She graduated from Marymount High School, Tarrytown, N.Y. and then from Adelphi College, NY. She married another Adelphi graduate, Lee Philips (actor, director) and were later divorced amicably. After studying with Sanford Meisner, she married F.X. Toole (the writer of Million Dollar Baby (2004) under the pseudonym used for Jerry Boyd), in Mexico City where daughter Erin was born. They later divorced amicably.

She did the play, Teach Me How To Cry, written by Patricia Joudry and was spotted by an agent, Doovid Barskin, who signed her. In 1960 she met the perfect man, Phil Toorvald, a Stanford University senior studying electrical engineering. She had two children with Phil in quick succession, Sven and Tina, raised another girl (adopted), and then raised that girl’s two daughters.

Jean’s first feature part had been in 1952 in the film Edge of Fury (1958) where she had met first-time cameraman Jack Couffer. Fifty years later, after each had survived the loss of long time spouses they now share their lives together in retirement.