Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jan Sterling (1921-2004)

One of Hollywood's more talented and watchable actresses of the 50s, Jan Sterling didn't quite reach the top echelon of stardom but certainly endeared herself to audiences with her sexy pout and a combination of toughness and vulnerability that was a winning combination in both film-noir and saucy comedy.

Hair and Makeup test for Johnny Belinda (1948)

Caged (1950) with Eleanor Parker

Ace in the Hole (1951) with Kirk Douglas

Sterling's film-noir credits include Mystery Street (1950), Union Station (1950), Appointment with Danger (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), Split Second (1953) and The Harder They Fall (1956).

Rhubarb (1951)

Rhubarb (1951) with Ray Milland

Rhubarb (1951) with Ray Milland

Flesh and Fury (1952)

Flesh and Fury (1952) with Tony Curtis

with John Payne and Coleen Gray in The Vanquished (1953)

Alaska Seas (1954) with Brian Kieth

I personally find this picture from a 1952 magazine layout hilarious. It raves about how easily this "tiny" microphone, which must weigh every bit of 5 pounds and has a 4 foot antenna, can be hidden in one's clothing.

1984 (1956)

1984 (1956) with Edmond O'Brien

1984 (1956)

High School Confidential! (1958)

High School Confidential! (1958) with Diane Jergens

High School Confidential! (1958) with Russ Tamblyn and Mamie Van Doren

Jan with husband Paul Douglas at a movie premier

After the death of husband Paul Douglas in 1959, Jan's movie career slowed down and she refocused on stage, television and humanitarian causes. In the 70s, she began a romantic relationship with actor Sam Wanamaker. They never married but stayed together until his death in 1993. After having been inactive for nearly two decades, Jan made an appearance at the Cinecon Film Festival in Los Angeles in the fall of 2001, still charming audiences at the age of 80. On 26 March 2004, Jan Sterling passed away at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She was 83.

Jan with husband Paul Douglas and actress friend Merry Anders

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