Jeanne Crain was an actress from the United States who introduced a breath of fresh air to the ’20th Century Fox’ studios with her natural beauty and charm. She appeared in a total of sixty–four films, including twenty–three with Fox and many more with others. She was a lovely brunette with a demure demeanor that endeared her to anyone who came into contact with her. She was a typical ’20th Century Fox’ lady, with a relatively tiny star list compared to other major studios. Fox kept Jeanne busy, and she made two bright and breezy films per year for them on average. She was occasionally viewed by Fox as lacking the gravitas for serious roles, resulting in her being passed over in favor of other stars such as Susan Hayward and Jean Simmons. Despite this, she starred in some of the most popular films of the 1940s and 1950s. Her attractiveness brought to mind servicemen’s sisters or high school sweethearts. She was a close second to June Allyson in terms of popularity, and her film ‘Pinky’ earned her an Oscar nomination. In real life, she was a down-to-earth woman who had to take regular breaks from her acting schedule to care for her seven children.
Childhood and Adolescence
Elizabeth Jeanne Crain was born in Barstow, California, a small hamlet in the Mojave Desert, on May 25, 1925.
She was raised in Los Angeles, where her family had relocated following her birth. Her father, George A. Crain, was an Irish high school English teacher who subsequently became the head of the English department at Los Angeles’ ‘Inglewood High School.’ Loretta Carr was her mother’s name. Rita Marie, her younger sister, was born in the month of January 1927.
Her first years of education were spent at Los Angeles’ ‘Inglewood High School.’ She went to the ‘University of California, Los Angeles’ and subsequently the ‘St. Mary’s Academy’ to study acting. Orson Welles tried her out for the role of ‘Lucy’ in ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ when she was still in high school. When she was only 18, she signed a contract with ’20th Century Fox.’
Career of Jeanne Crain
In 1943, Jeanne Crain made her Hollywood debut in an uncredited film called “The Gang’s All Here.” In 1944, she became known for her parts in films such as ‘Home in Indiana,’ ‘The Winged Victory,’ and ‘In the Meantime, Darling.’
In 1945, she had even more success in the musical ‘State Fair,’ which featured original Rodgers and Hammerstein soundtracks. Louanne Hogan dubbed ‘It Might as Well Be Spring’ and other songs in the film, which she sung.
Another of her hits was the 1946 melodrama ‘Leave Her to Heaven,’ in which she played a ‘good girl’ against the evil plotting of ‘Gene Tierney.’
She also acted in ‘Margie’ and the Jerome Kern musical ‘Centennial Summer,’ in which her voice was again dubbed by Louanne Hogan. In the 1948 picture ‘Apartment for Peggy,’ she played the pregnant wife of an ex-GI played by William Holden, and she gave a fantastic performance. She also appeared in the film ‘You Were Meant for Me’ in the same year.
In 1949, she played a black woman with complexion light enough to pass for a white woman in Eliza Kazan’s film ‘Pinky.’ Her performance in the film earned her an Oscar nomination for “Best Actress.” She appeared in several films in 1949, including ‘The Fan’ and ‘A Letter to Three Wives.’ The latter cemented Jeanne’s reputation as a talented actress and leading woman.
‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ in 1950 and its sequel ‘Belles on Their Toes’ in 1952, both directed by Mankiewicz, in which she played the eldest daughter of a large family; ‘I’ll Get By’ in 1950, ‘Take Care of My Little Girl’ and ‘People Will Talk’ in 1951 opposite Cary Grant, and ‘The Model and the Marriage Broker’ in 1951 directed by George Cukor, in which she acted with character actress
From 1951 to 1953, she also worked on radio. She also appeared in films such as ‘O. Henry’s Full House,’ released in 1952, and ‘City of Bad Men,’ released in 1953. Crain’s final film before leaving Fox was ‘Vicki,’ released in 1953, which was a remake of the 1941 mystery ‘I Wake Up Screaming.’ In 1953, she starred in ‘Dangerous Crossing,’ and in 1954, she starred in ‘Duel in the Jungle.’
Following her departure from Fox, she starred in two musicals, ‘The Second Greatest Sex’ for Universal Studios in 1955 and ‘Gentlemen Marry Brunettes’ for United Artists in 1956, as well as two westerns, ‘Man Without a Star’ for Universal Studios in 1955 opposite Kirk Douglas and ‘The Fastest Gun Alive’ for MGM in 1956 opposite Glen Ford.
In 1957, she starred in the MGM films ‘The Tattered Dress’ and ‘The Joker Is Wild,’ in which she played one of the ladies in the life of singer and comic Joe E. Lewis, who was played by Frank Sinatra.
Following that, she appeared in the films ‘Guns of Timberland’ (1960), ‘Twenty Plus Two’ (1961), ‘Madison Avenue’ (1962), ‘Queen of the Nile’ (1964), ‘Invasion 1700’ (1965), and ‘Hot Rods to Hell’ (1967). She spent the latter part of her career acting in television shows such as ‘Playhouse 90’ and ‘The Great Gatsby,’ in which she played ‘Daisy Buchanan.’ She also appeared in a number of TV shows and a few of European epic films. She stayed on her ranch in Santa Barbara after she retired.
Achievements & Awards In 1941, Jeanne Crain was crowned ‘Miss Long Beach’ in the ‘Miss California’ beauty pageant and placed second in the ‘Miss America’ finals. She won the Occidental College’s ‘Interscholastic Shakespearean Contest’ in 1941. In 1942, she was dubbed the ‘Camera Girl of 1942,’ and her photographs appeared on the covers of magazines like ‘Coronet,’ ‘Ladies Home Journal,’ and ‘True Romance.’ In 1949, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the film “Pinky.”
Personal History and Legacy
On December 31, 1945, she married Paul Brinkman, a businessman and former actor. They divorced in early 1956, but reconciled in December of that year. Paul Fredrick, Michael Anthony, Timothy Peter, Jeanie Cherie, Lisabett A., Maria J., and Christopher were her seven children, four sons and three girls. Jeanne Crain died of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California, on December 14, 2003.
Estimated Net Worth
Jeanne is one of the wealthiest movie actresses and one of the most well-known. Jeanne Crain’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
Jeanne Crain, despite her many appearances in musicals, was not a vocalist and had to rely on Louanne Hogan to dub her songs. She was a Republican who voted against John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election.
She adored ice skating and was a natural at it.