Actress Jan Sterling, the beautiful often conniving blonde in Hollywood film noir movies of the '40s and '50s, died Friday, the 26th of March 2004. She was 82.
Ms. Sterling recently broke her hip then suffered a couple of strokes from which she never recovered, close friend Kay Tomborg said. She died at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's home and hospital facility in Woodland Hills.
Ms. Sterling's most remembered role came in 1951 with Billy Wilder's film "Ace in the Hole" (re-released as " The Big Carnival"). Kirk Douglas starred as a ruthless reporter seeking a scoop by prolonging the rescue of a man trapped in a cave. Ms. Sterling played a sardonic observer.
"I remember Jan Sterling as being a very funny woman," actor Robert Arthur recalled. "For me, she was the comic relief in an otherwise grim story. She uttered the famous line: ' I never go to church because it bags my nylons,'" said Arthur, who also was in the movie. Jane Sterling Adriance was born into a socially prominent New York City family on April 3, 1921. She studied acting in England and made her New York debut at age 15. Her blond beauty and dramatic intensity made her a movie star in such films as "Johnny Belinda," "Caged," "Flesh and Fury," "Split Second," "The Human Jungle," "Women's Prison," "Female on the Beach" and "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue."
In 1954, Ms. Sterling played one of the terrified passengers on a troubled flight from Hawaii to the mainland in "The High and the Mighty." Her performance won her a Golden Globe statue and an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress.
Ms. Sterling was the widow of actor Paul Douglas and longtime companion of actor Sam Wanamaker, who died in 1993. Her son, Adams Douglas, died of heart failure three months ago. Funeral arrangements are pending.