Penny Singleton was best remembered as Blondie, the scatterbrained yet often sensible character she played in 28 movies from 1938 to 1950. She was also the first woman president of an AFL-CIO union.
Singleton was known to later generations as the voice of Jane Jetson in the cartoon movies and TV shows about the futuristic family. But she was most identified with her role as the wife of bumbling Dagwood Bumstead in the movies based on the popular comic strip "Blondie" created by Chic Young.
The family life of the Bumsteads and their children, Alexander (Baby Dumpling) and Cookie, along with their dog Daisy, involved humorous and numerous misunderstandings and mishaps including Blondie's efforts to get Dagwood's job back (he was always getting fired, it seemed) and Blondie's efforts to start a bakery business.
As Mrs. Bumstead, Singleton was constantly on call to her husband's high-pitched, plaintive cry of "Blon-deeeeeee!"
Besides her movie role as Blondie, Singleton played the character on a popular radio program from 1939 to 1950. But by the time Blondie came to television for the first time in 1957, Singleton was almost 50, and the role went to the younger Pamela Britton.
Born Dorothy McNulty on Sept. 15, 1908, in Philadelphia, Singleton was the daughter of a newspaper typesetter. She began her career at the age of 7 singing songs at movie houses. She also performed in vaudeville as a child.