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jeanne-crain

Jeanne Elizabeth Crain (May 25, 1925 – December 14, 2003) was an American actress whose career spanned from 1943 to 1975. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in the 1949 film Pinky, in which she played the leading role. She was also noted for her ability in ice skating.

Career

a12116_craig_05In 1944, Crain starred in Home in Indiana and In the Meantime, Darling. Her acting was critically panned, but she gained nationwide attention. It resulted in landing the leading role in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim in October 1944, a musical film which was eventually made with Betty Grable as the star.

Crain first received critical acclaim when she starred in Winged Victory (1944). She co-starred in 1945 with Dana Andrewsin the musical film State Fair, in which Louanne Hogan dubbed Crain’s singing numbers. After that, Crain often had singing parts in films, and they were invariably dubbed, in most cases by Hogan. Also in 1945, Crain starred in Leave Her to Heaven with Gene Tierney. Her ice skating ability was on display in the 1946 film, Margie, in which she and Conrad Janis danced around the ice rink as her boyfriend, Alan Young, slipped and stumbled his way along the ice.

a12116_craig_02In 1949, Crain appeared in three films — A Letter to Three Wives, The Fan, and Pinky, the latter earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Pinky was controversial, since it told the story of a light-skinned African American woman who passes for white in the Northern United States. Although Lena Horne and other black actresses were considered, producer Darryl F. Zanuckchose to cast a white actress for fear of racial backlash.

Crain starred opposite Myrna Loy and Clifton Webb in the 1950 biographical film Cheaper by the Dozen. Next, Crain paired with Cary Grant in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz film of the offbeat drama People Will Talk (1951). Despite Jeanne heavily campaigning for the female lead, Anne Baxter was initially cast in the part, but when she had to forfeit due to pregnancy, Crain was given the role after all. Shortly after, she starred in Charles Brackett‘s production The Model and the Marriage Broker (1951). Cast in May 1951, Crain was Brackett’s first choice for the role. Crain was reunited with Loy for Belles on Their Toes (1952), the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen.

a12116_craig_03While still at 20th Century Fox, Crain played a young wife quickly losing her mind amidst high-seas intrigue in Dangerous Crossing(1953), co-starring Michael Rennie. Crain then starred in a string of films for Universal Pictures, including a notable pairing with Kirk Douglas in Man Without a Star(1955).

Crain showed her dancing skills in 1955’s Gentlemen Marry Brunettes co-starring Jane Russell, Alan Young, and Rudy Vallee. The production was filmed on location inParis. The film was based on the Anita Loos sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Gentlemen Marry Brunettes was popular throughout Europe at the time and was released in France as A Paris Pour les Quatre (To Paris for the Four), and in Belgium as Cevieren Te Parijs. Later in the 1950s, Crain, Russell, and another actress formed a short-lived singing and dancing lounge act on the Strip in Las Vegas.

a12116_craig_04In 1956, Crain starred opposite Glenn Ford, Russ Tamblyn, and Broderick Crawford in the Western film The Fastest Gun Alive directed by Russell Rouse. In 1957, she played a socialite who helps a floundering singer and comedian (Frank Sinatra) redeem himself in The Joker Is Wild.

In 1959, Crain appeared in a CBS special television production of Meet Me in St. Louis. Also starring in the broadcast were Loy, Walter Pidgeon, Jane Powell, and Ed Wynn, with top billing going to Tab Hunter. Film roles became fewer in the 1960s as Crain went into semiretirement. She appeared as Nefertiti in the Italian production of Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile (1961) with Edmund Purdom and Vincent Price. During this period, Crain appeared – for the second time – as one of the mystery guests on the CBS game show, What’s My Line?, and made guest appearances on the NBC Western series, Riverboat, with Darren McGavin, and the ABC detective a12116_craig_01series,Burke’s Law, starring Gene Barry.

She starred again with Dana Andrews in Hot Rods To Hell (1967). Her last films were Skyjacked (1972) and The Night God Screamed (1975).

