Hollywood and Broadway star Janis Paige dies aged 101

4 June 2024, 05:49

Janis Paige has died aged 101
Janis Paige has died aged 101. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Hollywood and Broadway star Janis Paige has died aged 101.

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Paige died of natural causes at her LA home on Sunday, long-time friend Stuart Lampert said on Monday.

During her career spanning six decades, she starred on Broadway with Jackie Cooper in mystery comedy Remains To Be Seen as well as with John Raitt in smash hit musical The Pajama Game.

Paige also appeared alongside Fred Astaire in the 1957 film Silk Stockings.

The film is famous for her and Astaire spoofing new-fangled movie gimmicks in the Cole Porter number Stereophonic Sound, including swinging from a chandelier.

Paige racked up more than 100 film, TV and theatre credits during her career, having also appeared in Hope comedy Bachelor In Paradise, Doris Day comedy Please Don't Eat The Daisies and Follow The Boys.

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Janis Paige and Fred Astaire in Silk Stockings
Janis Paige and Fred Astaire in Silk Stockings. Picture: Alamy

Paige's big break came in wartime when she sang for servicemen at the Hollywood Canteen.

MGM hired her a day later for a brief role in Bathing Beauty - she spoke two lines in the film, which starred Esther Williams and Red Skelton - then dropped her.

The same day, Warner Bros signed her and cast her in a dramatic segment of the all-star movie Hollywood Canteen.

She later took her talents to Broadway, where she starred in Remains To Be Seen - her role being taken by June Allyson in the screen adaptation - and starred as Babe in the original production of The Pajama Game. Doris Day took her role in the film version.

Janis Paige, born on September 16, 1922, emerged as a rising star in the 1940s
Janis Paige, born on September 16, 1922, emerged as a rising star in the 1940s. Picture: Alamy

Later in her career, Paige replaced Angela Lansbury in the New York production of Mame on Broadway and toured with the show in 1969.

She also toured in Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, Born Yesterday and The Desk Set. Her last time on Broadway was in 1984's Alone Together.

The actress had two brief marriages to San Francisco restaurateur Frank Martinelli and writer-producer Arthur Stander.

In 1962 she married songwriter Ray Gilbert, who won an Oscar for the song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da from Disney's Song Of The South. She assumed management of his music company in 1976 after he died.

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