Jean Sincere Zambello
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Jean Sincere Zambello
August 16, 1919 - April 3, 2013
Jean Sincere Zambello, also known as Sinny, a theater, TV and film actress, died of natural causes on April 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, after a brief illness. Born in Mt. Vernon, NY on August 16, 1919, Jean was dedicated to her art from an early age and made her Broadway debut in Arsenic and Old Lace in 1941. She then served in USO during World War II and then worked in the theater the rest of her life. Seen in films such as Roxanne and The Incredibles, she continued acting into her early 90s, most recently seen as the Librarian on the FOX series GLEE and in iCarly. Married in 1949 to the late Charles Carmine Zambello (deceased in 1992), Jean is survived by her daughter, opera and theater director Francesca Zambello, of New York; her son, art and antique dealer, Larry Zambello, of New Mexico; and her grandson Gabriel. Jean, a vivacious and enthusiastic lover of life, theater, opera and travel, was a devout Christian Scientist. Known for her bright red hair and her funny nature, Jean preferred Vienna to all other cities, where she could eat palachinka and schnitzel, after attending her favorite opera, Parsifal. She was a devoted mother and grandmother, and traveled all over the world, often accompanying her daughter on her trips for work. Her message of living life to the fullest and being kind to others will live on in her children and her grandson.

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Published in Los Angeles Times on Apr. 7, 2013.
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24 entries
May 1, 2013
25 April 2013

Dear Family and Friends:

Thank you to so many of you for your beautiful letters to Larry and myself. Many of you have graciously asked about a memorial for our mother, Jean Sincere Zambello. We have planned the following and
you are welcome to join us at any of these:

On the morning of Wednesday, July 10th, we will scatter her ashes on the grounds of the Peninsula Players Theater in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. This was where her career started and she worked there from the 1930's until the 1990's performing 55 roles. It has a place special in the hearts of our family. This beautiful setting will allow her to always be near rehearsals and performances of this wonderful acting company.

On Sunday, July 14th, we will have a memorial in Cooperstown on the grounds of the Glimmerglass Festival after a performance of "The Flying Dutchman” by Wagner, her favorite composer of operas. Also, it is Bastille Day, a holiday she always enjoyed almost as much as devouring fine French pastries.

On her birthday, Friday, August 16th, our dear family friend, John Bowab will host a party to celebrate her life at his house in LA.

Gifts in Jean's memory may be made to the Peninsula Players or the Glimmerglass Festival. Both organizations will use the donations to sponsor a theater apprentice in her name. Contributions can be sent to: The Peninsula Players, Peninsula Players Road,
Fish Creek, Wisconsin 54212 or The Glimmerglass Festival, PO Box 191 Cooperstown, NY 13326. Please indicate "in honor of Jean Sincere" on your check. Donations to both organizations can also be made online: or

Please let us know if you plan to attend by sending either one of us
an e-mail:,


'Cesca and Larry
Francesca Zambello
April 29, 2013
So sorry to hear about your mother.My deepest sympathy.
Sally Levy
April 23, 2013
To Jean's family I send my deepest sympathy for their loss. I never met Jean but I began seeing her on stage at Peninsula Players beginning about 1975 when we bought our cabin in Door County. She was always marvelous. My best memories of her were when she shared the stage with Bob Thompson. What a duo! Their rapport was something magical to see! In 1986 I performed my first play on the Peninsula Players stage along with Bob Thompson and Jeannette Leahy, both of them recently passed away as well. Jean, Bob, and Jeannette were an important part of The Players during such historic times. My biggest regret is that I never was able to look into Jean's eyes and tell her how very much I had enjoyed and learned from her great, deeply human, joyous presence on stage. I acted in a number of Players plays following 1986 and am now on the board. It would be a great honor to meet Jean's family when they come to Fish Creek this summer.

Barbara Simpson Fuhrmann
April 18, 2013
I feel like I've lost a member of my own family. Nearly every day I start to write Jean an email to set up a breakfast or lunch meeting when I visit LA in May but then I probably should because I know she'll get it and she'll respond with love to her dear fred d d d as she loved to call me. Jean will never be far from my heart, but just far enough that she will be deeply missed - but always loved so much.
Fred Frumberg
April 18, 2013
Dear Friends:
Larry and I have planned some memorial services
and if you want more information please contact me directly
Thank you...
Francesca Zambello
April 17, 2013
To my favorite Director: May you find peace in this time of your enormous loss. Take care and know so many of us are thinking of you. mary nilan
Mary Nilan
April 16, 2013

Dear Friends:

Thank you for your overwhelming responses of kind words to Larry and myself.
Please excuse this letter to a number of you, but we wanted to keep you posted.

Many have asked if there will be a service. We will do something in Jean's memory in a few months in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, LA and NYC.

Warmly, Cesca and Larry
Francesca Zambello
April 14, 2013
To All,

I can sincerely say I loved Jean Sincere Zambello. I knew her for approximately four years. We both resided in Park LaBrea. where she enjoyed living.

The only regret I have is that I didn't know her longer. We became friends. I grew to love her. I assisted her with appointments and errands.

I feel privileged that she chose me to be one of her many friends. Jean did not use the term "friend" lightly. She was a woman of wisdom and substance. A collector of frogs. She loved caviar...I could go on. She loved LIFE. I loved her!

