Lois January Poster

Biography

Born in McAllen, Texas, Lois January trained as a dancer almost from infancy. Her mother believed that Lois and her younger brother were talented enough as dancers to make it in the movies, and she took the two children to Los Angeles for a short period to check out employment opportunities for child dancers and performers. Though she returned to Texas, the family eventually moved to California, settling in Los Angeles, and Lois not only continued her dancing but began taking acting lessons in school. After graduating high school Lois joined a touring dance troupe, and when the group broke up in 1931, she focused most of her efforts toward acting rather than dancing. She began appearing in plays at the famed Pasadena Playhouse, where she was spotted by a Universal Pictures executive, who offered her a contract. She got some small parts in several Universal "B" pictures, then the studio loaned her out to Columbia Pictures, where she made several appearances in that studio's comedy shorts, and she also made a string of ultra-cheap "B" westerns for such independent producers as Willis Kent and Sam Katzman. After her contract at Universal was up, she signed with Republic Pictures and made more westerns, appearing with such staples of the genre as Johnny Mack Brown and Bob Steele. She had a small part in the classic The Wizard of Oz (1939) as a manicurist doing Dorothy's nails in the city of Oz. After completing that film she journeyed to New York and appeared on Broadway in "Yokel Boy". When that play's run was completed, she got an engagement singing at the world-famous Rainbow Room. Throughout the 1940s she alternated between nightclub engagements and stage work. Eventually she was offered her own radio show, and took it. She appeared in her last film in 1961, but in the late 1960s and early 1970s she made a spate of TV guest-starring roles. She died in Los Angeles in August of 2006 of Alzheimer's Disease.