She helped Patricia Neal, Karl Malden, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Rod Serling and Mel Brooks get work in TV spots. Merrill Jonas, a casting director who helped place such stars as Patricia Neal, Karl Malden, Anna Maria Alberghetti and Mel Brooks in TV commercials, has died. She was 96. Jonas died Thursday after a long illness at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, her son, Garrett Glaser, said. Jonas herself was a TV actress and on-camera pitchwoman in the 1950s and ’60s, appearing in more than 35 spots. Some of her lines in her ad campaigns became well known, including “Mother, please! I’d rather do it myself!” for Anacin pain reliever and “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” for M&M candies. After several years in the ’60s as personal assistant to Jerry Leider, senior partner in charge of worldwide television packaging at Ashley Famous Agency, Jonas transitioned to TV casting. By the early ’70s, she was head of the casting department at Ogilvy & Mather in New York. She led a six-person team that cast more than 100 commercials featuring celebrities including Neal (Maxim instant coffee), Malden (American Express cards, “Don’t leave home… Read full this story
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