-eyed star who won the first Academy Award for best actress for her roles in silent films and went on to become a leading performer in talking pictures, died yesterday at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 77 years old.
The actress, who lived in Palm Springs, had been in and out of hospitals since she was critically injured in a traffic accident in San Francisco in September 1982. Her physician, Dr. Bart Apfelbaum, said Miss Gaynor died of complications from the accident, in which she suffered 11 rib fractures and pelvic and abdominal injuries.
Miss Gaynor, who boasted that she “never had an acting lesson in my life,“ was one of the most popular leading ladies of film in the 1920’s and 30’s. She began her career as an extra when she was a teen-ager. By 1934 she was receiving a yearly salary of $252,583 from Fox Films, making her Hollywood’s most highly paid actress.
In 1928 the Oscars were first presented, and Miss Gaynor was named best actress. The award was for her roles in three films – “Sunrise“ and “Seventh Heaven,“ both made in 1927, and “Street Angel,“ released in 1928. 36 Films in 12 Years
“Seventh Heaven,“ in which Miss Gaynor played Diane, a Montmartre waif who is rescued from hardship and cruelty, made her a star.
There was no difficulty for Miss Gaynor in switching to the new talking pictures, and in 12 successive years she made 36 films for Fox, including “Daddy Longlegs,“ “Delicious,“ “State Fair,“ “The Next Best Thing“ and “The Farmer Takes a Wife.“
But Miss Gaynor eventually tired of being typecast in the endless comedies and musicals that exploited her special qualities of innocence, vulnerability and sweetness. In 1937, she left Fox to join David O. Selznik and make “A Star Is Born“ with Fredric March. It was to be one of her most memorable films, and she was nominated for another Academy Award. Writing in The New York Times when the movie opened, Frank S. Nugent called it “one of the year’s best shows.“
In 1932, she was married to Lydell Peck, a lawyer, in Hollywood. They were divorced in 1934.
In 1939, at age 33 and at the peak of her career, Miss Gaynor announced that she was retiring from acting. ‚I Wanted to Fall in Love‘
“I had been working steadily for 17 long years,“ she said later. “Making movies was really all I knew of life. I just wanted to have time to know other things. Most of all I wanted to fall in love. I wanted to get married. I wanted a child. And I knew that in order to have these things one had to make time for them. So I simply stopped making movies. Then as if by a miracle, everything I really wanted happened.“
Miss Gaynor made the statement in 1939, when she met and was married to Gilbert Adrian, the Hollywood fashion designer who was usually known by the single name Adrian.
“We fell in love,“ Miss Gaynor recalled. “We had a child. Suddenly, I was in a whole new world, a world that Adrian exposed me to. We traveled. I was now married to a man whose whole life was about glamour, art and high fashion.“
Miss Gaynor’s husband died in 1959, and she married Paul Gregory, the producer, in 1964. Stage Debut in ’59
After she left full-time acting, Miss Gaynor spent much of her time painting; she had several one-woman shows of her work at galleries in Palm Springs, Chicago and New York. Mostly she painted plants and flowers.
Miss Gaynor returned to acting, briefly, in 1959. It was her stage debut and, she recalled later, it was “a disaster.“ The play was “The Midnight Sun,“ and it closed in New Haven.
But the experience did not sour Miss Gaynor on the theater. Twenty years later she was offered a starring role in the Broadway production of “Harold and Maude,“ the story of an 80-year-old woman who has a relationship with an 18-year-old boy.
Reviewers liked Miss Gaynor but not the play. It closed after 21 performances. But Miss Gaynor continued to appear occasionally on the stage. In 1982 she starred in a touring production of “On Golden Pond.“ Worked for $50 a Week
That same year the automobile accident in San Francisco occurred. Mary Martin, Miss Gaynor’s closest friend for many years, was seriously injured, as was Mr. Gregory, but neither as seriously as Miss Gaynor. Miss Martin’s agent, Ben Washer, was killed. Miss Martin and Mr. Gregory fully recovered.
