Born Jane Sterling Adriance in New York on April 3, 1921, actress Jan Sterling attended private schools as a child. In the late 1930s, she sailed to England to study acting and soon landed roles in the London theatre. Sterling married actor John Merivale (who starred in Circus of Horrors) in 1941, but by the time she started making movies, their marriage was finished and they divorced in 1948, when the starstruck beauty landed her first important film role in the 1948 tearjerker Johnny Belinda.
Sterling’s first film appearance of note came in the 1947 John Wayne film Tycoon, but she was not listed in the credits. After witnessing her performance in the Warner Bros. film Johnny Belinda the following year, Paramount executives signed Sterling to a long-term contract and began casting her in a series of film-noirs. A woman of style and culture, ironically she was at her best playing trashy ‘B’ girls. In 1950, with her film career established, Sterling married character actor Paul Douglas.Though she never became as famous Lana Turner or Rita Hayworth, she was another talented actress who developed a “bad girl” image. “The Human Jungle” is one of her films shown frequently on television in which she plays a nightclub stripper and gangster’s moll, typical of many of her films. She certainly had the seductive looks and svelte body to have been a stripper in real life.
In 1955, Jan Sterling won a Golden Globe for her performance in the John Wayne film The High and the Mighty. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the film. She and husband Paul Douglas welcomed the birth of their son during the same year, but Paul Douglas passed away suddenly in early 1959. Sterling’s film appearances diminished as she concentrated on her stage career and television work.
In the early 1970s, Sterling retired from films and television to act in the legitimate theater. Her final film was First Monday In October (1981). Sterling retired from the screen in the mid-1980s and in her later years suffered failing health.
Pert and perky Dorothy Lee was an appealing actress and musical performer who brought humor and vivacity to many films of the early Thirties.
Combining innocence with a spunky zest and cute, Betty-Boopish voice, she was particularly associated with the comedy team Wheeler and Woolsey, with whom she made 13 films, countering with ingenuous charm the insults and innuendos that were an inherent part of their act. Usually she was cast as Bert Wheeler’s sweetheart, and their musical duets were highlights of such early talkies as Rio Rita and Girl Crazy. Among the songs the couple introduced on the screen were the Gershwins’ “You’ve Got What Gets Me” and Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby’s “I Love You So Much”.VISIT: http://www.amazon.com/Dorothy-Lee-Films-Wheeler-Woolsey/
American actress Paulette Goddard, born Pauline Marion Levy, spent her teen years as a Broadway chorus girl, gaining attention when she was featured reclining on a prop crescent moon in the 1928 Ziegfeld musical Rio Rita. In Hollywood as early as 1929, Goddard reportedly appeared as an extra in several Hal Roach two-reel comedies, making confirmed bit appearances in a handful of these short subjects wearing a blonde wig over her naturally raven-black hair.
Continuing as a blonde, she appeared as a “Goldwyn Girl” in the 1932 Eddie Cantor film Kid From Spain, where she was awarded several close-ups.
Goddard’s career went into full gear when she met Charlie Chaplin, who was looking for an unknown actress to play “The Gamin” in his 1936 film Modern Times. Struck by the actress’s breathtaking beauty and natural comic sense, Chaplin not only cast her in the film, but fell in love with her. It is still a matter of contention in some circles as to whether or not Chaplin and Goddard were ever legally married (Chaplin claimed they were; it was his third marriage and her second), but whatever the case, the two lived together throughout the 1930s. There were whispers of Goddard’s dalliances with women, as well. She reportedly had an affiar with the Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo (“If only one of them had been blonde,” mused Salvador Dali, “they’d have made a perfectly beautiful couple!”); and in the late 1940′s, Goddard’s close friendship with actress Evelyn Keyes gave gossip-mongers something to talk about, especially when Goddard briefly moved into the home Keyes was sharing with then-boyfriend Peter Lawford, prompting rumors of a ménage à trois. As David Selznick’s chief of publicity, Russell Birdwell, had warned years earlier, when considering Goddard for Gone with the Wind: “I have never known a woman, intent on a career dependent upon her popularity with the masses, to hold and live such an insane and absurd attitude towards the press and her fellow man as does Paulette Goddard.” Goddard’s expert performances in such films as The Young in Heart (1938) and The Cat and the Canary (1939) enabled her to ascend to stardom without Chaplin’s sponsorship, but the role she truly craved was that of Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 epic Gone With the Wind. Unfortunately, that did not work out, and Vivien Leigh landed the part.
After working together in The Great Dictator (1940), Goddard and Chaplin’s relationship crumbled; by the mid-1940s she was married to another extremely gifted performer, Burgess Meredith. The actress remained a box-office draw for her home studio Paramount until 1949, when two disastrous vanity projects finished off her career as a major star. In Bride of Vengeance (1949), she played a heavily fictionalized Lucretia Borgia while decked out in some strange makeup and hairstyle choices; her longtime cosmetician tried to dissuade her, which only resulted in her dismissal. The film was crucified by the critics, with many commenting unfavorably about Goddard’s appearance. Its follow up, Anna Lucasta (1949), cast Goddard as a wanton floozy surrounded by even more sordid characters; the general consensus was that the germ of a good idea was lost amid heavy-handed direction and overheated acting. Presumably as a result of these recent flops she received a phone call at home telling her bluntly that her contract was dissolved. Goddard’s film appearances in the 1950s were in such demeaning “B” pictures as Vice Squad (1953) and Babes in Baghdad (1953). Still quite beautiful, and possessed of a keener intellect than most movie actors, she retreated to Europe with her fourth (or third?) husband, German novelist Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front). This union was successful, lasting until Remarque’s death. Coaxed out of retirement for one made-for-TV movie in 1972 (The Snoop Sisters), Goddard preferred to remain in her lavish Switzerland home for the last two decades of her life.
