Filled Under: Jane Greer
“I loved making movies…” ~ Jane Greer
Jane Greer was born Bettejane Greer on Setember 9, 1924 in Washington D.C. to Bettie and Charles Dean McLean Greer, Jr. At age 15, an attack of palsy left her face partially paralyzed. She claimed that it was through facial exercises to overcome the paralysis that she learned the efficacy of facial expression in conveying human emotion, a skill she was renowned for using in her acting. A beauty-contest winner and professional model from her teens, Greer began her show business career as a big band singer, most notably with Enric Madriguera’s orchestra in Latin Club Del Rio in Washington, D.C.. Howard Hughes spotted the five-foot five beauty modeling in the June 8, 1942, issue of Life magazine and brought her to Hollywood to become an actress. Hughes was personally obsessed with Greer and kept her virtually a prisoner during her first few months she was under contract. 1n 1943, Greer escaped from Hughes’ control and quickly married Rudy Vallee who was 22 years her senior. The marriage only lasted a few months and Greer returned to Hughes and her contract. There, she went on to star in “Dick Tracy” (1945), “Out of the Past” (1947) with Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas, “They Won’t Believe Me” (1947) with Robert Young and Susan Hayward , and the comedy/suspense film “The Big Steal” (1949) alongside “Out of the Past” co-star Robert Mitchum. Hughes again refused to let her work for a time and when she finally began film acting again, it was in “You’re in the Navy Now” (1951) starring Gary Cooper. Greer went on to star in “The Prisoner of Zenda” (1952), “Run for the Sun” (1956), and “The Man of a Thousand Faces” (1957). In 1984, she was cast in “Against All Odds”, a remake of Out of the Past, as the mother of the character she had played in 1947.
“Howard Hughes was obsessed with me. But at first it seemed as if he were offering me a superb career opportunity.” ~ Jane Greer
Jane Greer was also had noteworthy roles in television included guest appearances on episodes of numerous shows over the decades, such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “Bonanza”, “Quincy, M.E.”, “Murder, She Wrote”, and a 1975 role with Peter Falk and Robert Vaughn in an episode of “Columbo” titled “Troubled Waters”. In 1987 Greer got to make fun of “Out of the Past” in a parody with Robert Mitchum on TV’s “Saturday Night Live”. Greer joined the casts of “Falcon Crest” in 1984, and “Twin Peaks” in 1990, with recurring roles in both shows.
Jane Greer was married twice. The first marriage was to Rudy Vallee in 1943, but they divorced the following year. She remarried in 1947, to Edward Lasker (1912–1997), a Los Angeles lawyer and businessman, with whom she had three children. Her son Lawrence Lasker is a movie producer who has co-produced several films, including “WarGames” (1983) and “Sneakers” (1992). The couple divorced in 1963. Edward Lasker had been an owner/breeder of thoroughbred racehorses since 1929, and Greer also became an owner of race horses under her own name. Among her graded stakes race wins were the 1966 Withers and Jim Dandy Stakes and the 1967 Fall Highweight Handicap with the colt “Indulto”.
Greer never married again but stayed with ‘partner’ Frank London from 1963 until his death in 2001.
Jane Greer died of cancer at the age of 76 on August 24, 2001 in Los Angeles, California. She was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.