Miss Gaynor was born Laura Gainor on Oct. 6, 1906, in Philadelphia. Her family moved to Chicago and to Hollywood, where her stepfather was determined that she become a star. She made the rounds of the studios and eventually found work as an extra.
But soon she was given more to do. “Universal Pictures took me on to do small parts for $50 a week,“ she explained.
Fox executives noticed her work and called her in for a test for the second lead in “The Johnstown Flood.“
“Well, I did the test,“ she said, “and then and there they rushed me into an office and I was signed to a five-year contract. I was 18 and I was thrilled.“
In addition to her husband, Miss Gaynor is survived by a son, Robin Gaynor Adrian of Los Angeles.
Janet Gaynor’s death resulted from a 1982 traffic accident…
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Janet Gaynor’s death resulted from a 1982 traffic accident in San Francisco that killed one person and injured three others, including Gaynor and her good friend Mary Martin, the Riverside County Coroner’s Office said Friday.
‚The death was the direct result of complications which occurred from her injuries during the traffic accident,‘ Chief Deputy Coroner Carl Smith said, adding that the ruling had been entered on her death certificate.Advertisement
Gaynor, who won the first best actress Oscar, died Sept. 14 at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. She was 77.
The District Attorney’s Office in San Francisco said it was awaiting the results of a meeting Friday between Coroner Boyd Stephens and the Riverside County Coroner’s Office.
Smith said after the meeting that Stephens concurred with the findings that showed Gaynor had died from injuries caused by the traffic accident. The San Francisco coroner was expected to report his findings to the District Attorney’s Office next week, Smith said.
Stephens also examined the hospital records in Gaynor’s last illness and death, San Francisco Administrative Coroner Joseph Surdyka said.
The District Attorney’s Office said it wanted more information before it decides if the man responsible for the accident, Robert Cato, should be charged in her death.
He was scheduled for parole from a three-year prison term for drunken driving and vehicle manslaughter.
Cato drove a van that collided with the taxi carrying Martin, Gaynor and her husband, Paul Gregory, and Martin’s manager, Ben Washer. Washer was killed.
Gaynor’s injuries were the most serious, including 11 broken ribs, several pelvic fractures and major kidney and bladder damage.
JANET GAYNOR AND MARY MARTIN HURT IN CRASH
Mary Martin and Janet Gaynor, two of the most famous actresses of their time, were seriously hurt Sunday night in an automobile accident that killed Miss Martin’s personal manager and companion.
Ben Washer, a longtime friend of Miss Martin and her late husband, Richard Halliday, was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Paul Gregory, Miss Gaynor’s husband, was also injured.
The accident occurred about 7:30 Sunday evening when a speeding van hit their taxicab broadside, knocking it into a tree. The van’s driver, Robert Cato, 36, of San Francisco, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, felony drunken driving, reckless driving, speeding and running a red light.
Miss Gaynor, 77, the most seriously injured, was reported to be in stable but critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital with the outlook “very guarded“ after four hours of surgery.
“The outcome in her case will not be decided for many days,“ said Dr. Frank Lewis, chief of emergency services at the hospital. “She had multiple trauma and has needed nine pints of blood and she’s likely to need more. In a lady her age, the magnitude of the injuries is very critical.“
The Academy Award-winning actress had five broken ribs on the right side, six on the left, a right collarbone fracture, multiple pelvic fractures, a ruptured bladder and bleeding around the right kidney. Her breathing was being aided with a ventilator.
Miss Martin, 68, was in stable but serious condition, according to Leslie Lingass, a hospital spokesman. The actress had fractures to two right ribs and her pelvic bone, as well as contusions to a kidney. A broken rib had punctured her right lung.
