Ann Sothern

Ann Sothern (January 22, 1909 - March 15, 2001) was a American film actress.

Born Harriette Arlene Lake in Valley City, North Dakota, Sothern began her film career as an extra in silent films in 1927. In 1934 she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures but after two years the studio released her from this contract, and she was signed by RKO Pictures in 1936. After a string of films that failed to attract an audience, Sothern left RKO and was signed to MGM, making her first film for them in 1939.

In a role originally intended for Jean Harlow, Sothern was cast as "Maisie", a bold, brassy but somewhat scatter-brained showgirl who was also an amateur detective. After years of trying, Sothern had her first real success, and a string of "Maisie" film sequels and radio plays took her through to the late forties. She appeared in A Letter to Three Wives in (1949) and the film earned her excellent reviews, but did not stimulate her career.

By the fifties she was rarely seen in films and was appearing regularly in television. She was the lead in the series Private Secretary from 1953 until 1957, and The Ann Sothern Show from 1958 until 1959. Both programs were very successful and earned Sothern four Emmy Award nominations, but a bout of hepatitis had left her with a bloated and overweight appearance, and she preferred not to be seen. In 1965 she was heard as the voice of the car in the series My Mother The Car.

She resumed working sporadically on television until the mid 1980s, including a television remake of her earlier success A Letter To Three Wives. Her final film role was in The Whales of August in 1987. Her role as the neighbour of elderly sisters, played by Lillian Gish and Bette Davis, with romantic interest provided by Vincent Price, brought Sothern an Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination.

She retired from acting, and died at her home in Ketchum, Idaho from heart failure.

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - for Motion Pictures, at 1612 Vine St, and for Television, at 1634 Vine St.


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She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - for Motion Pictures, at 1612 Vine St, and for Television, at 1634 Vine St. After a long bout with diabetes, a broken hip, and a number of strokes, Jan Sterling died on March 26, 2004, in Los Angeles, California, a few days before her 84th birthday. She retired from acting, and died at her home in Ketchum, Idaho from heart failure. Inactive for nearly two decades, she made an appearance at the Cinecon Film Festival in Los Angeles in the fall of 2001. Her role as the neighbour of elderly sisters, played by Lillian Gish and Bette Davis, with romantic interest provided by Vincent Price, brought Sothern an Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination. They never married but stayed together until his death in 1993. Her final film role was in The Whales of August in 1987. In the 70s she entered into a strong personal relationship with actor Sam Wanamaker.

She resumed working sporadically on television until the mid 1980s, including a television remake of her earlier success A Letter To Three Wives. Herbert Hoover in the TV miniseries Backstairs at the White House. In 1965 she was heard as the voice of the car in the series My Mother The Car. She retired from films in favor of the stage in 1969 and returned before the cameras in 1976 to portray Mrs. Both programs were very successful and earned Sothern four Emmy Award nominations, but a bout of hepatitis had left her with a bloated and overweight appearance, and she preferred not to be seen. Married and divorced to actor John Merivale (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0580881/) in the 40s, Sterling's career slipped down after the death of her second husband, actor Paul Douglas, in 1959. She was the lead in the series Private Secretary from 1953 until 1957, and The Ann Sothern Show from 1958 until 1959. During the following years, she appears regularly in movies like Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Kathy O, and The Female Animal.

By the fifties she was rarely seen in films and was appearing regularly in television. Also the same year, she travelled to England to play the role of Julia in the first film version of George Orwell's 1984, despite being several months pregnant at the time. She appeared in A Letter to Three Wives in (1949) and the film earned her excellent reviews, but did not stimulate her career. In 1954 Sterling was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for her great performance in The High and the Mighty. After years of trying, Sothern had her first real success, and a string of "Maisie" film sequels and radio plays took her through to the late forties. Shuttling between films and television, she showed up in nearly all the major live anthologies of the 1950s, stood out in such 'bad girl' film roles in Caged (1950), The Big Carnival [aka 'Ace in the Hole'] (1951), Flesh and Fury (1952), The Human Jungle (1954), and Female on the Beach (1955), while making a more sympathetic impression in Sky Full of Moon (1952). In a role originally intended for Jean Harlow, Sothern was cast as "Maisie", a bold, brassy but somewhat scatter-brained showgirl who was also an amateur detective. In 1948 she broke into films supporting the Academy Award winner Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda, in a key, emotional role.

After a string of films that failed to attract an audience, Sothern left RKO and was signed to MGM, making her first film for them in 1939. Then, the actrees Ruth Gordon insisted she change her stage name and the two hit upon 'Jan Sterling'. Born Harriette Arlene Lake in Valley City, North Dakota, Sothern began her film career as an extra in silent films in 1927. In 1934 she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures but after two years the studio released her from this contract, and she was signed by RKO Pictures in 1936. Seldom cast in passive roles, Sterling was at her best in parts calling for hard-bitten, sometimes hard-boiled determination. Ann Sothern (January 22, 1909 - March 15, 2001) was a American film actress. As a teenager she returned to Manhattan, and billed as Jane Sterling, made her first Broadway appearance in Bachelor Born and went on to appear in such major stage offerings as Panama Hattie, Over 21 and Present Laughter. In 1947, she made her movies debut in Tycoon, now billed as Jane Darian. She was schooled by private tutors in London and Paris, and was enrolled in Fay Compton's dramatic school in London.

Sterling was educated in private schools before heading to Europe with her family. Jan Sterling was born Jane Sterling Adriance on April 3, 1921, in New York City, NY, into a prosperous family. One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile stars, often cool and stunning blonde in Hollywood film noir movies of the 1940s and '50s, the actrees Jan Sterling ensured audiences of a real good time with her sexy roles in soaps, crime action and comedies.

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