Jayalalithaa Jayaraman (24 February 1948 – 5 December 2016) was an Indian actor and politician who served five terms as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, for over fourteen years between 1991 and 2016. She was a leading actress before her entry into politics and appeared in 140 films from 1961 to 1980 primarily in the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries. She was considered a prolific and versatile actress having appeared in films of different genres and for performing wide variety of characters. She was also known for her dancing skills and was referred to as the queen of Tamil cinema.She was the general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and was popularly referred as Amma, Puratchi Thalaivi, Thanga Gopuram, Thanga Chillai and Thanga Tharagai (Golden Maiden) by her followers.

As an actress, she frequently worked with another actor-turned-politician, M. G. Ramachandran (MGR). This led to wide speculation that Jayalalitha was introduced to politics by MGR. However, she has denied these claims and stated that she had entered politics by choice. She was a member of the Rajya Sabha, nominated from Tamil Nadu, from 1984 to 1989. Soon after the death of MGR, Jayalalitha proclaimed herself his political heir. She is the second female chief minister of Tamil Nadu after Janaki Ramachandran.

In the 2011 assembly election, the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK and its allies routed the ruling, scandal-tainted DMK’s alliance. Sworn in as chief minister for the fourth time, her government embarked on an ambitious programme of social welfare and development. However, three months into her tenure, a trial court convicted her in a disproportionate assets case in September 2014, rendering her disqualified to hold office. After eight months, which included a twenty-day stint in jail, Jayalalithaa was acquitted of all charges by the Karnataka High Court and once again sworn-in as chief minister in May 2015. In the 2016 assembly election, she became the first Tamil Nadu chief minister since MGR in the 1980s to be voted back into office. That September, she fell severely ill and, following a 75-day period of hospitalisation, died on 5 December 2016 after failing to recover from a cardiac arrest. Her party-mate O. Panneerselvam succeeded her as chief minister.

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