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Also Known As: Jane Adrian, Jane Sterling, Jane Sterling Adriance Died: March 26, 2004
Born: April 3, 1921 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

While she hailed from a well-to-do NYC family, actress Jan Sterling carved a niche playing tough-as-nails women in 1950s films noir. While still in her teens, she made her Broadway debut (billed as Jane Sterling) in 1938's "Bachelor Born". Over the next decade, the actress amassed an impressive resume of parts in drama and musicals, notably supporting Ethel Merman in "Panama Hattie" (1941) and touring as Billie Dawn in "Born Yesterday" in 1947. That same year, Sterling (billed as Jane Adrian) made her feature debut in "Tycoon". Often a peroxide blonde, the actress went on to essay the wife of a rapist in "Johnny Belinda" (1948) and gave strong performances as a corrupt inmate in "Caged" (1950) and a floozy who meets an untimely end in "Mystery Street" (also 1950). Billy Wilder elicited one of her best screen portrayals as the uncaring spouse of a man (Richard Benedict) trapped in a cave-in in "The Big Carnival/Ace in the Hole" (1951). Three years later, Sterling garnered her only Oscar nomination as a mail-order bride with a past in "The High and the Mighty".After traveling to London to undertake the female lead in the 1956 screen adaptation of George Orwell's "1984", Sterling starred in the title...

While she hailed from a well-to-do NYC family, actress Jan Sterling carved a niche playing tough-as-nails women in 1950s films noir. While still in her teens, she made her Broadway debut (billed as Jane Sterling) in 1938's "Bachelor Born". Over the next decade, the actress amassed an impressive resume of parts in drama and musicals, notably supporting Ethel Merman in "Panama Hattie" (1941) and touring as Billie Dawn in "Born Yesterday" in 1947. That same year, Sterling (billed as Jane Adrian) made her feature debut in "Tycoon". Often a peroxide blonde, the actress went on to essay the wife of a rapist in "Johnny Belinda" (1948) and gave strong performances as a corrupt inmate in "Caged" (1950) and a floozy who meets an untimely end in "Mystery Street" (also 1950). Billy Wilder elicited one of her best screen portrayals as the uncaring spouse of a man (Richard Benedict) trapped in a cave-in in "The Big Carnival/Ace in the Hole" (1951). Three years later, Sterling garnered her only Oscar nomination as a mail-order bride with a past in "The High and the Mighty".

After traveling to London to undertake the female lead in the 1956 screen adaptation of George Orwell's "1984", Sterling starred in the title role of the syndicated TV series "Publicity Girl". While she continued to act up to the 1980s, she tended to concentrate more on stage work (i.e., touring as the mother in "Butterflies Are Free"), accepting the occasional film and TV role. In 1967, she was among the ensemble of "The Incident" (1967), about a crime that occurs on a NYC subway, and she was one of the few big name stars to grace the small screen in a regular role on a soap opera when she joined the cast of CBS' "The Guiding Light" in 1969. Ten years later, she essayed the role of First Lady Lou Hoover in the NBC miniseries "Backstairs at the White House". In 1981, she had her last screen role (to date), playing the wife of a US Supreme Court Justice (played by Walter Matthau) in the comedy "First Monday in October" and the following year, she made her last TV appearance (to date) as the mother of a reformed convict (Beau Bridges) in the CBS drama "Dangerous Company".

Sterling was married twice, first to actor John Merrivale (from 1941 to 1948) and then to actor Paul Douglas (from 1950 until his death in 1959).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Piece Touchee (1989) Herself
2.
 Dangerous Company (1982) Ray'S Mother
3.
 First Monday in October (1981) Christine Snow
4.
 My Kidnapper, My Love (1980) Letty Fairlain
5.
 Sammy Somebody (1976)
6.
 Having Babies (1976) Mrs Fontreil
7.
 The Minx (1969) Louise Baxter
8.
 The Angry Breed (1968) Gloria Patton
9.
 The Incident (1967) Muriel Purvis
10.
 Love in a Goldfish Bowl (1961) Sandra Slide
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1938:
Made Broadway debut billed as Jane Sterling in "Bachelor Born"
1939:
Acted in the Broadway show "When We Are Married"
1941:
Still billed as Jane Sterling, had featured role in the Ethel Merman vehicle "Panama Hattie"
1945:
Changed billing to Jan Sterling for appearance in "The Rugged Path"
1947:
First film role in "Tycoon"; billed as Jane Adrian
1947:
Toured the USA as Billie Dawn in "Born Yesterday"
1948:
Had featured role in "Johnny Belinda"
1949:
Assumed role of Billie Dawn in the Broadway comedy "Born Yesterday"
1950:
Co-starred in the women's prison drama "Caged"
1951:
Offered a terrific turn as the trampy wife of a man trapped by a cave-in in "The Big Carnival", directed by Billy Wilder
1954:
Garnered a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for "The High and the Mighty", playing a mail-order bride
1956:
Had female lead in the film adaptation of George Orwell's "1984"
1956:
Played title role in the syndicated TV series "Publicity Girl"
1958:
Acted in "The Female Animal"
1967:
Co-starred in "The Incident"
1969:
Appeared on the CBS daytime drama "Guiding Light"
1970:
Acted the part of the prostitute Molly in a revival of "The Front Page"
:
Toured as the overprotective mother of a blind man in "Butterflies Are Free"
1976:
Acted in the ABC TV movie "Having Babies"
1978:
Cast in the short-lived Broadway production, "The November People"
1979:
Portrayed First Lady Lou Hoover in the NBC miniseries "Backstairs at the White House"
1981:
Last film acting role, as the wife of a US Supreme Court justice (Walter Matthau) in "First Monday in October"
1982:
Final TV-movie, "Dangerous Company" (CBS), playing the mother of a reformed convict
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art: -

Notes

Some sources list 1923 as the year of Ms. Sterling's birth.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
John Merivale. Actor. Married in 1941; divorced in 1948.
husband:
Paul Douglas. Actor. Married from 1950 until his death in September 1959; father of her son Adams.
companion:
Sam Wanamaker. Actor. Had relationship from c. 1960 to the 1980s; remained married to his wife; died in 1997.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Allen Adriance.
son:
Adams Douglas. Born in October 1955.

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