For almost two decades, Monica Lewis was the idealized, wholesomely sexy sound and image of apple-pie America, lending a curvaceous, dimpled smile and melodious voice of hope to thousands of U.S. troops through two of the 20th century’s greatest wars. She starred on the very first “Ed Sullivan Show” telecast, had numerous hit records including “Put the Blame on Mame”, “A Tree in the Meadow”, “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”, “Autumn Leaves” and “I Wish You Love”, and provided the memorable singing voice for the popular cartoon character, “Miss Chiquita Banana”.
Her debut at Manhattan’s legendary Stork Club and subsequent discovery by the “King of Swing”, Benny Goodman, who signed her to appear with his popular band. She quickly ascended as a radio vocalist and co-host on programs including “Beat the Band”, “The Revere Camera Hour” and “The Chesterfield Show”, sharing the microphone with Frank Sinatra. Monica became one of the country’s highest-flying songbirds, working with record labels such as Signature, Decca, Jubilee, Capitol and Verve to create numerous timeless hits and classic albums.
Her TV appearances included Ed Sullivan’s very first broadcast in 1948 and every major variety show opposite legends such as Bob Hope, Danny Thomas and the comedy duo of Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, with whom she first appeared at New York’s Copacabana.
Records and television led to movies and, in 1950, MGM signed Monica to an exclusive multimedia contract. She was groomed in true MGM style – given singing and romantic roles in such films as The Strip (1951) with Mickey Rooney, Inside Straight (1951) with Barry Sullivan and Excuse My Dust (1951) with Red Skelton. She also sang the title song in the Marge Champion and Gower Champion musical, Everything I Have Is Yours (1952), in which she became the only woman other than Marge to ever dance on screen with Gower. Additional appearances followed in Rendez-vous te middernacht (1953), starring Victor Mature and Jean Simmons, and The D.I. (1957) with Jack Webb.
Monica eagerly volunteered her talent for the war effort, becoming the darling of U.S. servicemen worldwide through the war bond drive, military radio broadcasts and a 1951 USO tour of South Korea with celebrated entertainer Danny Kaye. Back at home, she delighted the masses as a chart-topping jukebox chanteuse and Burlington Mills hosiery’s “Miss Leg-O-Genic”. Piel’s Light Beer, Camel Cigarettes, Pepsi-Cola and General Electric were among the many other major companies which sold their products with Monica’s visage and, for 14 years, she provided the tuneful voice of the animated “Miss Chiquita Banana” in a series of classic cartoon shorts which were shown in movie theaters.
From an insecure kid who could sing her heart out, and did, Monica matured into a woman of the world. She married colorful and innovative MCA/Universal Studios production executive Jennings Lang in 1956 and became a featured player in several of her husband’s blockbuster Universal movies, including Charley Varrick (1973), Rollercoaster (1977), The Concorde… Airport ’79 (1979) and the Top 100 box-office hit, Earthquake (1974). In the 1980s and 1990s, Monica made a few choice cabaret appearances and recorded several new albums, among them “My Favorite Things”, “Monica Lewis Swings Jule Styne” and “Why Did I Choose You?”, a tribute to her 40-year marriage to Lang. Monica recently completed her photo-filled memoir, “Hollywood Through My Eyes,” which is now available from Cable Publishing. TEXT by Loulou Singerling
Be it the sophisticated Screwball comedies, the turgid dramas, or the shadow filled Film Noirs, for more than five decades Barbara Stanwyck strode above her peers , and was subordinate to no one. “Career is too pompous a word. It was job, and I had always felt privileged to have been paid for doing what I loved doing”, she told Hedda Hopper, “attention embarrasses me, I don’t like to be on display!”
More than any of the “classic” actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Era, Barbara Stanwyck personified the “tough guy” images attributed to her male counterparts. Often deceiving, but never deceived, she was the match for any of them! VISIT: http://www.moderntimes.com/bab/
@Click Here to VISIT: monicavitti.com
Michelangelo Antonioni’s stylish, elegant 60′s muse Monica Vitti portrayed affluent, emotionally-conflicted women in several Italian films. Her best-remembered roles were in L’AVVENTURA (1960), LA NOTTE (1961), L’ECLISSE (1962), and RED DESERT (1964). She also played a sexy, fashionably-dressed secret agent in the 1966 comedy thriller MODESTY BLAISE.
Lina Romay was an actress and singer in the 1940s and 50s, with Columbia and MGM. Though she was born in New York, she was daughter to the Mexican Consul to New York City and was typically cast as a Latin American beauty. She sang with Xavier Cugat’s orchestra in the early 1940s. You may have seen her singing with the band in the Fred Astaire/Rita Hayworth flick You Were Never Lovelier (1942) or in Stage Door Canteen (1943).
Film and television star Jennifer Aniston began her acting career in 1989. By 1994, it looked like the leggy actress was destined for a life of obscure parts in doomed television sitcoms. Despite being asked to audition for the role of Monica Gellar in a pilot for a sitcom at that point titled “Friends Like These” (a role that would eventually be filled by Courteney Cox), Aniston insisted on trying out for the part of Rachel Green, a spoiled suburbanite turned spunky coffee house waitress. The rest, as they say, is history — “Friends Like These” would become the mega-hit Friends.