In 1928, Miss Gaynor won the first Academy Award for best actress for her roles in the 1927 films “Seventh Heaven“ and “Sunrise“ and the 1928 movie “Street Angel.“ Before retiring from the screen in 1939, she appeared in numerous other films, including the original “A Star Is Born,“ “State Fair,“ “High Society Blues“ and “Daddy Longlegs.“
Miss Martin, known for her role as Nellie Forbush in the 1949 musical “South Pacific“ and as Peter Pan in the won three Tony Awards for her work on Broadway and three New York Drama Critics awards. She won an Emmy in 1955 for the television version of “Peter Pan.“ Her Broadway appearances included “Leave It to Me,“ in which she sang the show-stopping “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.“ She also starred in “One Touch of Venus,“ “Annie Get Your Gun“ and “The Sound of Music.“
The actor Larry Hagman, Miss Martin’s son, flew here from Los Angeles to be with his mother. Mr. Hagman plays “J.R.“ in the “Dallas“ television series, Producer Also Injured
Mr. Gregory, 62, a stage and film producer who married Miss Gaynor in 1965, suffered three right rib fractures and bruises to his right kidney. He was being held in the hospital’s intensive care ward because of an irregular heartbeat. Mr. Gregory produced such films as “The Night of the Hunter“ and “The Naked and the Dead.“
The San Francisco coroner’s office said only that Mr. Washer’s death was “due to traumatic injuries.“ Beginning in 1947, after serving as a drama editor for The New York World-Telegram and holding several publicity posts, including publicity director for the filmmaker Samuel Goldwyn, Mr. Washer ran his own publicity agency for a few years. He then worked for Rogers & Cowan in New York before becoming a press agent and manager for Miss Martin.
Dick Rector, a business associate of Miss Martin, said he believed Mr. Washer was riding beside the cab driver, and that Miss Gaynor was on the right side of the back seat, Miss Martin in the middle and Mr. Gregory on the left. The taxicab was hit on the right side. ‚I Just Never Moved Out‘
In a 1976 interview published in The San Francisco Chronicle, Mr. Washer said he went to visit Miss Martin after Mr. Halliday’s death ended the couple’s 33-year marriage in 1973.
“I just never moved out,“ he was quoted as saying. “Mary is not the kind of dame who can be alone.“ Mr. Rector, co-producer of “Over Easy,“ the television series of which Miss Martin is the co-host with Jim Hart, quoted her as describing Mr. Washer, 76, as “the oldest living baby sitter for the world’s oldest living baby.“ Mr. Rector said Mr. Washer “managed everything for her.“ Mr. Washer had just returned from moving Miss Martin’s furniture into her new condominium in Palm Springs, Fla., where he lived with her.
Mr. Rector said Jules Power, the producer of the “Over Easy“ series, had seen Miss Martin in the hospital and that she was aware of what had happened.
Miss Gaynor and Mr. Gregory had been guests on a segment of the Public Broadcasting Service television series recorded at station KQED here Thursday night. The program appears five days a week on 253 had stayed over as Miss Martin’s guests at her home in the Pacific Heights section of San Francisco. Heading to a Restaurant
The taxicab had picked up Miss Martin and her friends at her home and was headed east on California Street to go across Nob Hill and down to Grant Street and Chinatown to Kan’s Restaurant, according to a spokesman for the Veterans Taxi Company.
According to witnesses, as the taxi entered the Franklin Point intersection, a van headed north collided broadside with the taxi. Mr. Cato, the van’s driver, was jailed after he and his passenger, John McCue, 30, of Oakland, were treated for minor injuries. The police said he had borrowed the van.
Ronald Drury, 46, the cab driver, was also treated and released. Last January, tougher drunk-driving laws went into effect in California. The law requires that a first offender pay a fine of $375 and serve two days in jail or have his license suspended for 90 days.
