Oscar-nommed and Golden Globe-winning thesp Jan Sterling, blond beauty featured in film noir of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, died March 26 at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills. She was 82. She had been in ill health recently after suffering several strokes and a broken hip.
Sterling appeared in more than 40 films between 1948 and 1980, sometimes in starring roles but more often as a significant supporting character.
Her appearance as a terrified airline passenger in 1954 film “The High and the Mighty” won her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for supporting actress.
She also appeared in dozens of television shows, including multiple appearances on “The Guiding Light,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “The Name of the Game.”
One of her most memorable roles was that of the wife of a spelunker trapped in a cave-in in the 1951 Billy Wilder film “Ace in the Hole,” which was re-released later as “The Big Carnival.”
Born Jane Sterling Adriance to a wealthy New York City family, she studied acting in England, making several appearances on the London stage. Moving to New York, she made her Broadway debut with a supporting role in “Broadway Born” in 1938.
Sterling’s first important Hollywood role was as the wife of a man who rapes a deaf mute in the acclaimed 1948 pic “Johnny Belinda.”
Films that followed included “Union Station,” “The Mating Season,” “Pony Express” and “High School Confidential.”
Her last film appearance was in “First Monday in October,” with Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh, in 1981.
She was married to actor John Merrivale and then to actor Paul Douglas, who died in 1959.
Her son with Douglas, Adams Douglas, died three months ago.