Jayne Kennedy Overton: First Woman Sports Broadcaster to Enter the Male-Dominated World of Sports

Written by Jae Jones

Beautiful and multi-talented Jayne Kennedy Overton has graced the cover of several magazines. But, there has always been more to Overton than her incredible good looks. Overton was a television personality, a corporate spokeswoman, sports broadcaster, producer, public speaker, writer, philanthropist, and a beauty pageant titleholder.

Overton was born “Jayne Harrison” in Washington, D.C, to a machinist Herbert Harrison and wife, Virginia. As a young teenager, she attended Wickliffe High School in Wickliffe, Ohio. She represented the school at the American Legion’s Girls State mock-government program and was elected as a senator to the American Legion’s Girls Nation program in Washington D.C. She later won the office of Vice President of the United States and was sworn into office by VP Spiro T. Agnew.

In 1971, she moved with her husband Leon Isaac Kennedy to California to pursue a career in acting. She appeared in The Dean Martin Show’s Ding-A-Ling Sisters, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In as a dancer, and she traveled as one of the Hollywood Deb Stars on Bob Hope’s Bases Around the World Christmas Tour. In 1978, she won national acclaim as one of the first woman to infiltrate the male-dominated world of sports with a spot on The NFL Today. She wrote, starred in and produced “Love Your Body” exercise videos. Overton  has also worked as a corporate spokeswoman for several big name brands such as Jovan, Esoterica, Revlon, and many others.


In the 1980s, Ebony Magazine announced her as being “One of the 20 Greatest Sex Symbols of the 20th Century,” and in the 80s, Coca-Cola USA named her as “The Most Admired Black Woman in America.”

Overton won an Emmy Award for her coverage of the Rose Parade and was nominated for an Emmy for her coverage of the news feature on soldiers on the DMZ in South Korea for NBC’s Speak Up America in 1980, and in 1982 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance in the film Body and Soul. She divorced her first husband in 1982 and in 1985 married her present husband, actor Bill Overton.


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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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