Jan Miner Played Colgate-Palmolive Ad Character

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CHICAGO ( -- The advertising industry lost one of its most beloved brand characters Feb. 16 when Jan Miner, who made Madge the Manicurist a household
Jan Miner became famous in her role in Palmolive dishwashing liquid ads.
name for Palmolive dishwashing soap, died at the age of 86.

She was a resident of Southbury, Conn., and had been in failing health for several years. She died at the Bethel Health Care Facility, in Bethel, Conn., her New York agent told the New York Times.

Everybody's favorite manicurist
Although Ms. Miner was a well-known stage and radio actress, her most famous role was as everybody's favorite manicurist and confidante, Madge, in commercials for Palmolive, which was positioned as a "beauty prescription for hands that do dishes." Madge's clients at the salon would ask how gentle the soap was on hands, which prompted the famed advertising response, "You're soaking in it."

Ms. Miner made her debut as Madge on Aug. 21, 1966, in the first package of spots created by Ted Bates & Co. She continued to play the character for 26 years.

Born Oct. 15, 1917, in Boston, Ms. Miner is said to have made more than 92 commercials for the brand before Colgate-Palmolive retired Madge in 1991. Her stage career spanned more than 40 years, and she often appeared onstage with her late husband of 35 years, Richard Merrell, who died in 1988.

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