Legacy

Crain’s career is fully documented by a collection of memorabilia about her assembled by Charles J. Finlay, a longtime publicist at 20th Century Fox. The Jeanne Crain Collection resides at the Cinema Archives at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. These archives also hold the papers of Ingrid Bergman, Frank Capra,Clint Eastwood, and others.

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Notes

1943

The Gang’s All Here

Chorus Girl/Pool Party Guest

uncredited

1944

Home in Indiana

‘Char’ Bruce

 

In the Meantime, Darling

Margaret ‘Maggie’ Preston

 

Winged Victory

Helen

 

1945

State Fair

Margy Frake

a.k.a. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair
also Soundtrack

Leave Her to Heaven

Ruth Berent

 

1946

Centennial Summer

Julia Rogers

also Soundtrack

Margie

Marjorie ‘Margie’ MacDuff

also Soundtrack

1948

You Were Meant for Me

Peggy Mayhew

 

Apartment for Peggy

Peggy Taylor

also Soundtrack

1949

A Letter to Three Wives

Deborah Bishop

 

The Fan

Lady Margaret ‘Meg’ Windermere

a.k.a. Lady Windermere’s Fan

Pinky

Patricia ‘Pinky’ Johnson

Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress

1950

Cheaper by the Dozen

Ann Gilbreth

 

I’ll Get By

Jeanne Crain

uncredited
Cameo appearance

1951

Take Care of My Little Girl

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Erickson

 

People Will Talk

Deborah Higgins

 

The Model and the Marriage Broker

Kitty Bennett

 

1952

Belles on Their Toes

Ann Gilbreth

a.k.a. Belles on Their Toes: The Further Adventures of the Gilbreth Family

O. Henry’s Full House

Della Young

Segment The Gift of the Magi

1953

Dangerous Crossing

Ruth Stanton Bowman

 

Vicki

Jill Lynn

 

City of Bad Men

Linda Culligan

 

1954

Duel in the Jungle

Marian Taylor

 

1955

Man Without a Star

Reed Bowman

 

Gentlemen Marry Brunettes

Connie Jones/Mitzi Jones

also Soundtrack

The Second Greatest Sex

Liza McClure

also Soundtrack

1956

The Fastest Gun Alive

Dora Temple

 

1957

The Tattered Dress

Diane Blane

 

The Joker Is Wild

Letty Page

a.k.a. All the Way

1960

Guns of the Timberland

Laura Riley

 

1961

Twenty Plus Two

Linda Foster

a.k.a. It Started in Tokyo

Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile

Tenet/Nefertiti

Original title: Nefertiti, regina del Nilo

1962

Madison Avenue

Peggy Shannon

 

Pontius Pilate

Claudia Procula

Original title: Ponzio Pilato

1963

Invasion 1700

Helen

Original title: Col ferro e col fuoco
a.k.a. Daggers of Blood
a.k.a. With Fire and Sword

1967

Hot Rods to Hell

Peg Phillips

a.k.a. 52 Miles to Terror

1971

The Night God Screamed

Fanny Pierce

a.k.a. Scream

1972

Skyjacked

Mrs. Clara Shaw

a.k.a. Sky Terror

Television
Year Title Role Notes

1955

Star Stage

Nancy

1 episode

1956

The Ford Television Theatre

Joyce Randall

1 episode

1958

Playhouse 90

Daisy Buchanan

1 episode

Schlitz Playhouse of Stars

Ruth Elliot

1 episode

1959

Meet Me in St. Louis

Rose Smith

TV movie

Goodyear Theatre

Lila Babrek Barnes

1 episode

Riverboat

Laura Sutton

1 episode

1960-62

G.E. True Theater

Hope/Marion Miller

3 episodes

1963

The Dick Powell Theatre

Elsie

1 episode

1964-65

Burke’s Law

Amy Booth / Lorraine Turner / Polly Martin

3 episodes

1968

The Danny Thomas Hour

Frances Merrill

1 episode

The Name of the Game

Mrs. McKendricks

1 episode

1972

Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law

Lily MacMurdy

1 episode

Text and filmography table from Wikipedia

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When Jeanne Crain won a beauty contest in Long Beach, California in 1942 she knew nothing about the movies or acting. She was just a very pretty girl, that looked particularly good when wearing a bathing suit. On the other hand with luck on your side this could bring you a long way. A girl would have to extraordinary daft not to fit into a movie or other with looks like that.

