Macy Janney, local arts supporter and mother of Oscar-winning actress, dies

Two artists with Dayton roots were honored at the 2017 "Walk of Fame" luncheon. Pictured are cartoonist Cathy Guisewite (center) and actress Allison Janney (right.) On the left is Janney's proud mama, Macy Janney. CONTRIBUTED

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Two artists with Dayton roots were honored at the 2017 "Walk of Fame" luncheon. Pictured are cartoonist Cathy Guisewite (center) and actress Allison Janney (right.) On the left is Janney's proud mama, Macy Janney. CONTRIBUTED

Macy Janney, a well-known and longtime supporter of the local arts community and mother of Oscar-winning actress Allison Janney, has died.

Macy Janney, a former actress in New York City who moved to Dayton, once served as president of the Muse Machine’s board of trustees and also was involved in a variety of local arts organizations, including the Dayton Ballet Association and the Human Race Theatre.

Her death was confirmed by a member of the Muse Machine board.

Macy Janney studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and roomed with Eileen Brennan and Rue McClanahan.

Allison Janney told Parade magazine that her mother decided to forgo a career in acting to raise her family.

Macy Janney was “the doyenne of Dayton, Ohio,” said Allison Janney, who credited her mother for her strong feminist stance and her organizational skills and mindset.

Allison Janney once told the Dayton Daily News that she was lucky to have a mother who taught her so much about good manners, social graces and punctuality.

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Allison Janney and her mother, Macy, pictured with Allison’s niece, Petra.

Allison Janney and her mother, Macy, pictured with Allison’s niece, Petra.

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Allison Janney and her mother, Macy, pictured with Allison’s niece, Petra.

Macy Janney had three children: Jay Janney, Allison Janney and the late Henry Lowe Janney.

Macy Janney was heavily involved in the Muse Machine, a nationally recognized group that draws members from school districts throughout the Miami Valley.

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For decades, the group has provided arts education and experiences to teachers and students in the region.

Muse Machine gives out awards named after Macy Janney. They are are awarded to high school and middle school students who are exemplary volunteers.

Macy Janney was warm, generous, smart and clever, said Kevin Moore, artistic director of the Human Race Theatre.

“She was fun to talk to and be around,” he said. “And she was just always so supportive of the work. She appreciated artists and wanted to support them.”

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Allison Janney with her mother, Macy.

Allison Janney with her mother, Macy.

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Allison Janney with her mother, Macy.

She was around and active in the arts community in the 1980s when the Muse Machine and the Human Race Theatre were founded, Moore said.

Macy Janney was such an important part of the “formative years” of the groups, he said.

She was on the Human Race board in the late 1980s and helped lead the annual fundraisers, he said.

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Actress Allison Janney as a baby and her mother Macy, summer 1960. (Contributed photo)

Credit: Contributed photo

Actress Allison Janney as a baby and her mother Macy, summer 1960. (Contributed photo)

Credit: Contributed photo

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Actress Allison Janney as a baby and her mother Macy, summer 1960. (Contributed photo)

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

She had deep community connections and was a loyal patron of the arts and donor.

Macy Janney was charming and delightful and always put everyone around her in a good mood, he said.

She had a group of friends that basically never missed a show.

“You need people who recognize the value of the arts in a community and what it does,” Moore said. “They become your cheerleaders.”

“That’s what she was really good at,” he said. “She had large circles of friends, and she brought them and made sure they came to the theater.”

Moore said: “She will be missed. She was a force."

Macy was responsible for helping to shape Muse Machine in many ways, as one of its earliest board chairs and a supporter of the programs for nearly 40 years, said Mary Campbell Zopf, cxecutive director of Muse Machine.

“Macy trained as an actor and wove her love of all the arts into her life as something to enjoy each day — always enthusiastic about creative opportunities, always genuinely engaged in the people around her and always so very funny,” she said. "We are fortunate to have shared in Macy’s joy and to have been shaped by our time with this remarkable woman.”

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