Janet Gaynor: The First Woman To Win The Academy Award For Best Actress
On May 16 th, 1929, Hollywood’s most notable stars gathered at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for the first Academy Awards. It was a small dinner event just shy of 300 people. Attendees dressed casually. Douglas Fairbanks, the Academy’s first president and presenter that night, wore white pants with a navy blazer. The first year honored directors Frank Borzage and Lewis Milestone, the films Wings and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, and actors Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor. Later in life, when asked about the event, Gaynor responded, “Nobody felt there was any historical significance. I was pleased to win the award, and it was a thrill because I got to meet Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks for the first time.”
Despite her success, Janet Gaynor never wanted to go into the motion picture business. Unlike her character Vicki Lester in the original A Star is Born (1937), an early production from studio mogul and close friend David O. Selznick, Gaynor’s heart was set on a low-key, adventurous existence. There was no denying her talent though. At an early age, she was often found mimicking people or singing songs and dancing with her father Frank. Both her mother Laura and stepfather “Jonesy” took note of this and after Janet finished high school, they moved the family to Los Angeles.
The attention Janet received from her parents caused irreparable damage between her and her older sister Helen. It was Helen who had wanted to be in the pictures originally, but no amount of determination could pull her parents‘ attention away from Janet who they agreed was the actress in the family. Instead of pushing forward and becoming an earlier version of feuding star sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, Helen married and turned to the bottle. One of the few times Janet saw Helen during her early years of stardom was actually on May 16 th, 1929, drunk in the crowd outside of the Roosevelt hotel yelling, “There’s my sister!” as Janet made her way to receive the first Academy Award for Best Actress.
It was an award she won at the age of 22 for three films: 7 th Heaven, Street Angel, and the film screened in every Film History 101 class, F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. 1929 was the only year where winners won for multiple works and in regard to her age, she remained the youngest Best Actress winner until 1986. 7th Heaven marked the first onscreen appearance by “America’s favorite love birds”, Janet and Charles Farrell. After a successful transition into the talkie era, and thanks to public demand, the two went on to make another 11 films.
Janet was one of Fox Film Corporation’s – later 20 th Century Fox – biggest stars during the 1930s. So much so that she frequently negotiated her contract for higher pay, more time off, and a reasonable work schedule, which is a testament to both her talent and intellect because each time she risked contract suspension and studio backlash.
Other than Farrell, Janet was cast alongside Henry Fonda in his debut The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935) Tyrone Power in Ladies in Love (1936), and Frederic March in the movie that inspired three remakes – one with Judy Garland in 1954, Barbara Streisand in 1976, and Lady Gaga in Bradley Cooper’s upcoming 2018 directorial debut – A Star is Born (1937). In it, Vicki Lester, a young woman with celluloid ambitions, hops on a train to Hollywood. Upon arrival though, she’s met with enough rejection to make her reconsider her dream. That is, until she meets the aging, drunk Norman Maine, Hollywood’s biggest star. The two fall in love and he takes her under his wing. Vicki quickly surpasses his career and soon Norman is known solely as Mr. Lester. Unable to put down the bottle and scarred by the damage he’s inflicted on Vicki, he swims out into the sea, never to return.
A Star is Born is one of Janet’s most memorable performances, earning her a second Academy Award nomination. At the time, her career had been steadily declining as a result of her lack of interest and the studio handing her fluffy, forgettable parts. She took on Vicki Lester as a favor to Selznick. With her career back on top, she made just two more films and, at the age of 33, retired. After fourteen years in the industry, Janet was ready for a new chapter, one that involved marriage, which she had tried once before, children, and a little room to explore.
Shortly after, in 1939, Janet married renowned MGM costume designer Adolf Adrian Greenberg, the man responsible for Joan Crawford’s severe shoulders, Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Katherine Hepburn’s white and gold gown in The Philadelphia Story (1940). Janet’s marriage to Adrian has been under speculation for decades. Adrian was openly gay in Hollywood and as for Janet, her friendships with women like Margaret Lindsey and Mary Martin were deemed too friendly by the tabloids.
