Jonelle Allen


Down front to review the play for the Times, Kerr again had only good things to say about her performance. “It was almost as if he felt that I was his discovery,” remembered Allen. “In a way, I suppose I was.” The play was a smash outdoors in Central Park all summer long. It then moved indoors to Broadway for a run of 627 performances and ultimately to Los Angeles where it played at the Ahmanson Theatre.

In a way, I suppose I was

Jonelle Allen and Obba Babatunde

Love Boat

Jonelle Allen and Antonio Vargas – THE LOVE BOAT

Allen moved permanently to the west coast where her agents were determined to sell her as the new Diana Ross or Lola Falana.  She, on the other hand, wanted to be a fully-rounded actress and demanded that they find dramatic roles for her. She guest-starred on Cagney and Lacey, Hill Street Blues, The Trials of Rosie O’Neil, and many other hour dramas.


Cagney and Lacey 

Cagney (Sharon Gless, r.),  Lacey (Tyne Daly, l.) Elizabeth (Jonelle Allen)

Elizabeth (Jonelle Allen) Lacey (Tyne Daly, l.)

Cagney (Sharon Gless, l.) – Elizabeth (Jonelle Allen, r.)

All In The Family 

Jonelle Allen and Caroll O'Connor

Jonelle Allen and Carroll O’Connor  



She appeared in many diverse roles in a long string of movies of the week, from playing the right-wing district attorney to Peter Strauss’ presiding judge in CBS TV’s Penalty Phase to a 17-year-old lesbian opposite Susan Dey in another CBS movie, Cage Without a Key.


Cage Without a Key

Susan Dey and Jonelle Allen in Cage Without a Key (1975). Jonelle Allen plays a hard-luck detention school inmate whose only distinction is that of the leader of a clique of girls in “Cage Without A Key,” Columbia Pictures Television’s two-hour CBS Friday Night Movie.


Fat Chance

Fat Chance


Jonelle Allen stars in the summer production of “Hello Dolly” at Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre. (courtesy of Ken Kinder)

Jonelle Allen and Jim Whitson


Back Where You Belong

Jonelle and Carol Channing