, including "This Could Be the Start of Something Big," Allen often works on projects in his office on Burbank Boulevard in Van Nuys.

Meadows, an Emmy winner and a four-time nominee, is also a successful Broadway and film actress as well as a sought-after lecturer.

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