It was common practice during the 1930s – and into the 1950s – for studios to interfere with their star’s personal affairs to mold an image that would appease the newly developed Hays Code and more importantly, sell more tickets. The public was hungry for Hollywood insight, and gossip columnists like Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons always had something new on the menu. Studio heads, particularly Louis B. Mayer – Adrian’s boss at MGM – who was known for his conservative views, patched up the industry’s so-called immorality with “lavender marriages”. You can’t question someone’s sexuality when they’ve just exchanged I-do’s can you?
Whether Adrian was influenced by Mayer or not, there’s no denying that he and Janet had chemistry. Following their nuptials, the two bought a ranch in Brazil that had no modern technology other than plumbing and Janet worked alongside Adrian as he developed his own independent clothing line. The two remained happily married for 20 years until Adrian had a heart attack and passed away.
Janet appeared in just one other film after her retirement, Bernadine (1957), at the insistence of actor and Selznick’s second wife, Jennifer Jones. But she remained on the outskirts of the industry, showing her paintings in galleries and dabbling in frozen foods with her “Janet Gaynor Signature Trees Ranch” brand. As for her legacy with the Academy Awards, she returned to the show a few more times as a presenter. When the Academy tried to get her to give the award for Best Costume Design in 1978 as a tribute to her husband, she refused, saying, “I will present the Oscar for Best Actress, or none at all.” She can be seen onstage handing Diane Keaton her Oscar for Annie Hall (1977).
Here is the interview I had with Janet Gaynor’s son!
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Can’t Get Any Gayer
Janet Gaynor (October 6, 1906 – September 14, 1984) was an American actress and painter.
Gaynor was a lifelong lesbian, seriously involved with at least two other stars, Margaret Livingston and, most significantly, Mary Martin.
It’s said that the reason Gaynor, her husband and Mary, and her husband traveled together was to stop rumours… Seems they were all involved in a gay relationship with each other… Teamwork!
Actor Robert Cummings is quoted as saying “Janet Gaynor’s husband was Adrian, the MGM fashion designer. But her wife was Mary Martin…”
She died at the age of 77, due largely to the aftermath of a traffic accident in San Francisco. In the accident, a driver ran a red light at a corner and crashed into her Luxor taxicab. The violent crash killed Mary Martin’s manager Ben Washer and injured the other passengers, including Gaynor’s husband Paul Gregory, as well as her close, long-time friend, Mary Martin. Gaynor was in serious condition with eleven broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, pelvic fractures, an injured bladder and a damaged kidney. She never fully recovered from the accident and after several operations died of complications.
Why Famous:Three time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in „7th Heaven“ (1927), „Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans“ (1927) and „Street Angel“ (1928).
About: Janet Gaynor
Janet Gaynor (born Laura Augusta Gainor; October 6, 1906 – September 14, 1984) was an American film, stage and television actress and painter. Gaynor began her career as an extra in shorts and silent films. After signing with Fox Film Corporation (later 20th Century-Fox) in 1926, she rose to fame and became one of the biggest box office draws of the era. In 1929, she was the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in three films: 7th Heaven (1927), Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), and Street Angel (1928). This was the only occasion on which an actress has won one Oscar for multiple film roles. Gaynor’s career success continued into the sound film era, and she achieved a notable success in the original version of A Star Is Born (1937), for which she rece
Janet Gaynor Biography
Spouse/Ex-: Adrian (m. 1939; d. 1959), Jesse Lydell Peck (m. 1929; div. 1933), Paul Gregory (m. 1964)
Who was Janet Gaynor?
See the events in life of Janet Gaynor in Chronological Order
Janet Gaynor Children
This book is a focused biographical account of the life of Oscar Winning Hollywood actress, Janet Gaynor. It profiles her early life and how her career took off in Hollywood. This book also highlights her most important achievements as an actress before describing her last days and how she passed away.
