Friday, March 12, 2010

Actress Dorothy Janis Dies

According to Alt Film Guide and other websites, actress Dorothy Janis has died. Janis was widely regarded as one of the last living actors who had at least one major adult role in a silent film. Janis was thought to be 100 years old, and was the widow of the once popular bandleader Wayne King (known as the "Waltz King").

Janis, pictured right, was photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise in 1929.

Janis' film career was brief. The high point was a role as the half-white heroine in W. S. Van Dyke’s The Pagan (1929), one of Ramon Novarro’s big box-office hits. The Pagan was a transitional film - it has no dialogue but features a music score. 

Earlier, Janis had parts in three minor films. Her only sound film was Lummox (1930). It was based on the Fannie Hurst novel and was directed by Herbert Brenon.

Born in Texas, Dorothy Janis lived in Arizona at the time of her death. The Alt Film Guide page has a couple of clips from The Pagan. The film has also been made available through Warner Bros. Home Video (on demand), where a clip from the film can also be seen.

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  2. Here is Janis' obituary from The Arizona Republic: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/azcentral/obituary.aspx?n=dorothy-jones-king-dorothy-janis&pid=140683477

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