Image of Jan Sterling

Jan Sterling

Most active in films during the 1950s, Sterling received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The High and the Mighty (1954), and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the same performance. Her career declined during the 1960s, however she continued to play occasional roles for television and theatre. Early life Sterling was born Jane Sterling Adriance in New York City, into a well-to-do family. She was educated in private schools before heading to Europe with her family. She was schooled by private tutors in London and Paris, and was enrolled in Fay Compton's dramatic school in London. Acting career As a teenager she returned to Manhattan, and using variations of her given name, such as Jane Adriance and Jane Sterling, began her career by making a Broadway appearance in Bachelor Born, and went on to appear in such major stage works as Panama Hattie, Over 21 and Present Laughter. In 1947, she made her film debut in Tycoon, billed as Jane Darian. Ruth Gordon reportedly insisted she change her stage name and they agreed upon Jan Sterling. She played a prominent supporting role in Johnny Belinda (1948). Alternating between films and television, Sterling appeared in several television anthology series during the 1950s, and played film roles in Caged (1950), Mystery Street (1950), The Mating Season (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), Flesh and Fury (1952), The Human Jungle (1954), and Female on the Beach (1955). Often cast as hard and determined characters, she played a more sympathetic character in Sky Full of Moon (1952). In 1950, she was cast as Ruth in the ABC western series The Marshal of Gunsight Pass, with Russell Hayden and Eddie Dean. Sterling's character is the girlfriend of Deputy Roscoe played by veteran western film star Roscoe Ates. The series was telecast live from a primitive studio lot at the Iverson Ranch at Chatsworth, California. Sterling in The High and the Mighty In 1954 Sterling was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The High and the Mighty. Later that 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. During the following years, she appeared regularly in films such as Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Kathy O, and The Female Animal. In 1963, she guest starred as Nurse Murdoch in the episode "Millions of Faces" on the ABC medical drama about psychiatry, Breaking Point. In 1967, she and Tisha Sterling (no relation, the daughter of Robert Sterling and Ann Sothern) appeared in the episode "Eleven Miles to Eden" of NBC's western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan. In late 1968, she began portraying the role of conniving 'Miss Foss' in the long-running CBS soap opera, The Guiding Light. She retired from films in favor of the stage in 1969 and returned to television in 1979 to portray Lou Henry Hoover in the miniseries Backstairs at the White House. Sterling's marriage to John Merivale ended in divorce, and her career began to decline after the death of her second husband, the actor Paul Douglas, in 1959. In the 1970s, she entered into a long-lasting personal relationship with Sam Wanamaker. Inactive for nearly two decades, she made an appearance at the Cinecon Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2001. Sterling's later life was marked by illness and injury that included diabetes, a broken hip and a series of strokes. Her only child, Adams Douglas, died in 2003, and Sterling died the following year in Los Angeles, California, aged 82. She is interred in the Garden of Actors Churchyard Cemetery in London, England.

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Apr 3, 1921 In New York City, New York, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Johnny Belinda 1948-09-14
Latest Project:
Movie First Monday in October 1981-08-21
Known For
Poster of Sammy Somebody
Poster of The Minx
Poster of Love in a Goldfish Bowl
Poster of The Marshal of Gunsight Pass
Movie First Monday in October Christine Snow 1981-08-21
Series Backstairs at the White House Lou Hoover 1979-01-29
Series Three's Company Judge Sheffield 1977-03-15
Series The Incredible Hulk Unknown 1977-11-04
Movie Sammy Somebody 1976-09-03
Series Little House on the Prairie Unknown 1974-09-11
Series The Brian Keith Show Unknown 1972-09-15
Series Kung Fu Unknown 1972-10-14
Movie The Minx Louise Baxter 1969-11-21
Movie The Angry Breed Gloria Patton 1968-06-07
Series Hawaii Five-O Unknown 1968-09-20
Series Mannix Unknown 1967-09-16
Movie The Incident Muriel Purvis 1967-11-05
Series Run for Your Life Unknown 1965-09-13
Series Vacation Playhouse Unknown 1963-07-22
Series Burke's Law Unknown 1963-09-20
Series Breaking Point Unknown 1963-09-16
Series You're in the Picture Unknown 1961-01-20
Movie Love in a Goldfish Bowl Sandra Slide 1961-07-12
Series Riverboat Unknown 1959-09-13
Series Adventures in Paradise Unknown 1959-10-05
Movie High School Confidential! Arlene Williams 1958-05-30
Movie The Female Animal Lily Frayne 1958-01-22
Movie Kathy O' Celeste Saunders 1958-09-24
Series Naked City Unknown 1958-09-30
Movie Slaughter on 10th Avenue Madge Pitts 1957-09-01
Movie 1984 Julia of the Outer Party 1956-03-06
Movie The Harder They Fall Beth Willis 1956-05-09
Movie Female on the Beach Amy Rawlinson 1955-08-19
Movie Women's Prison Brenda Martin 1955-02-01
Series Alfred Hitchcock Presents Unknown 1955-10-02
Movie Man with the Gun Nelly Bain 1955-11-05
Movie Alaska Seas Nicky Jackson 1954-01-27
Movie Return from the Sea Frieda 1954-07-28
Movie The High and the Mighty Sally McKee 1954-07-03
Movie The Human Jungle Mary Abbott 1954-10-03
Series Climax! Unknown 1954-10-07
Series General Electric Theater Unknown 1953-02-01
Movie Pony Express Denny Russell 1953-01-01
Series The Academy Awards Unknown 1953-03-18
Series Letter to Loretta Unknown 1953-09-20
Movie Split Second Dorothy 'Dottie' Vale 1953-05-02
Movie The Vanquished Rose Slater 1953-06-03
Movie Flesh and Fury Sonya Bartow 1952-03-27
Series The Jackie Gleason Show 1952-09-20
Series This Is Your Life Unknown 1952-10-01
Movie Sky Full of Moon Dixie Delmar 1952-12-12
Movie The Mating Season Betsy 1951-01-12
Movie Ace in the Hole Lorraine Minosa 1951-06-29
Series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Unknown 1951-10-05
Movie Rhubarb Polly Sickles 1951-08-29
Movie Appointment with Danger Dodie 1950-04-07
Movie Caged Smoochie 1950-05-19
Series The Marshal of Gunsight Pass 1950-03-12
Movie Mystery Street Vivian Heldon 1950-06-23
Series Lux Video Theatre Unknown 1950-10-02
Movie Union Station Marge Wrighter 1950-10-04
Movie The Costume Designer 1950-07-13
Movie The Skipper Surprised His Wife Rita Rossini 1950-06-29
Movie Johnny Belinda Stella McCormick 1948-09-14