You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sybil Jason dies at 83

Was Warner's response to Shirley Temple

Sybil Jason, a child actress during the 1930s who was meant to be Warner Bros.’ answer to Shirley Temple, died Aug. 23 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Northridge, Calif. She was 83.

During the Depression, 20th Century Fox earned huge sums from Temple’s pictures and from the sale of merchandise with her image, and an eager Jack Warner signed Jason after seeing her in 1935’s “Barnacle Bill,” the brunette moppet’s first bigscreen effort.

The South African-born Jason starred in a series of Warner films — including “Little Big Shot,” “The Singing Kid” and, with Pat O’Brien and Humphrey Bogart, “The Great O’Malley” (1937) — that were much like Temple’s pics at Fox without ever equaling their success.

Warner Bros. did not renew her contract, but Fox signed her and cast her alongside Temple in “The Little Princess” and “The Blue Bird.” The latter pic ended her career as a child actress in 1940 (a fan club devoted to her continued into the 21st century).

Though there was a certain amount of tension, Jason and Temple became friends, which they remained until Jason’s death, Jason’s daughter, Toni Drake-Rossi, told the New York Times.

Born Sybil Jacobson in Cape Town, the tyke started out dancing and doing impressions in performances with her uncle’s orchestra in London. She weathered WWII back in South Africa; after the war she taught acting and acted on the stage in California.

Her husband Anthony Drake, who wrote for radio, died in 2005.

In addition to her daughter, Jason is survived by a grandson.

More Film

  • 'Chambre 212' Review: A Comedy More

    Cannes Film Review: 'Chambre 212'

    Most of us, in our romantic lives, meditate here and there on the other roads we might have traveled, and movies are uniquely equipped to channel those alternate-universe-of-love possibilities. That’s the idea at the (broken) heart of “Casablanca.” And the fantasy of getting to see the turns your life didn’t take play out right in [...]

  • Zach Galifianakis Jerry Seinfeld Netflix

    Film News Roundup: Zach Galifianakis' 'Between Two Ferns: The Movie' Coming to Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” is unveiled, “Friedkin Uncut” gets a fall release and Sony Classics buys “The Traitor” at Cannes. MOVIE RELEASES Netflix has set a Sept. 20 release date for Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” based on his 11-year-old talk show. Galifianakis made the announcement during [...]

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content