It’s nice to know that Janis Paige is still with us, at the age of 97.
We all have performers we like and whom we feel should have been bigger stars, and Janis Paige falls into that category for me.
She was at MGM briefly in the early 40s before working for Warner Brothers who never saw her as a potential headliner despite a bright personality and a great singing voice.
Having appeared In films like Romance On The High Seas, One Sunday Afternoon, The Time The Place and the Girl, Janis departed Hollywood in 1951 and started treading the boards.
In 1954, she starred in the Broadway smash hit, The Pajama Game, opposite John Raitt, but in the film version, the role of ‘Babe Williams’ went to Doris Day.
Alternating between nightclubs and musicals, Janis also had her own TV series, “It’s Always Jan” in 1955, an episode of which is on You Tube. She plays a single mother trying to make a success in show business. It looked fun.
In 1957, MGM finally took notice and gave her a good role in Silk Stockings ( seems a shame they never used her before this, though maybe Dolores Gray got the parts Janis would have been up for.)
She showed she could handle comedy and joined Fred Astaire in the great production number, “Stereophonic Sound”.
Janis had another smallish role in the MGM 1960 film, Please Don’t Eat The Daisies, as a Broadway Star tempting David Niven.
With Wayne Morris in “The House Across the Street.”
Would like to see this film. I know it’s out on a dvd double bill.
Janis took over from Angela Lansbury in MAME on Broadway in 1968.
Janis made many TV appearances, up to 2001 – shows like Wagon Train, Columbo, The Fugitive, The Dick Powell Show, – and was still doing cabaret in 2010 when she was 88.
Janis was married to Disney composer, Ray Gilbert who died in 1976 and left Janis his Ipanema Music Company.
And as of 2020, one can read about Janis’s life and career in a new book, “Reading Between the Lines.” ( details on her Facebook page.)
I love this number Janis does in “Cheyenne”, ( Dennis Morgan looking on.)