Jane Randolph Poster

Biography

Poised and pretty lead and second lead actress Jane Randolph decorated a number of second-string World War II and post-war 1940's film features. Born Joan Roemer in Youngstown, Ohio on October 30, 1914, her father, a steel-mill designer, moved the family to Kokomo, Indiana when she was still quite young. Following her graduation from high school, she studied at Indiana's DePauw University, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Jane's interest was acting was increasingly prodded during this time and in 1939, she decided to try her luck in Hollywood.

Studying at Max Reinhardt's school, she was eventually tested and picked up by Warner Bros in 1941. Publicized as a WWII pin-up in such Army magazines as Yank, and provided only in bit parts while there, such as a hatcheck girl in Manpower (1941), a singer who warbles the tune "What's New?" in the film Dive Bomber (1941) and a secretary in The Male Animal (1942), RKO Studios saw promise in the nascent actress. Picking up her contract in 1942, the studio immediately handed her two "B" leading lady roles -- as rich, naïve inventor Richard Carlson's love interest in the adventure comedy Highways by Night (1942) and spunky girl reporter Marcia Brooks in the Nazi espionage crime drama The Falcon's Brother (1942) opposite real-life brothers Tom Conway and George Sanders.

Over the years, brown-eyed, auburn-haired Jane would become best known for her benign, classy, but vulnerable femmes in film noir, easy comedy and whodunnits. Her best-remembered role was as poor, tormented co-worker Alice Moore in one of the few decent productions released by bottom-of-the-barrel Producers Releasing Corporation, the atmospheric horror classic Cat People (1942) and its equally successful sequel, The Curse of the Cat People (1944). In both, Jane innocently brings out the revengeful claws of feral lady cat Simone Simon. At one point she was hired by the Disney people as a human model used for the ice-skating sequence with "Bambi" and "Thumper" in their classic film Bambi (1942).

As for subsequent filming, Jane would return to her intrepid girl reporter in The Falcon Strikes Back (1943), again with Conway. She was also featured in a poignant scene with lovely Jeanne Crain in the war-themed film In the Meantime, Darling (1944); is married to Nils Asther but in love with doctor John Loder in the film noir Jealousy (1945); involves herself with the Bowery Boys in Monogram Picture's In Fast Company (1946); played an attractive second lead distraction in the Universal adventure serial The Mysterious Mr. M (1946) and an equally attractive lead in the "Hopalong Cassidy" western entry Fool's Gold (1946).

Jane enjoyed a rare femme fatale role as a conniving beautician and girlfriend of cold-blooded mobster John Ireland in the film noir Railroaded! (1947). She finished her career in two other film noir thrillers, T-Men (1947) and Open Secret (1948), and joined Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in, arguably, their most popular Universal outing, the comedy chiller Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Here, all three are menaced by the classic terror trio of Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolfman, Bela Lugosi's Dracula and Glenn Strange's Frankenstein monster.

Divorced from talent agent Bert D'Armand, Jane married sometime producer Jaime del Amo on April 20, 1949, and retired to move to Spain and live the life of a socialite. In later years, following his death, she returned to Los Angeles, but also maintained a home in Gstaad, Switzerland. She died in Switzerland at age 94, of complications following surgery for a broken hip. She was survived by daughter, Cristina del Amo.