Jayne Kennedy: Bio, Career, Awards, Spouses & Net worth

When you are so passionate, ambitious, charming, and confident, nothing can stop you from success. The Life of Jayne Kennedy is the exact example of the proper use of such qualities.

In other words, Jayne is a pioneer in opening the gates of opportunity for African-Americans in the T.V.s and movies during the early 1970s.

She has working experience in various fields. On the whole, she is the perfect blend of beauty with a brain and a big heart.

Jayne Kennedy

Now, let’s dig deep into Jayne Kennedys’ story without excluding anything worth mentioning that has ever happened in her personal and professional life.

But before diving deeper into her life, let’s have a glance at some of the quick facts.

Quick Facts:

Full NameJayne Kennedy Overton (sometimes referred to as Jayne Kennedy)
Birth Name Jayne Harrison
Birth DateOctober 27, 1951 (At present 70)
Birth PlaceWahington D.C., USA
EthnicityAfrican American
EducationWickliffe High School, Ohio
Father’s nameHerbert Harrison
Mother’s nameVirginia Harrison
Height5feet 11 inches (178 cm)
Weight63 kgs
Dress and foot sizeN/A
Hair ColorDark Brown
Eye ColorDark Brown
Marital StatusTwice,t first Husband, Leon Issac Kennedy  (married:1971, divorced:1982), Second Husband Bill Overton (married:1985)
Children4, All daughters,  Savannah Re, Kopper Joi, Zaire Ollyea, and stepdaughter Cheyenne (1982)
ProfessionActress, model, sportscaster, television personality, producer, writer, public speaker, corporate spokesperson, philanthropist
Net Worth$2 million (approx)
TitlesMiss Ohio, USA (1970-1971)
Awards and Nominations
  • EMMY Award (1981) for Rose Parade coverage;
  • NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Film: Body and Soul) (1982)
  • CEBA Award for her work in the commercial industry
  • NAACP THEATRE Award for “Best Producer” for  The Journey of the African American
AffiliationsNFL Today on CBS, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Dean Martin Show, MAPS (Muhammad Ali Professional Sports), Kenny Kingston’s Psychic Hotline, Coca Cola (both TAB and Diet Coke), Reebok, Revlon, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Esoterica, Jovan Fragrances, Bankers Systems, RadioRobics
Campaigns I.T.’S A MOTHER-DAUGHTER THING!, Youth Consortium & Leadership Round Table: Career Opportunities for International Relations workshop (COIR)
At present Not active in Hollywood or TV
Charity workNational Lung Association, the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, and the National Endometriosis Foundation
Social MediaFacebook, Instagram, Twitter, It’s MotherDaughter Thing(website)
MerchMagazine, Posters
Last UpdateJuly, 2022

Jayne Kennedy | Early life, Parents & Education

Kennedy-Overton was born on November 27, 1951, in Washington, D.C. Later her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. She was born to proud parents Virginia Harrison (mother) and Herbert Harrison (father).

Jayne’s father used to work as a machinist in a local factory. Along with her parents, Jayne grew up with her four siblings. 

Growing up, Kennedy’s parents were very supportive of her work and interests. Moreover, Jayne’s childhood was pretty simple.

Kennedy’s parents always taught her to be good from the heart rather than just the outer look. As an obedient and compassionate child, she goes by this quote in her very ventures.


As for education, Jayne attended Wickliffe High School. Active and enthusiastic, Kennedy got into cheerleading. Even there, she became a three-time class president.

Eventually, she also became a member of the National Honor Society member. In 1969, Jayne became the first black vice president of Girls State.

Jayne Kennedy | Beauty Pageant

In 1970, Jayne became the first African American to win the crown of Miss Ohio title. Consequently, she attained popularity in her hometown of Wickliffe and was thrilled.

But some people were jealous and upset well. Later Kennedy went on to compete in the Miss USA beauty pageant and was fourth runner-up.

miss ohio
Jayne Kennedy with the then Mayor, Carl B. Stokes.

Age, Height, and Body Measurements

Jayne’s body measurements are 36 (bust), 24 (waist), and 36 (hips). These are the stats during her active period. She weighs 63 kgs and stands 5 feet 10 inches.

