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Overview for Jan Sterling
Jan Sterling

Jan Sterling



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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: Cast ... actor


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).

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