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Janet Gaynor’s ICE BOX COOKIES Cream one pound of butter and 1 ½ cups sugar. Add 3 eggs, one by one, beating and mixing meanwhile. Add 5 cups of flour gradually while beating the mixture. Add dates and nuts (quantity to suit) which have been chopped into small bits. Add vanilla flavoring. Shape this into a roll and put in refrigerator over night. In the morning slice into thin layers and bake in moderate oven.
i need to know her views on prohibition, does anybody know?
I born on 6 october as she I would look her moovies
oh really? thats really cool. I`m doing my folio on Janet Gaynor. Its sad that noone knows about her when she was the first female actress to win an academy award.
Mini Bio (2)
Janet Gaynor was born Laura Gainor on October 6, 1906, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child, she & her parents moved to San Francisco, California, where she graduated from high school in 1923. She then moved to Los Angeles where she enrolled in a secretarial school. She got a job at a shoe store for the princely sum of $18 per week. However, since L.A. was the land of stars and studios, she wanted to try her hand at acting. She managed to land unbilled bit parts in several feature films and comedy shorts. She bided her time, believing „Good things come to those who wait.“ She didn’t have to wait too long, either. In 1926, at the age of 20, she turned in a superb performance as Anna Burger in The Johnstown Flood (1926). The Hollywood moguls knew they had a top star on their hands and cast her in several other leading roles that year, including The Shamrock Handicap (1926), The Blue Eagle (1926), The Midnight Kiss (1926) and The Return of Peter Grimm (1926). The next year she turned in acclaimed performances in two classic films, 7th Heaven (1927) and Sunrise (1927). Based on the strength of those two films plus Street Angel (1928), Janet received the very first Academy Award for best actress. This was the first and only time an actress won the Oscar for multiple roles. When „talkies“ replaced silent films, Janet was one of the few who made a successful transition, not only because of her great acting ability but for her charming voice as well. Without a doubt, Janet had already lived a true rags-to-riches story. Throughout the mid-1930s she was the top drawing star at theaters. She turned in grand performances in several otherwise undistinguished came A Star Is Born (1937). She was very convincing as Vicki Lester (aka Esther Blodgett), struggling actress trying for the big time. Told by the receptionist at Central casting „You know what your chances are? One in a hundred thousand,“ Esther/Vicki replies, „But maybe–I’m that one.“ For her outstanding performance she was nominated for another Oscar, but lost to The Good Earth (1937), her second in as many tries. After appearing in The Young in Heart (1938), Janet didn’t appear in another film until 1957’s Bernardine (1957). Her last performance was in a Broadway version of Harold and Maude. Although the play was a flop, Janet’s performance salvaged it to any degree – she still had what it took to entertain the public. On September 14, 1984, Janet passed away from pneumonia in Palm Springs, California, at the age of 77.
After graduating from high school in San Francisco, Janet moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at a Hollywood secretarial college. Eager to get into movies, she started working as an extra in comedy shorts. In 1925, she was hired by Fox and was cast in The Johnstown Flood (1926). In 1927 she appeared in 7th Heaven (1927) as Diane and Sunrise (1927) as the wife in danger. For those two movies and the Street Angel (1928), Janet received the first Oscar for best actress. She was to become one of the biggest stars at Fox. She was teamed with Charles Farrell in 11 films altogether as she went from „the World’s Sweetheart“ to „America’s favorite love-birds“ sound came in, Janet did not miss a beat since her voice translated well to sound. In most of these films, including the musical talkie Sunny Side Up (1929), Janet played the poor little waif who falls for Farrell. By 1934, she was Hollywood’s top box office attraction. Fox and Janet began to disagree on the roles that were assigned to her and as her popularity waned, the roles became worse. She left Fox in 1936 but gave such a great performance in A Star Is Born (1937) that she was nominated for an Academy Award. By then, her first marriage had ended and she made only two more films. She retired from the screen when she married Hollywood costume designer Gilbert Adrian in 1939. She returned to the screen only once more to make a guest appearance as Pat Boone’s mother in Bernardine (1957).