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Jan Sterling Biography and Filmography
Jan Sterling
Birthday: April 3, 1921
Birth Place: New York, New York, USA
Height: 5' 6"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Jan Sterling.
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One of Hollywood's more talented and watchable stars on screen was sullen, stick-thin 50s actress Jan Sterling who didn't quite reach the top echelon of stardom but certainly ensured audiences of a real good time with her sexy pout and flashy ways in soaps, film noir and saucy comedy. Jan was born Jane Sterling Adriance in Manhattan in 1921 to a well-to-do family. Her mother remarried when Jan was a youngster and the family relocated to Europe where Jan was schooled by private tutors in London and Paris. At 15, the teenager, who by this time possessed a strong British accent, was enrolled in Fay Compton's dramatic school in London. A strong-minded young lady with a heartfelt passion for acting, she returned to Manhattan to conquer Broadway and by the age of 17 had found her first ingénue role in "Bachelor Born," playing (naturally) a young British lady. Over the next 11 years, she dominated Broadway as proper British ladies while billing herself as Jane Adrian. One of her highlights was working with the legendary Ruth Gordon in 1942 in Ruth's first play entitled "Over 21." As Billie Dawn in the Chicago company of "Born Yesterday," Jan bowled over the critics and seemed almost a shoo-in to do the 1950 film version but she lost out in the end to Judy Holliday. The ash-blonde broke quickly into films supporting Oscar-winning Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948) in a key, emotional role. To her delight, her docile, ladylike image was finally behind her as she ventured on in movies playing cheap floozies, hard-bitten dames, and lethal schemers. She stood out in such 'bad girl' film roles as Caged (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), Flesh and Fury (1952), The Human Jungle (1954), and Female on the Beach (1955), while making a nicer, or at least a more sympathetic impression, in Sky Full of Moon (1952) and The High and the Mighty (1954), which earned her an Oscar nomination. Married and divorced to actor John Merivale in the 1940s, Jan's career slowed down considerably after the death of her second husband, actor Paul Douglas, in 1959. She refocused on stage and TV but at a slower step. She also involved herself in humanitarian causes. In the 70s, she entered into a strong personal relationship with actor Sam Wanamaker. They never married but stayed together until his death in 1993. 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.
Dangerous Company (1982)
First Monday in October (1981)
My Kidnapper, My Love (1980)
[ Glynnis O'Connor ]
Having Babies (1976)
[ Helen Hunt ][ Adrienne Barbeau ][ Jessica Walter ][ Linda Purl ][ Vicki Lawrence ]
Sammy Somebody (1976)
[ Susan Strasberg ]
Most Likely to Murder (1970)
The Minx (1969)
Love-In at Ground Zero (1969)
[ Tisha Sterling ]
The Angry Breed (1968)
The Incident (1967)
[ Donna Mills ]
American in Paris (1964)
Who Killed Alex Debbs? (1963)
[ Arlene Dahl ]
Doyle Against the House (1961)
Love in a Goldfish Bowl (1961)
[ Majel Barret-Roddenberry ]
The Annie Griffith Story (1959)
On the Nose (1958)
Kathy O' (1958)
High School Confidential! (1958)
[ Mamie Van-Doren ]
The Female Animal (1958)
[ Hedy Lamarr ][ Lorraine Burnett ]
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957)
The Shadow of Evil (1956)
Rebuke Me Not (1956)
She Married Her Boss (1956)
The Unfaithful (1956)
1984 (1956)
The Go-Between (1956)
The Harder They Fall (1956)
Women's Prison (1955)
[ Juanita Moore ]
Remember the Night (1955)
Man with the Gun (1955)
[ Angie Dickinson ]
Female on the Beach (1955)
[ Joan Crawford ]
Ferry to Fox Island (1955)
The Human Jungle (1954)
Return from the Sea (1954)
The High and the Mighty (1954)
Alaska Seas (1954)
Pony Express (1953)
The Vanquished (1953)
Split Second (1953)
Sky Full of Moon (1952)
[ Elaine Stewart ]
Flesh and Fury (1952)
Rhubarb (1951)
Ace in the Hole (1951)
Appointment with Danger (1951)
The Mating Season (1951)
[ Gene Tierney ]
The Skipper Surprised His Wife (1950)
Caged (1950)
[ Agnes Moorehead ][ Eleonor Parker ]
Union Station (1950)
Mystery Street (1950)
[ Elsa Lanchester ]
Johnny Belinda (1948)
[ Agnes Moorehead ][ Jane Wyman ]
  • Some sources give her year of birth 1921, others give 1923.
  • Son: Adams Douglas (1955 - 2003)
  • Known on stage as "Jane Adriance" until the 1940s. Her stage name was suggested by (Ruth Gordon), whose first suggestion was "Amethyst Adriance" because "you should name yourself after a gem." Instead, Sterling chose to drop the Adriance and shorten her first name to "Jan"; her character's name in the play in which she was appearing.
  • Has resided in London for many years. Was a good friend of the late Sam Wanamaker.
  • Critics raved about her portrayal of Billie Dawn in the Chicago touring company of "Born Yesterday" and Columbia brought Jan out to the West Coast to test for the 1950 film version. At one point, she was actually announced to play the part but the role ultimately went to the character's original player on Broadway, Judy Holliday, who went on to win the Oscar.
  • Made her singing debut in a tour of the musical "Silk Stockings" in 1962.
  • She's a descendant of two American presidents: John Adams and John Quincy Adams. In their honor, her son by actor Paul Douglas was named Adams Douglas.
  • Measurements: 35C-23-35 (during The High and the Mighty (1954)- 1954), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Her son, Adams Douglas, died just three months before her in 2004.
  • In 1968 she received the first annual achievement award of the Century Club, comprised of members of the American-Jewish Congress, which recongized her service in radio and telvision programs for the women's conference of the Jewish Federation-Council of Greater Los Angeles.

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