Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dorothy Janis


Today marks the 100th birthday of silent screen actress, Dorothy Janis. Although she made only five films in her short career- four silents and one talkie, she was best known for starring alongside Ramon Navarro in the film, "The Pagan" in 1929. Incidentally, this film was shot on location in Tahiti, a rare event, in those days.

Born in Dallas, Texas, as Dorothy Penelope Jones, she was discovered at the age of only fifteen, while visiting her cousin who was an extra in Hollywood.  She starred in several Westerns  (Kit Carson, 1928; and The Overland Telegraph, 1929, with Tim McCoy) before landing the romantic lead against Navarro.


She made only one talkie, "Lummox" in 1929- which, due to technical problems, was never released. It was during the planning stages of her next project, "White Captive" that her career took an unfortunate turn. One of the wives of a member of the film crew threatened to sue Janis for "alienation of her husband's affection" as part of a bitter divorce. The case was eventually dropped but Janis left Hollywood and moved to Chicago.

Happily, things took an unexpectedly happy turn when she met bandleader Wayne King, whom she later married. They were together for over 50 years, until King's death in 1985.


Happy birthday to you, Dorothy Janis in Paradise Valley, Arizona. This is what a happy ending looks like.


  1. Great post. White Captive, gotta love it, LOL!

  2. Nomadic,
    A really informative write up on a lesser known star. I love the photos too. Janis was certainly a beauty.

  3. And so often, Hollywood stories end rather tragically but this had a very sweet ending. It seems I might have been off on the date of her birth but I wrote that off as working underage. She did start before Social Security records started so I am skeptical a bit.

    Mentioned in the post was the actor Ramon Navarro, who was kind of a replacement for Valentino when he unexpectedly died. He was a dashing fellow but his death- shocking, sad and scandal-stained- came late in his life but was tragic nonetheless. Maybe I write up something.

    It's nice to find somebody who shares an interest like this.


Always great to hear from visitors to Nomadic View. What's on your mind?


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