Hollywoods Golden Age Actress Jane Withers Dies at 95
The former child actress, who starred alongside James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in 1956’s movie ‘Giant’, was surrounded by loved ones at the time of her death.
AceShowbiz –Jane Withers has died. The Golden Age actress, who once appeared opposite Shirley Temple and James Dean, passed away at the age of 95 on Saturday, August 7 in Burbank, California.
Confirming Jane’s death was her daughter Kendall Errair. “My mother was such a special lady… She lit up a room with her laughter, but she especially radiated joy and thankfulness when talking about the career she so loved and how lucky she was,” Kendall said in a statement, noting that her mom was surrounded by loved ones at the time of her death.
Born on April 12, 1926 in Atlanta, Jane began her acting career when she was just three years old. At that time, she won a local contest called Dixie’s Dainty Dewdrop, which earned her a role on the Saturday-morning children’s show “Aunt Sally’s Kiddie Revue”.
Jane and her mother, who wanted the former to be a star, moved to Los Angeles just before Jane turned six so she could pursue a career in Hollywood. Her mom even named her Jane so that “even with a long last name like Withers, it would fit on a marquee.”
“Mother was determined to have only one child, a girl, who would go into show business, which she had wanted to do so much herself,” Jane said when speaking to PEOPLE in 1974. “In fact, Mother turned down several marriage proposals because the men wouldn’t go along with the plan.”
“When she was carrying me she’d study movie marquees trying to decide on a name to go with Withers. She taught me to sing, although she doesn’t sing on pitch herself,” the former child star went on. “Luckily I do, although I never know what key I’m singing in. She’d take me to the movies when I was 2 and 3 so I could learn.”
Jane got her big break after starring in the 1934 film “Bright Eyes” alongside Shirley. She also appeared in the 1956 movie “Giant” along with James, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. She was also known for portraying Josephine the Plumber in Comet commercials, which ran from 1963 to 1974.
Jane’s acting credits also included “Ginger”, “Paddy O’Day”, “Gentle Julia”, “Little Miss Nobody”, “Pepper”, “The Holy Terror”, “Angel’s Holiday”, “Checkers”, “Rascals” and “Always in Trouble”.
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