Jeanne Robertson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jeanne Robertson
Performing onstage in Charlottesville, Virginia, April 2012
Born (1943-09-21) September 21, 1943 (age 75)
OccupationHumorist, speaker, teacher
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
TitleMiss North Carolina 1963
Spouse(s)Jerry Robertson, Ph.D.
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair colorWhite[1] (formerly blond)[2]
Miss America 1964

Jeanne Swanner Robertson (born September 21, 1943) is an American humorist, motivational speaker[2] and a former Miss North Carolina and physical education teacher.

Early life[edit]

Jeanne Swanner was raised in Graham, North Carolina,[3][2] one of three daughters. Not only was she taller than sisters Katherine and Andrea,[4] she was also especially tall as a youth, growing to 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) by age thirteen and in seventh grade.[4] She was an avid basketball player.[2]

Pageant participant[edit]

In 1963, at age 19, she was named Miss North Carolina[5] and went on to be named Miss Congeniality in that year's Miss America competition.[6][2] Robertson credits her reign as the catalyst for her career.[7][8]

Following her Miss North Carolina reign, Robertson used the scholarship funds to fund her college education at Auburn University where she majored in physical education, joined Alpha Gamma Delta[9] and played on its basketball team,[2] graduating in 1967.[10]


Robertson taught physical education for eight years in North Carolina.[11]

Although she began her public speaking career with her pageant title, Robertson has achieved much more national attention as a humorist and speaker. Her anecdotes have been broadcast regularly on satellite radio comedy channels including XM Radio's Laugh USA, Sirius Radio's Blue Collar Comedy and its Family Comedy Channel,[10][2] and Laugh Break. Her popularity soared, however, in 2009 after a handful of humorous clips from her talks became viral videos.[8][2] Robertson distinguishes between a humorist, which she considers herself, and a comedian, stating, "The humorist weaves the longer stories with a point. We don't go 'after' anybody. I'm telling my life."[6]

In 1980 she was designated a Certified Speaking Professional by the National Speakers Association (NSA), and served as the association's president in 1985.[10] She is also an award-winning Toastmaster.[2]

On April 29, 2008, she spoke at the White House for National Volunteer Week to honor the 1,300 volunteers who donate time to work at the White House.[10]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame (inducted in 1981)[10]
  • National Speakers Association Cavett Award (1989); first woman to receive the award[10]
  • Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award (1998)[10]
  • North Carolina Press Association North Carolinian of the Year (2001)[10]

Graham Historical Museum in her hometown, Graham, North Carolina, features a permanent exhibit, Jeanne Swanner Robertson.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Jeanne is married to Jerry Robertson,[13] a graduate of Duke University (where, at 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) tall[13] and on an athletic scholarship,[14] he played on its basketball team — eventually as its captain).[2] He received his master's degree and doctorate at the University of North Carolina[14] and was an educator and eventually Superintendent of the Alamance County School System.[2] In her performances, Jeanne calls him "Left Brain".[13] They have a son, Bailey "Beaver" Bowline,[10] who is 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) tall.[1] Beaver is a 1989 graduate of Elon University, where Jeanne is a trustee.[10] He and his wife Dayna have two sons, Ryder and Gray.[1]

Jeanne and Jerry Robertson are both members of Elon University's Phoenix Club which supports the athletic program.[10] Jeanne is Methodist.[15]

She has claimed her favorite television series is The Andy Griffith Show.[3] Her Mayberry Humor Across the USA furthers her connection to Griffith's show. The book title refers to Mayberry, the town which is the setting of Griffith's show.


Robertson has authored three books.[2]

  • Humor: The Magic of Genie: Seven Potions for Developing a Sense of Humor (1989) Rich Publishing Company, ISBN 9780960725694
  • Mayberry Humor Across the USA (1995) Rich Publishing Company, ISBN 9780927577021
  • Don't Let the Funny Stuff Get Away (1998) Rich Publishing Company, ISBN 9780927577038

Audio and video media[edit]

Robertson's performances have been recorded on both DVD and CD. She currently has eight DVD titles available.[2]

  • Southern Style[15]
  • Don't go to Vegas Without a Baptist[15]


  1. ^ a b c Robertson, Jeanne. "Don't Mess with Teenage Hussies". Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Overman, Ogi (April 30, 2013). "50 years later, Miss Congeniality more popular than ever before". Jamestown News. Retrieved January 10, 2017.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b Robertson, Jeanne. "NEW! Jeanne Robertson Left Brain vs Intruder - HILARIOUS!!!". Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Robertson, Jeanne. "Don't Trick or Treat Without the Right Costume". Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Memory Lane - Where's My Crown?". Southeast Lifestyle. Archived from the original on 2013-08-17.
  6. ^ a b Gordon, Jean (26 January 2013). "Humorist Robertson coming to Foundation". The Daily Courier. Forest City, North Carolina. p. A1.
  7. ^ "Meet Jeanne Robertson — North Carolina Public Radio WUNC". Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  8. ^ a b Courter, Barry (17 February 2012). "Funny and smart - at 68, Jeanne Robertson finds second vocation as comedian". Chattanooga Times Free Press. p. 57.
  9. ^ "Appreciating Sisterhood". Alpha Gamma Delta Quarterly: 26. Summer 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Anderson, Dan (2008-05-01). "Elon trustee Jeanne Robertson is featured speaker at White House event". Elon University. Archived from the original on 2013-03-23. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  11. ^ Ellis, Rosemary (4 February 1990). "The value of humor: making life bearable". The Press of Atlantic City. p. G1.
  12. ^ "Graham Historical Museum". Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c Robertson, Jeanne. "Left Brain is in the Building". Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Robertson, Jeanne. "Don't send a man to the grocery store!". Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c Crim, Linda "MissDazey" (June 5, 2012). "Evangel University Chapel". Retrieved January 10, 2017.

External links[edit]