Janet Carroll (December 24, 1940 May 22, 2012) was an American film, stage and television character actress. Janet Carroll's career spanned more than four decades and included major roles in Broadway musicals and Hollywood productions, but was perhaps most recognized for her portrayal of the oblivious mother of Joel (Tom Cruise) in the 1983 film Risky Business. Carroll was born and raised in Chicago, where she received formal theatrical training and began acting professionally in the late 1960s, appearing in numerous productions in local theaters. She then became a regular at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, where she acted during five seasons. Vocally, she began classical training at age 12 with Dr. Greta Allum in Chicago. Over the years she continued building and expanding her voice and repertoire in formal study with Douglas Susu-Mago.