Jayne Kennedy | Professional life and career

Cinemas and T.V. shows

In 1971, Jayne made her Hollywood debut as a dancer on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. This opportunity allowed working with the Dean Martin Show as a singer/dancer for three years.

Afterward, in 1973, she made her acting debut in the movie “Group Marriage” During the mid-70s, she got busy being a guest on T.V. shows and films.

Further, Kennedy also got numerous roles in movies and T.V. shows. Likewise, she also appeared in B-movies. In 1977 she acted in a television movie called Cover Girls.

Body and soul
The poster of the movie “Body and soul.” Jayne with her hero, Leon Issac Kennedy

In 1981 Jayne also played the role of a journalist in the movie Body and Souls. She also did a few episodes of the Love Boat and Benson.

Like every other celebrity of that time, Jayne also launched her own exercise video, named Love Your Body.

Moreover, Jayne inspired people to take care of their physical appearance. This was a top seller in the early 1980s.

 “I like it when someone says you are intelligent or pretty. But universal is a quality most people in Hollywood don’t want to see in blacks.”

Serving the American Troops

At the beginning of her career ( 1971), Jayne traveled Around the World on Christmas tours.

There she entertained the American troops in Hawaii, Guam, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Spain, Cuba, and Denver, Colorado.

Consequently, she worked as a host on NBC’s Speak Up America.

Jayne Kennedy on Playboy magazine cover
Jayne Kennedy on Playboy magazine cover

Further, she also interviewed the troops in South Korea to report the psychological effects of war on the troops working in the Demilitarized Zone to face the North Korean troops.

Jayne Kennedy | Workout Video

Jayne Kennedy’s ‘Love your Body’ workout video was created in 1983. It features Kennedy indulging in several types of body exercises.

This very video glorified the concept of body positivity and body acceptance. Since Kennedy was featured, the video also countered the white-dominant fitness industry.

Jayne Kennedy | Awards 

In 1982, Jayne was awarded NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture award for her performance as Julie Winters in Body and Soul.

She also won the NAACP Theater Award for Best Producer for The Journey of the African American. Likewise, Kennedy also won an Emmy Award for her coverage of the Rose Parade.

Besides, she was nominated for an Emmy to cover the news feature on soldiers on the DMZ in South Korea for NBC’s Speak Up America in 1980.

Further, Jayne also received CEBA Award for her work in the commercial industry.

Along with that, she also got the NAACP THEATRE Award for “Best Producer” for The Journey of the African American.

Jayne Kennedy in black dress
Jayne Kennedy.

Moreover, Ebony Magazine announced Jayne as “One of the 20 Greatest Sex Symbols of the 20th Century”.

On the whole, in the 1980s, Coca-Cola USA named Jayne Kennedy “The Most Admired Black Woman in America.”

Simultaneously, Kennedy-Overton was featured in Essence Magazine’s list of “The 30 Most Beautiful Black Women in History.

Notably, she got recognized as one of the “Ten Black Female Firsts in T.V. Journalism Around the World.”

Intending to mark Jayne’s contribution, the Smithsonian Museum of African American history has a photo of hers.

Along with it, there is a quote by Oprah Winfrey feeling proud of Jayne.

Jayne Kennedy | Commercials and Sports Anchoring

Kennedy was one of the most popular faces of the 1970s. All credit goes to her advertising work, the diet soft drink Tab.

She did several commercials and infomercials for Kenny Kingston’s Psychic Hotline, Coca-Cola (both TAB and Diet Coke), Reebok, and Revlon.

Likewise, she was also part of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Esoterica, Jovan Fragrances, Bankers Systems, and RadioRobics commercials.


Jayne’s popularity gave her a job at the NFL Today in 1978. When she started the sports host, she created history.

Notably, she made history and became the first black woman to host a sports show in America. Further, Jayne also co-hosted during the fall football season of the CBS show.

Her presence brought seven million viewers to the CBS show. Kennedy interviewed players. There she displayed a command of NFL statistics and team rosters.

Moreover, Jayne also auditioned for an NBC television series called Speak Up, America, which went well. But later, she was replaced by the NFL.

Jayne Kennedy | Personal Life (Spouses, Children, and Disease)

In the 1980s, Jayne was diagnosed with endometriosis -a condition in which cells similar to those in the endometrium, the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus, grows outside the uterus.

