Janee Michelle appeared as Sandra in the Season 4 "Sanford and Son" episode "Tower Power".
|Birthname:||Geneva Leona Mercadel|
|Born:||April 12, 1946|
|Birthplace:||New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.|
|Spouse(s):||Robert DeQui, 1970-????, divorced|
Robert Tucker, ????-present
|Related to:||Robert (son) and Iam (daughter)|
|Appeared on/ |
|Sanford and Son|
|Episodes appeared in:||Season 4 episode of Sanford and Son titled "Tower Power"|
Early life and careerEdit
Born Geneva Leona Mercadel, Janee is of large Black/Creole family with deep roots in New Orleans's Seventh Ward. Her father was a barber who owned a business on St. Anthony Street and her mother was a hairdresser. She was born the second in a family of four siblings which consisted of an older brother Walbert and two younger sisters, Zernell and Zona. Always wanting to be an entertainer, as a child young Geneva would dance and rehearse skits to perform for family and friends in the neighborhood. Encouraged by Mrs. Leah McKenna, the principal at Rivers Frederick Junior High School, she participated in whatever recital or program being presented at the school or other venue. She credits her mother for being her staunchest supporter "who was the foundation of my life and all my successes."
Janee's earliest recollections of performers who inspired her are of Pearl Bailey, Eartha Kitt and Lena Horne appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show. The family relocated to Los Angeles during her high school years and then, convinced that she could go into show business, got an agent and changed her name to Janell Michelle. Enrolled at the time in Manual Arts High School, Janell, while she commuted weekly to Las Vegas to work as a dancer, she graduated 25th scholastically in a class of 500. After graduation, she acted in bit parts in made for television programs finally landing a roll in Buffalo Soldier (1970) and Mephisto Waltz (1971). She would find sporadic work in film and TV through the early/mid 1970s, appearing in the blaxplotation/horror flick Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973), House on Skull Mountain (1974), as well as appearances on Ironside, Love, American Style, and Bewitched. She also appeared on the hit NBC-TV crime/drama series In the Heat of The Night as Arlene Jeffson in 1988.
In 1970 Janee married Robert DuQui, a widower with 4 children. This marriage produced a son, Robert Diego Duqui and ended in divorce. She married Robert Tucker in 1979. In 1983 she gave birth to a daughter, Iam. Janee and second husband Robert reside in her hometown New Orleans, where for a time, they owned and operated an old fashioned ice cream/gelato parlor called "Sophie's Gelato", before its closing in 2011.