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Janet was an only child of a couple who often moved from town to
town. Living in apartments, Janet was a bright child who skipped
several grades and finished high school when she was 15. As a
lonely child, she would spend much of her time at movie theaters.
She was a student, studying music and psychology, at the University
of the Pacific until she was "discovered" visiting her parents in
Northern California. Her father was working the desk at a ski
resort where her mother worked as a maid. Retired MGM actress Norma
Shearer saw a picture of Janet on the front desk and asked if she
could borrow it. This led to a screen test at MGM and a starring
role in 'The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947)'. MGM was looking for a
young naive country girl and Janet filled the bill perfectly. She
would play the young ingenue in a number of films and work with the
leading stars, including, 'Errol Flynn' (qv), 'Gary Cooper' (qv),
'James Stewart' (qv), 'Orson Welles' (qv) and 'Judy Garland' (qv).
Her career would include a number of successful movies including
'Little Women (1949)', Angels in the Outfield (1951), Scaramouche
(1952), Houdini (1953), 'The Black Shield of Falworth (1954)' and
many others. Janet would appear in many types of films, from
comedies to westerns to musicals to dramas. Of her more than fifty
movies, she would be remembered for the forty-five minutes that she
was on the screen in the small budget movie 'Psycho'. Directed by
'Alfred Hitchcock' (qv), this 1960 thriller would include the
shower scene that would become a film classic. Even though Janet is
killed off early in the picture, she would be nominated for an
Academy Award and receive a Golden Globe. Her next film would be
'The Manchurian Candidate (1962)' where she would star with 'Frank
Sinatra' (qv). For the rest of the decade, her appearances in films
would be rare, but she would work with 'Paul Newman' (qv) in
'Harper (1966)'. In the seventies, she would appear on the small
screen in a number of made for Television Movies.
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