Jayne Kennedy got married to Leon Issac Kennedy, who was her hero in the Body and Soul movie. They got married in 1970.

However, after 12 years, they got divorced. Later in 1985, she got married to Bill Overton.

Leon and Jayne Kennedy
Jayne and Leon Kennedy on Ebony Magazine Cover

Together, Bill and Jayne have three daughters named Savannah Re, Kopper Joi, Zaire Ollyea. Cheyenne is a stepdaughter to Jayne. Their family life is blissful.

However, none of Jayne’s daughters showed an interest in drama. Jayne coached and mentored her daughter’s soccer team.

Further, her team came to first place in National Collegiate Championship as well.

Jayne with her husband Bill Overton and their daughters
Jayne and Bill Overton with their daughters

Interestingly, Jayne has written her own autobiography named Jayne Kennedy American Icon: Through the eyes of Lamonte McLemore.

Moreover, Kennedy also wants to produce T.V. series about combat heroes and their struggle outside the war zone.

Jayne Kennedy | Rumors and Controversy

Out of nowhere, In 2014, a steamy real-life sex tape of Jayne and her ex-husband, Leon Kennedy, was leaked. Jayne blames Leon for this “publicity stunt.” However, Leon has not accepted it to the date.

Jayne Kenedy | Campaign and Charity Works

With the flowing time, in 2015, Jayne launched I.T.’S A MOTHER-DAUGHTER THING!.

This campaign focuses on working with each of her daughters to strengthen and renew her dedication to improving their lives and bettering our communities’ status.

Later, Jayne also launched the It’s A Mother Daughter Thing Speakers Series addressing America’s social issues. Obviously, Jayne focused on educating her daughters.

Further, to help other girls attain education, she aided numerous college-bound students by guiding them through the college application and scholarship search process.

Jayne with her family and friends
Jayne with her family and friends. (Jane is in a red dress).

Likewise, Jayne also co-created and co-produced the Youth Consortium and Leadership Round Table: Career Opportunities for International Relations workshop (COIR).

Eventually, COIR was picked up as an official Human Resources Recruiting Event by the U.S. Department of State in 2016. Moreover, Kennedy-Overton worked for Child Miracle Networks.

Also, she helped to raise billions of dollars for the Children Hospitals in the 1980s. Similarly, kind-hearted Jayne has also been active in charity works.

She is also linked with charity works to the National Lung Association, the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, and the National Endometriosis Foundation.

Jayne Kennedy | Filmography 

Jayne Kennedy has been featured in quite a few movies. Her Filmography is demonstrated below:
  • Body and Soul
  • Group marriage
  • Penitentiary
  • Ironside
  • Banacek
  • Sanford and Son
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • Let’s do it again
  • The Rockford Files
  • The Muthers
  • Wonder Women Episode: “knockout.”
  • Police Women Episode: “The Inside Connection”
  • Fighting Mad
  • Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women
  • Chips Episode: “Kidnap; Mitchel and woods,” etc.

Social Media Presence:

Jayne is available on Facebook with the handle where 4152  people like her page. Likewise, In her Instagram account, she shares about her family and memories.

Similarly, her Twitter account @PlainJaynKO has  511 followers. You can follow her on her social handles via these links:

  • Facebook: 4152 people like this page (@Jayne Kennedy Overton)
  • Instagram: 39.4K followers (@jaynekennedyoverton)
  • Twitter: 555 followers (@PlainJaynKO)

Some FAQs:

Was Jayne Kennedy in 227 television series?

Yes, Jayne Kennedy was featured in 227 television series as Betty Mumphry in 1986.

What illness was Jayne Kennedy diagnosed with?

Jayne Kennedy was diagnosed with endometriosis in the late 1980s.

The doctor suggested to Kennedy that the best way to treat endometriosis was pregnancy as the hormones produced at the time of pregnancy restricts or at least reduce the build-up of endometrial tissue.

After two months of diagnosis, Jayne got pregnant with her first child, which relieved her pain. However, the pain returned again when Jayne stopped breastfeeding.
After experiencing a few surgeries and giving birth to three babies, Jayne Kennedy got relieved from the pain permanently.



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