Mary Frann Cause of Death: Why Did the Actress Leave So Early?

Mary Frann, the veteran actress best remembered as Bob Newhart’s wife, Joanna Loudon, in the long-running ”Newhart” television series, died at 55. Recently, Mary Frann’s obituary has been searched in a high volume online. People are eager to know the cause of Mary Frann’s death and why she left so early at 55.

Frann died in her sleep on 23rd September 1998 at her home in Beverly Hills, California, United States. According to reports, she died of a heart attack and her longtime boyfriend, Jonathan Cookson discovered her body. In this section, we will have a look at the details of Mary Frann’s cause of death and a few facts about your favorite veteran American actress.

Who was Mary Frann? Her early life and education

Mary Frances Luecke was born on February 27, 1943, in St. Louis, Missouri to Harry Luecke and Adele Katherine Luecke. She had three siblings, two sisters named Patricia and Jacqueline and a brother named Harry Luecke.

Frann studied at the Nerinx Hall High School which was a Roman Catholic girls’ school in Webster Grooves, Missouri. She started modeling during her childhood and appeared in a few local TV commercials. Due to her interest in the field, Frann continued modeling in her teenage years.

At the age of 16 years, she began appearing in musical revues at St. Louis’s ‘Crystal Palace’. Frann won the title of Missouri’s ‘Junior Miss’ at 18. Further, in 1961, she also became ‘America’s Junior Miss’. This title earned her a scholarship to study drama at Northwestern University.

During her college days too, she continued to work. Undoubtedly, Frann was a hard-working person and passionate about her career. She worked as a weather reporter for NBC’s St. Louis station. Also, she got a role in the educational film ”Prom: Its a Pleasure” during that time.

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Later, Mary worked at an ABC-affiliated TV station as a host of a morning show in Chicago. Additionally, she joined Chicago’s local theater productions.

A quick glance at Mary Frann’s Biography

Full name:                                             Mary Frances Luecke

Celebrated name:                                   Mary Frann

Date of birth:                                         February 27, 1943

Zodiac sign:                                           Pisces

Age:                                                      55 years (at the time of death)

Place of birth:                                         St. Louis, Missouri

Father name:                                           Harry Luecke

Mother’s name:                                        Adele Katherine Luecke

Number of siblings:                                   3 (one brother and two sisters)

Nationality:                                              American

Ethnicity:                                                 White

High School:                                             Nerinx Hall High School

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University:                                                Northwestern University

Profession:                                                Modelling, acting

Life-o-meter:                                             Not alive

Date of death:                                            23rd September 1998

Place of death:                                           Beverly Hills, California, United States

Mary Frann cause of death

A brief about Mary Frann’s career

After working in Chicago for some time, Mary relocated to Los Angeles. There she appeared in popular series such as ‘That Girl,’ ‘The Wild Wild West,’ ‘Days of Our Lives,’ ‘The Rockford Files,’ ‘Fantasy Island,’ and ‘Darkroom.’

Furthermore, Mary Frann appeared in the series ‘My Friend Tony,’ but it was short-lived. The actress received recognition for her role as ‘Joanna Loudon’ in the hit series ‘Newhart,’ a CBS sitcom. The series ran for eight seasons and earned nominations for 25 Emmy awards and five Golden Globe awards. Mary’s role received accolades, and after so many years, people still remember her for it.

Also, Mary appeared in a number of TV movies like ‘Portrait of an Escort’ in which she appeared as ‘Sandy.’ Following this, her role in the TV miniseries ‘Lucky Chances’ in 1990 showcased her versatility.

Other than acting, Frann actively participated in charity work. She was a part of the ‘Los Angeles Mission’ and helped rehabilitate women with issues related to drugs, alcohol, and prostitution. Also, she was one of the members who helped form The Celebrity Women’s Action Committee along with some other female TV personalities.

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Mary Frann
Mary Frann

Mary Frann’s Personal Life

The actress married actor and businessman TJ Escott on August 17, 1973. But the couple separated in a few years in 1982 and divorced the following year. They did not have any children.

At the time of her passing away, Frann had been dating Jonathan Cookman Jr. for a long time. The duo was happy together and were about to get married.

Marry Frann cause of death

Frann died in her sleep on September 23, 1998, at her home in Beverly Hills. Her publicist, Jeffery Lane, and companion Jonathan Cookman Jr. found her body. An autopsy revealed that she had suffered from an undiagnosed lipomatosis with fibrosis or scarring of heart muscles. She was interred in the ‘Holy Cross Cemetary’, Culver City, California.

Mary Frann's Obituary
Mary Frann’s Obituary

According to some people, Mary was on a crash diet at the time of death. The excessive dieting accentuated her heart condition and led to her passing away so early. Well, we do not confirm such reports. The medical autopsy revealed the blockage that led to a sudden heart attack and finally death.

Lane said that the actress was not ill and had worked that night as a volunteer at the Los Angeles Mission, where she and other entertainers had formed the Celebrity Action Council to assist homeless women.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How old was Mary Frann when she died?

Ans. Frann was 55 when she passed away.

2. Where is Mary Frann buried?

Ans. She was buried in ”The Holy Cross Cemetary”, in the Culver City of California.

3. Who did Mary Frann play on ”The Days of Our Lives”?

Ans. Mary Frann played Amanda Howard in ”The Days of Our Lives”.

4. Who did Mary Frann marry?

Ans. Mary Frann married TJ Escott on 17th August 1973.

5. Why did Mary Frann die so early?

Ans. Mary Frann died due to an undiagnosed lipomatosis with fibrosis or scarring of heart muscles that led to a heart attack.


It feels saddening to know that a person so enthusiastic and passionate can walk to the heavenly abode without giving any signs. Mary Frann passed away in her sleep in 1998. According to reports, she died of a heart attack. Well, after so many years, she is still remembered and people want to know the cause of her death. This is because of the amazing work that she had showcased in her lifetime. She had passed the legacy well and done some tremendous work while alive, and that is commendable!

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