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Janet Gaynor

Janet Gaynor (1906-1984) was an actress and the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Born Laura Gainor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, her family moved west to San Francisco when she was a child. Upon graduating from high school, Gaynor decided to pursue a career in acting. For two years, she supported herself with odd jobs in Los Angeles while taking minor roles in films. Finally, in 1926, she was cast in the lead role in a silent film called The Johnstown Flood[?]. Her outstanding performance won her the attention of producers, who cast her in a series of film.

Within just one year, Gaynor was one of Hollywood's leading ladies. Her performances in Seventh Heaven (the first of twelve movies she would make with Charles Farrell[?]) and both Sunrise and Street Angel (in 1927, also with Charles Farrell) earned her the first Academy Award for Best Actress in 1928. It was the only time in Oscar history that this prestigious award was given for multiple roles. The award was given on the basis of the actor's total work over the year, and not just for one particular performance.

Gaynor was one of only a handful of leading ladies who made a successful transition to sound movies over the next decade. In 1937, she was again nominated for an Academy Award, this time for her role in A Star Is Born. Soon after, she left film for almost twenty years, returning one last time in 1957 in Bernardine[?].

She died in 1984 and was interred in the Hollywood Forever Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood, California.


  • 1926 The Blue Eagle
  • 1926 The Johnstown Flood
  • 1926 The Midnight Kiss
  • 1926 The Return of Peter Grimm
  • 1926 The Shamrock Handicap
  • 1927 Seventh Heaven (Academy Award for Best Actress)
  • 1927 Sunrise (Academy Award for Best Actress)
  • 1927 Two Girls Wanted
  • 1928 Four Devils
  • 1928 Street Angel
  • 1929 Christina
  • 1929 Happy Days
  • 1929 Lucky Star
  • 1929 Sunny Side Up
  • 1930 High Society Blues
  • 1931 Daddy Long Legs
  • 1931 Delicious
  • 1931 The Man Who Came Back
  • 1931 Merely Mary Ann
  • 1932 The First Year
  • 1932 Tess of the Storm Country
  • 1933 Adorable
  • 1933 Paddy the Next Best Thing
  • 1933 State Fair
  • 1934 Carolina
  • 1934 Change of Heart
  • 1934 La Ciudad de Carton
  • 1934 Servant's Entrance
  • 1935 The Farmer Takes a Wife
  • 1935 One More Spring
  • 1936 Ladies in Love
  • 1936 Small Town Girl/One Horse Town
  • 1937 A Star Is Born
  • 1938 Three Loves Has Nancy
  • 1938 The Young in Heart
  • 1957 Bernardine

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