|Playboy centerfold appearance|
|Preceded by||Shay Knuth|
|Succeeded by||Claudia Jennings|
November 23, 1944 |
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)|
|Weight||117 lb (53 kg; 8.4 st)|
Bell grew up in Houston, Texas, along with three younger sisters and attended Texas Southern University, majoring in business administration. Jean was the first African American woman to participate in the Miss Texas Pageant, which is part of the Miss Universe competition. She aspired to professional bowling or acting.
When she appeared in the October 1969 issue of Playboy, Bell was only the second African-American woman to grace the centerfold (the first was Jennifer Jackson, in March 1965). Her centerfold was photographed by Don Klumpp. A few months later, Bell became the first black person to appear on the magazine's cover. Darine Stern, who is often erroneously credited with this distinction, was actually the first black woman to appear on the cover of Playboy on her own, in the October 1971 issue. Bell was featured with four other playmates in the January 1970 cover of the magazine.
After Bell's appearance in Playboy, she enjoyed a brief acting career, working on such films as Mean Streets and The Klansman (for some roles she was credited as Jeanne Bell). Her most notable role was the title character in 1975's T.N.T. Jackson.
Bell dated Richard Burton and helped him quit drinking and as a result was credited with getting him back together with Elizabeth Taylor afterwards. An Earl Wilson column in September 1975 revealed Bell's three-month friendship with the actor. She visited Burton at his villa in Céligny, Switzerland, during her effort to help him "dry out". With his assistance Bell acquired a place of her own in Geneva, Switzerland. Around that time, Bell worked at Splendors Gentlemens club in Houston and went by "Bunny". 
Bell posed nude again for Playboy in the December 1979 pictorial "Playmates Forever!", and subsequently disappeared from public life.
In 1986 she married businessman Gary Judis after an eight year courtship.
Film and television work
- The Choirboys (1977) .... Fanny Forbes
- Casanova & Co. (1977) .... Fatme
- The Muthers (1976) .... Kelly
- Disco 9000 (1976) (as Jeanie Bell) .... Karen
- T.N.T. Jackson (1975) .... Diana 'T.N.T.' Jackson
- Policewomen (1974) .... Pam Harris
- The Klansman (1974) .... Mary Anne
- Negro es un bello color (1974) .... Joyce
- Three the Hard Way (1974) .... Polly
- Mean Streets (1973) .... Diane
- Black Gunn (1972) .... Lisa
- Trouble Man (1972) .... Leona
- Melinda (1972) .... Jean
- Starsky and Hutch - "Starsky and Hutch Are Guilty" (1977) .... Kate
- Baretta - "Carla" (1977) .... Midge
- Kolchak: The Night Stalker - "Primal Scream" (1975) .... Rosetta Mason
- That's My Mama - "Clifton's Big Move" (1974) .... Ginger
- Police Woman - "Seven-Eleven" (1974) .... Marie
- Sanford and Son - "Lamont, Is That You?" (1973) .... Judy Ann
- The Beverly Hillbillies
- "Hotel for Women" (1970) .... Sugar Jean Bell
- "Three-Day Reprieve" (1970) .... Sugar Jean Bell
- "Shorty Spits the Hook" (1970) .... Sugar Jean Bell
- "Marry Me, Shorty" (1970) .... Sugar Jean Bell
- "MISS OCTOBER 1969:JEAN BELL". www.playboy.com. Playboy. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
I would love to bowl in a professional tournament or pursue a career in acting.
- Earl Wilson (1975-09-01). "Earl Wilson Says". Syracuse Herald-Journal. p. 18.
- Actress Jeannie Bell, Multi-Millionaire Wed, Jet, November 24 1986, p. 54