Hollywood and Broadway star Janis Paige dies aged 101
Posted by  badge Boss on Jun 04
Janis Paige his died after a 60-year-career

Hollywood actress and Broadway star Janis Paige has died aged 101.

One of the last surviving stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood starred in many movies over her 60-year career including The Pajama Game, the Doris Day comedy Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and Silk Stockings, in which she danced with the late Fred Astaire. The actress continued working into her 80s.

Paige, born Donna Mae Tjaden, died of natural causes at her home in Los Angeles on Sunday, her friend Stuart Lampert said.

After starring in amateur shows as a child in Washington, Paige moved to Los Angeles.

While singing for servicemen at the Hollywood canteen in the 1940s, the pin-up model was first discovered. After signing a contract with Warner Brothers, she began starring in films starting with 1944’s Bathing Beauty. Two years later, she got her first lead role in Her Kind of Man playing a singer.

She went on to have parts in Cheyenne, Winter Meeting playing Bette Davis, One Sunday Afternoon, The House Across the Street, Fugitive Lady, Mister Universe and Two Gals and a Guy.

Paige made her first movie in 1944 (Picture: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
Her Kind Of Man was Paige’s first leading role (Picture: LMPC via Getty Images)

In 1951, she was released to pursue theatre and spent much of her career alternating between the two mediums.

Her notable theatre productions include Mame, Guys and Dolls, and Gypsy: A Musical Fable.

In 1955-1956, she starred in her own television sitcom, It’s Always Jan, playing a widowed nightclub singer trying to take care of her young daughter. Paige also made appearances in All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the soap General Hospital.

Janis Paige and Fred Astaire dancing together(Picture: Shutterstock/Rex)
Paige did TV, films, and theatre (Picture: American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images)

Paige, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, spoke about what it was like to perform with Astaire in Silk Stockings. She revealed in a 2016 interview with that he didn’t know she wasn’t a classically trained dancer.

‘Fred never knew it, but he was so great. He would come in the morning and say, “I have a great idea for a step. You think you can do this?”

‘I never said no to him. I wouldn’t dare say no to Fred Astaire. Especially when we did the end of it, when you have to catch the chandelier and swing out over all those people. He showed me and said, “You think you can do that?” And I said, “Sure, I can do that.” Not knowing if I was going to fall on my face or not. I didn’t.’

Paige and Dorothy Malone in One Sunday Afternoon in 1948 (Picture: Warner Bros./De Carvalho Collection/Getty Images)
Ron Randell and Janis Paige in Follow The Boys (Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)
Paige spoke during the Me Too movement (Picture: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Paige grew up with a single mother, who worked at the Bank of Tacoma after her father left, which inspired her to work hard in her career

‘We always had enough to eat but nothing to spare. My mother worked so hard,’ she told the Saturday Evening Post.

‘And she used to keep saying that she wished I’d been born a boy, so I could help out more. I always wanted to be a success for her, to make up for my father.’

Paige was married three times (Picture: Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Paige was married three times to restauranter Frank Martinelli Jr. between 1947 and 1951, It’s Always Jan writer and producer Arthur Stander from 1956-1957, and finally, composer Ray Gilbert from 1962 until his death after open-heart surgery in 1976. 

In 2018, she added her voice to the important Me Too movement. She alleges that Alfred Bloomingdale assaulted her when she was 22.

‘At 95, time is not on my side, and neither is silence. I simply want to add my name and say, Me too,’ she said.