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From the Norwegian magazine “Filmjournalen” – August 194701588_pinup_01


Jane Russell, Maurene O’Hara, Jeanne Crain, Laureen Bacall, Maria Montez and lots of others are all married to men who have had enough of microscopic bathing suits and lifted skirts. Other husbands on the other hand are still ever so liberal.

On the other hand, the divorced and unmarried women of Hollywood do as they please of course.

Donna Reed above looks pretty good in her revealing pin-up dress, the same can be said about Myrna Dell to the left here in a two piece bathing suit.
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The divorced Ava Gardner above is in a situation where she can do what she likes and she likes being a pin-up.

Not every husband are as generous as the trumpet king Harry James who on this touchy question answered simply, I’m not an egoist. When you think of the fact that he is married to the one and only Betty Grable, you must respect the man.
On the other hand one can find it ones heart to understand Jean Pierre Aumont too. He’s married to Maria Montez who have knack of landing roles requiring the flimsiest of costumes and it is well known fact that he can control his enthusiasm for these movies.

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Olga San Joan’s husband is among the moderate ones. The same can not be said about the censorship people. Olga’s scene in "Are You With It" about to be shot as this picture was taken stand a slimmer chance of surviving than pin-up photos of her.

Aumont did not on the other hand go as far as Mr. Martinelli who apart from owning a string of restaurants is married to Janis Paige. Martinelli put his foot down the moment he saw a picture of his wife in a pin-up pose. He started taking all phone calls from photographers both at the studio and at their home.
Bob Waterfield, the football player married to Jane Russell – one of the most shapely of all pin-ups, but alas now also the most censored one, has said stop. Thick woollen stockings and wide ulster’s for Jane from now on.

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Mr. Travilla, who is married to Donna Drake above is somewhat of a pest on the pin-up circuit, but he feels it would be a pity to deny other blokes a peek at his wife in a bathing suit. Nice of him, don’t you think boys.

Esther Williams on the other hand is married to Ben Gage and he thinks his wife looks so good in a bathing suit that it would be a downright shame to deny other men a peek.
Lana Turner is well known among the pin-up fans. Her first husband the jazz conductor Artie Shaw, couldn’t care less about how his wife was photographed, but her second husband, whom she married twice by the way, was dead against pin-up poses both time round. Lana found that grounds for a second divorce and her current husband Bob Topping has found saying nothing the best approach.

 

01588_pinup_04

01588_pinup_05
Lana Turner’s last husband Stephen Crane was furious when he saw pin-up pictures of his wife. Her current husband Bob Topping does wisely refrain from commenting on the subject at all.

01588_pinup_07
Barbara Drake is only 17 and has yet to experience the more difficult side of the pin-up business that creates problems for her older sisters.

01588_pinup_08
Yvonne de Carlo claims the whether she poses for pin-up images or not is her own business. On the other hand, she’s not married.

Yvonne de Carlo is unmarried and claims that the way she poses in photo studios is her own business.
Myra Bell hopes to be married and to James Stewart at that, and he doesn’t like pin-up photos at all, particularly not any of his wife to be. So Myra has requested other kinds of movie parts from now on.
The same has Olga San Joan done, and Humpray Bogard has promised that any photographer trying to take pictures of his Laureen Bacall half nude will end up in hospital.
Dick Powel, married to June Allyson is not the sharing kind, and William Price, Maureen O’Sullivan’s husband has made trouble for the Tarzan movies by denying his wife to appear in jungle costumes.
The war made Jeanne Crain popular among the soldier and textile ration posters of her hung in barracks all over the place, but that’s over now. Her husband has closed the door to any photographer and rumours has it anyone who gets too close will be shot through the keyhole.
Gene Tierney have left the pin-up business as well, Ava Gardner on the other hand is newly separated and does as she pleases.

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