She touched many people with her sparkling red hair and personality. She gave true meaning to the saying "You notice a blond, but You REMEMBER a red head."

Godspeed Jean,

We will conticue to keep you in our prayers.
Until we may meet again dear friend.

God bless You Jean!

With All our Love

Trish and Annie, xoxo
April 14, 2013
Trish McLEAN
April 13, 2013
I met Jean at Peninsula Players when I was first studying to become a professional performer. I was fortunate enough to be with her and gain knowledge from her as an acting intern at Peninsula Players and will be forever grateful for that experience. She was one of the most naturally gifted and skilled actresses I had ever very professional. I ran lines for her every night during the Painting Churches run and sat in awe each night watching the nuances she captured from the script; how she made those words come alive, and the complex feelings translate so well in her performances. She was just a brilliant actress onstage and offstage a joy to be around... the most polite, lovely, caring, humble and genuine woman of good giving. She could completely transform herself into character ...morph into whatever role she was playing with such ease. It was marvelous to watch. Thank you, Jean, for all you gave us. Peninsula Players has lost a treasured member of the PP family..a woman who influenced and inspired so many of us. My condolences to Jean's family and friends. We share in your loss.
Corrie Campbell
April 10, 2013
"When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.".
That was Jean to me - The sun in the center.
All my love,
Mary-Pat Green
April 10, 2013
She & my mother, Caroline Rathbone, were best friends. I remember at 6 years old being kept awake at night by their laughter & her opera singing. They both had such a zest for life. Probably laughing together somwhere right now. Grace Clearsen
April 10, 2013
Jean came to the Peninsula Players in 1941. I was born in 1942. She was like an aunt to me. I will miss her very much.
Heloise Rathbone
April 10, 2013
I have had the pleasure of being a Peninsula Player for 42 years and a board member for 31 years. I was privileged to act with Jean in the 1970's. Jean was one of the best people to ever grace the Players stage. A warm, funny and giving person who we will all miss.
Francesca, I was one of the nuts at the players who drove you crazy with our jumping out and yelling Francesca!!
My sympathy to you and your family, we will always remember Jean with fondness and love in our hearts.
James "Digger" DeGroot
April 10, 2013
I had the privilege of knowing Jean for 37 years. She was always full of life, humor and love. I'll forever be grateful for her wonderful advice in all things -- mothering especially -- and I'll miss all of our lunches and teatimes together. A very special woman...
Jessica Lamden
April 9, 2013
Jean Sincere Zambello is one lady who will always have a place in my memory. She was elegant, and hospitable and gracious to me every time we met.
Yaakov Sullivan
April 8, 2013
I'll always remember meeting Jean in LA. Impressed me as a most vivacious, engaging, and articulate woman.
Lou Bassetti
April 8, 2013
Dear 'Cesca, I met your mom briefly only once but recall the colour of her hair and the fact that she was friendly and outgoing. Please know that Chancellor and I are thinking of you. Hugs!
April 8, 2013
Ricevi le mie piu` sentite conoglianze per la scomparsa della tua cara mamma. Che Dio ti dia forza ad affrontare l'avvenire senza di lei.
April 8, 2013
I met Jean in 1976 when I was lucky enough to have her play my mother in summer stock. She remained a great friend and inspiration to me for her remaining 37 years. We would get together when I was in LA or when Francesca had an opera opening in San Francisco. Jean - being Cesca's biggest fan - was always there and would want to do lunch before enjoying Cesca's dress rehearsals. On one of those events, I remember her devouring a plate full of raw oysters with the delight of a kid in a candy store. She had just discovered them that year (at age 90!) When I mentioned to be careful because they were aphrodesiacs she smiled mischeivously and said, "I KNOW!" It was that attitute that always made me say, "I want to be just like you when I grow up!" I am already missing her terribly, but am in awe of a life so lived to the fullest.
Marc Jacobs
April 8, 2013
Jean was an actress of extraordinary talent. I had the good fortune of playing her son in the Peninsula Player's production of Neil Simon's “Brighton Beach Memoirs”. At the time I remember thinking how professional Jean was, and that it felt like a Broadway show because of her acting skills. She was so believable as the headstrong Kate Jerome that playing her son Stanley was as easy as looking into her beautiful eyes. I remember not wanting to disappoint her as my stage mother and as my acting partner. So many people remember me in that role, but I tell you with all honesty that it was Jean Sincere that brought out the best in me. Her frank, in-the-moment delivery demanded that you rise to her level, and I did: for a few brief shinning moments on a stage in the middle of the Wisconsin woods, I felt like a bona fide actor. For when I looked into Jean's eyes, I felt as if she was looking at her real son, and that the love she had for me was true and overwhelming. I couldn't help but respond truthfully to her. Since then I've acted with many, but I've never duplicated that level of performance. I doubt I ever will, as there is in life these rare moments that can never be recreated, for they belong to the individuals who were there and to the audience fortunate enough to have experienced it.
R O'Donnell
April 7, 2013
Dear Z Family,
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. We read Grandma Jean's name in Temple Friday night. She will be remembered, always, with love, fondness, humor and joy.
Gail Glickman
April 7, 2013
bruce sokolov
April 7, 2013
Emily Lipson Zambello
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