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."