Jan Sterling

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 ... Read more »
Born: 04/03/1921 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (27)

Piece Touchee 1988 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Dangerous Company 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

First Monday in October 1981 (Movie)

Christine Snow (Actor)

Backstairs at the White House 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Mantrap 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

The Incident 1967 (Movie)

Muriel Purvis (Actor)

Luxury Liner 1962 - 1963 (TV Show)

Actor

Love in a Goldfish Bowl 1961 (Movie)

Sandra Slide (Actor)

High School Confidential 1958 (Movie)

Arlene Williams (Actor)

The Female Animal 1958 (Movie)

Lily Frayne (Actor)

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue 1957 (Movie)

Madge Pitts (Actor)

1984 1956 (Movie)

Julia (Actor)

The Harder They Fall 1956 (Movie)

Beth Willis (Actor)

Female on the Beach 1955 (Movie)

Amy Rawlinson (Actor)

Man Without a Gun 1955 (Movie)

Nelly Bain (Actor)

Women's Prison 1955 (Movie)

Brenda Martin (Actor)

The High and the Mighty 1954 (Movie)

Sally McKee (Actor)

Alaska Seas 1953 (Movie)

Nicky (Actor)

Appointment With Danger 1951 (Movie)

Dodie (Actor)

The Big Carnival 1951 (Movie)

Lorraine (Actor)

Caged 1950 (Movie)

Smoochie (Actor)

Having Babies (TV Show)

Actor

Johnny Belinda (Movie)

Stella McCormick (Actor)

My Kidnapper, My Love (TV Show)

Actor

Mystery Street (Movie)

Vivian Heldon (Actor)

Sky Full of Moon (Movie)

Dixie Delmar (Actor)

The Mating Season (Movie)

Betsy (Actor)

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".

Relationships

William Allen Adriance

Father

Paul Douglas Editor

Husband
married from 1950 until his death in September 1959 father of her son Adams

Adams Douglas

Son
born in October 1955

John Merivale Actor

Husband
Married in 1941 divorced in 1948

Sam Wanamaker Actor

Companion
had relationship from c. 1960 to the 1980s remained married to his wife died in 1997

EDUCATION

Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art

educated in private schools in the USA

Milestones

1982

Final TV-movie, "Dangerous Company" (CBS), playing the mother of a reformed convict

1981

Last film acting role, as the wife of a US Supreme Court justice (Walter Matthau) in "First Monday in October"

1979

Portrayed First Lady Lou Hoover in the NBC miniseries "Backstairs at the White House"

1978

Cast in the short-lived Broadway production, "The November People"

1976

Acted in the ABC TV movie "Having Babies"

1969

Acted the part of the prostitute Molly in a revival of "The Front Page"

1968

Appeared on the CBS daytime drama "Guiding Light"

1967

Co-starred in "The Incident"

1958

Acted in "The Female Animal"

1956

Played title role in the syndicated TV series "Publicity Girl"

1956

Had female lead in the film adaptation of George Orwell's "1984"

1954

Garnered a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for "The High and the Mighty", playing a mail-order bride

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

1950

Co-starred in the women's prison drama "Caged"

1949

Assumed role of Billie Dawn in the Broadway comedy "Born Yesterday"

1948

Had featured role in "Johnny Belinda"

1947

First film role in "Tycoon"; billed as Jane Adrian

1947

Toured the USA as Billie Dawn in "Born Yesterday"

1944

Changed billing to Jan Sterling for appearance in "The Rugged Path"

1940

Still billed as Jane Sterling, had featured role in the Ethel Merman vehicle "Panama Hattie"

1939

Acted in the Broadway show "When We Are Married"

1938

Made Broadway debut billed as Jane Sterling in "Bachelor Born"

Toured as the overprotective mother of a blind man in "Butterflies Are Free"

Bonus Trivia

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

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