Jane Withers, child star and ‘Giant’ actress with James Dean, dead at 95

More On:

celebrity deaths

Dennis ‘Dee Tee’ Thomas of iconic funk group Kool & The Gang dead at 70

‘Whitest Kids U Know’ comedian dead at 41

Celebration of Digital Underground rapper’s life to feed Oakland’s needy

‘My 600-lb Life’ lawsuit: Gina Krasley sued for ’emotional distress’ before death

Jane Withers, a former child star and veteran Hollywood character actress opposite Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, died last night at her home in Burbank California at the age of 95.

Withers, an Atlanta native, is best known for her childhood film roles in the 1930s and 1940s. Her death was announced in a statement from her daughter Kendall Errair. 

“My mother was such a special lady,” Errair said in a statement via Deadline. “She lit up a room with her laughter, but she especially radiated joy and thankfulness when talking about the career she so loved and how lucky she was.”

Growing up, Withers was an immediate performer, taking singing and dancing lessons by the age of three and by the age of four had her own radio program in her hometown, according to IMDB.

Her breakout role came in 1934 at the age of 8, when she starred beside Shirley Temple in “Bright Eyes,” as Temple’s antagonist, propelling her to childhood stardom and earning her a 7-year contract with Twentieth-Century Fox.

She starred in “Ginger” [1935], “This is the Life” [1935], Paddy O’Day [1936], “Pepper” [1936] and “Angel’s Holiday” [1937]. 

Withers made her transition from childhood star to teenage star in the 1940s, with her first on-screen kiss coming in the 1939 film “Boy Friend.” After completing her contract with Fox in 1942, she signed a three-year contract with Republic Pictures, where her stardom waned.

She married wealthy Texas oil baron William Moss in 1947, and had two children in the short-lived marriage. They divorced in 1953.

In 1955 Withers remarried to Kenneth Errair, a musical performer. The couple had three children together.

At this time, Withers made a comeback in her film career, and starred opposite James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor in the epic western “Giant” in 1956. 

Withers may have reached her widest audience away from the big screen on television, where she was known as Josephine the Plumber on Comet Cleanser commercials for a generation of viewers in the 1960s.

She would also make guest appearances on TV Shows like “The Munsters,” “The Love Boat,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “Hart to Hart.”

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Withers also did voice-over acting for Disney films such as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and its sequel.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article