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Madge the Manicurist - The Colgate-Palmolive Company used Madge the Manicurist as their spokesperson in a series of successful television spots from 1966-92.

Jan Miner as Madge the Manicurist - PALMOLOVE LIQUID COMMERCIAL
"You're soaking in it" says Madge.

Working in the Salon East Beauty Parlor, Madge pre-soaked all her customer's fingernails in Palmolive's green dish washing detergent and advised them "Palmolive softens hands while you do the dishes." Madge's catchphrase was "You're soaking in it." The campaign was created by the Ted Bates Ad Agency in 1966.

Madge the Manicurist Commerical - PALMOLIVE LIQUID DETERGENT

Client: Madge, why did you decide to become a manicurist?
Madge: Oh, the usual reasons: romance adventure, money, thirst for power. When I see your hands, I wish I were a nurse.
Client Dish washing, Madge
Madge: Ever try Palmolive dish washing detergent? Softens your hands while you do the dishes.
Client: Pretty green.
Madge: You're soaking in it.
Client: The dishing washing liquid?
Madge: Palmolive.
Client Mild then?
Madge: Oh, more than just mild.
Announcer: Right, Madge. Palmolive lasts from the first glass to last grease casserole. And it softens hands while you do dishes.
Client: [Two week later] Madge, that Palmolive liquid of yours, I'm simply in love with it.
Madge: What? Does you husband know about this?

-- 1970s Palmolive commercial

The Madge character was popular around the world. The French called her Francoise; the Germans called her Tilly; and the Finnish called her Marissa. According to Jan Miner "When I get off the plane, it's always, 'Madge!'"

As an homage to the Madge character, the writers of the occult drama BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER added the cultural reference "You're soaking in it, Bud." to episode "Go Fish" (5/05/1998).

Born October 15, 1917 in Boston, Jan Miner died on February 15, 2004 at the Bethel Health Care Facility in Connecticut. She was 86. Jan Miner had retired to Southbury, Connecticut with her actor/screenwriter husband, Richard Merrell. Jan was the daughter of a dentist and a painter. She attended the Vesper George School of Art in Boston and then trained as an actor with Lee Strasberg, Ira Cirker, David Craig and Don Richardson.

1960s Palmolive Print Ad

1960s Palmolive Print Ad

1960s Palmolive Print Ad

1960s Palmolive Print Ad

Palmolive Print Ads from late 1960s

During her acting career, Jan Miner appeared on radio, stage, screen and television. In the late 1940s, she co-starred as Mary Wesley on the syndicated radio detective drama Boston Blackie (1945-49); and on episodes of the NBC dramatic anthology series Radio City Playhouse (1948-50). On television, she played the role of Ann Williams on the 1951 CBS newspaper drama CRIME PHOTOGRAPHER; appeared as a regular on the NBC dramatic anthology ROBERT MONTGOMERY PRESENTS (1954-56); and years later performed as Gertrude Stein in the TV adaptation of the stage play GERTRUDE STEIN AND COMPANION (1991) and as Aunt Agatha on a guest starring role of the 1940s-based sitcom REMEMBER WENN (episode "Scott Sherwood of the F.B.I." 01/18/97).

Miner's film credits included the role of Lenny Bruce's mother in the film Lenny (1974) starring Dustin Hoffman; and as the Mother Superior in the film Mermaids (1980) starring Cher. Reportedly, in 1991, A&W root beer persuaded Miner to moonlight as Madge for ad campaign that had her soaking her hand in a mug of root beer.

Jan's stage experience included Broadway and the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, CT. Jan made her stage debut in "Light Up the Sky" in 1958 at the Playhouse in Cincinnati and at the Webster Playhouse in Massachusetts.

Over the years, Jan frequently appeared on stage with her husband, Richard Merrell in such plays as "The Gin Game," "Night Must Fall," "High Spirits," and "Saturday, Sunday, Monday." Richard died at the age of 75 in Southbury of heart failure on September 13, 1998. Merrell had appeared on the soap opera ONE LIFE TO LIVE in the late 1970s as Herron, the butler.

Jan Miner is survived by a brother, Donald Miner, of Concord, NH.

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