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JANET GAYNOR

Academy Award Winner "A Star is Born"
Click to enlarge
Original Vintage Early 30's Photo.
Clarence Sinclair Bull Stamp on reverse.
Semi-Matte 8" x 10"
Vintage Original 8" x 10" Photo -- Not a copy!!

Biography for
Janet Gaynor


Height:  5'
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Mini biography
Janet Gaynor was born with the given name of Laura Gainor on October 6, 1906 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At a young age, Janet's parents left the East Coast for San Francisco, California where she graduated from high school in 1923. She then moved to Los Angeles where she enrolled in a secretarial school. She then went to work at a shoe store in L.A. for the sum of $18 per week. But being in the area of stars and studios, she wanted to try her hand with acting. She managed to land bit parts in several films and comedy shorts, where she wasn't acknowledged in the opening credits. She did this for two years but it never really bothered her. As the old saying goes, "All good things to those who wait." She didn't have to wait too long either. In 1926, at the age of 20, Janet was cast as the leading lady in the film THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD. Playing the character of Anna Burger, she turned in a superb performance. The Hollywood moguls knew they had a top star on their hands and cast her in several other leading roles that year in movies such as THE SHAMROCK HANDICAP, THE BLUE EAGLE, THE MIDNIGHT KISS, and THE RETURN OF PETER GRIMM. Once again, in 1927, Janet turned in well performed roles in SEVENTH HEAVEN and SUNRISE. Based on the strength of those two films plus 1928's STREET ANGEL gave her the very first Academy Award for Best Actress. (This was the first and only time an actress won the Oscar for multiple roles. Emil Jennings won for THE WAY OF ALL FLESH and THE LAST COMMAND for the Best Actor category, also the only time this has happened.) When the 'talkies' took the place of silent films, Janet was one of the few who made a successful transition because of not only her great acting ability but her charming voice sounded good. Without a doubt, Janet had already lived a true rags-to-riches story. All through the middle 1930's she was still the top draw at the theaters. She turned in grand performances in several mediocre films and then came 1937's A STAR IS BORN. Janet was very convincing as Vicki Lester (aka Esther Blodgett) as a struggling actress trying for the big time. In one scene her character heads to Central Casting Corporation to try to register as a bit player. The receptionist tells her that many women call to get jobs and takes her to the switchboard where she hears the many operators tell callers to try again later. As they leave the receptionist tries to gently discourage her by saying, You know what your chances are? One in a hundred thousand." To which Esther/Vicki replies, "But maybe-- I'm that one." Of course her character does make it big after taking the hard road, something that Janet didn't have to do in real life. For this outstanding performance she was nominated for another Oscar but it was won by Luise Rainer for THE GOOD EARTH, her second in as many tries. After appearing in THE YOUNG IN HEART in 1938, Janet didn't appear in another film until 1957 in BERNARDINE. She knew when it was time to leave keeping her legacy sparkling. Her last work was on Broadway in HAROLD AND MAUDE. Although the play was a flop, it was Janet's performance that salvaged the play to any degree. She still had what it took to entertain the public. On September 14, 1984, Janet passed away from pneumonia in Palm Springs, California at the age of 77.
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Mini biography
After graduating from high school in San Francisco, Janet moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at a Hollywood secretarial college. Eager to get into movies, she started working as an extra in comedy shorts. In 1925, she was hired by Fox and was cast in the 1926 'The Johnstown Flood'. In 1927 she would appear in 'Sunrise' as the wife in danger and in 'Seventh Heaven' as Diane. For those two movies and the 1928 'Street Angel', Janet would receive the first Oscar for Best Actress. She was to become one of the biggest stars at Fox. She would be teamed with Charles Farrell in 11 films altogether as she went from "the World's Sweetheart" to "America's favorite love-birds". When sound came in, Janet did not miss a beat and her voice translated well to sound. In most of these films, including the musical talkie 'Sunnyside Up (1929)', Janet would be the poor little waif who falls for Farrell. In 1934, she would be Hollywood's top box office attraction. But by then, Fox and Janet could not agree on the roles that were assigned to her and as her popularity waned, the roles became worse. She left Fox in 1936 and gave such a great performance in 'A Star Is Born (1937), that she was nominated for an Academy Award. By then, her first marriage was over and she would make only two more films. In 1939, she retired from the screen when she married Hollywood costume designer Gilbert Adrian. She would return to the screen only once more to make a guest appearance as Pat Boone's mother in 'Bernardine (1957)'.
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IMDb mini-biography by
Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>
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Spouse
'Paul Gregory' (1964 - ?)
Adrian (1939 - 1959) (his death), child: Robin
'Lydell Peck' (1929 - 1933)
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Trivia

Interred at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now called Hollywood Forever), Hollywood, California, USA, Section B, east side of lake.

She was injured in an auto accident along with Mary Martin in 1982. She never recovered.

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Actress. (b. Oct. 6, 1906, Philadelphia, as Laura Gainor; d. Sept. 14, 1984.) The winner of the first Best Actress Oscar for her cumulative work in Sunrise, Seventh Heaven (both 1927), and Street Angel (1928), Janet Gaynor attained stardom by virtue of her ability to project sweetness without becoming cloying. The petite, winsome actress was pretty but not beautiful, convincing but not charismatic, and dependable but not inspired. Growing up in San Francisco, she came to Hollywood after high school specifically to get into pictures. She took odd jobs and played bit parts in Hal Roach comedies and cheap Westerns, but her career finally took off when she was cast opposite George O'Brien in the spectacular The Johnstown Flood (1926). She found herself incorporated into the Fox Studio's "Irish Mafia," working with John Ford in The Shamrock Handicap with Ford and O'Brien in The Blue Eagle (both 1926), and with Charles Farrell in the smash hit Seventh Heaven movingly playing a Parisian waif.

Gaynor was also a favorite of German director F. W. Murnau, who cast the diminutive actress in Sunrise (1927, again with O'Brien in this timeless classic, arguably the apogee of silent-film art) and Four Devils (1928). But Gaynor was best known for her on-screen teaming with Farrell, with whom she costarred in 10 films, among them Street Angel (1928), the moving Lucky Star and the jaunty musical Sunny Side Up (both 1929). Her delicate voice perfectly matched her dainty appearance, and she made the transition to talking pictures without trouble, although her type of screen heroine became an endangered species in the early 1930s.

She was superb as the orphan in Daddy Long Legs (1931) and made a strong im pression in the first screen version of State Fair (1933). Making two pictures a year through the mid 1930s, Gaynor was voted the movies' top box-office female star in 1934. After Ladies in Love (1936), Gaynor left Fox for freelance work. She received an Oscar nomination for A Star Is Born (1937), one of her most endearing and persuasive performances, but after appearing in Three Loves Has Nancy and Young in Heart (both 1938) she retired from the screen. She did make occasional radio and TV appearances, but returned to the big screen only once for a mother role in Bernadine (1957) at her old studio, 20th Century-Fox. Her second husband was designer Gilbert Adrian, and she later married producer Paul Gregory. Gaynor died following complications from a car crash that also injured actress Mary Martin.
 

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