When Joan Davis Became Jannie Duncan: A New Identity with a Dark Past

Too Smart to Be a Maid

During the 1960s, when Debbie was a teenager, her parents hired Joan to help out around the house. Joan was warm and trustworthy. In fact, when they went on family trips, the Carliners asked Joan to watch over their home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Debbie remembers her mother often saying that Joan was very intelligent — “too smart to be a maid.”


Source: Flickr

It was all too surreal for Debbie to see their beloved family friend on the front page of The Washington Post, in an article that claimed she was actually a criminal. According to the article, Joan’s real name was Jannie Duncan. And that was the least shocking thing Debbie read…

© 2019 History by Day all rights reserved