Jane Greer (September 9, 1924 – August 24, 2001) was a film and television actress who was perhaps best known for her role as femme fatale Kathie Moffat in the 1947 film noir Out of the Past.
The five-foot five Greer began life as Bettejane Greer in Washington, D.C. In 1940, aged 15, Greer suffered from a facial palsy, which paralyzed the left side of her face. She recovered, but it is speculated that the condition contributed to her "patented look" and "a calm, quizzical gaze and an enigmatic expression that would later lead RKO to promote her as 'the woman with the Mona Lisa smile'." She claimed that the facial exercises used to overcome the paralysis taught her how to convey human emotion. A beauty-contest winner and professional model from her teens, Greer began her show business career as a big band singer.
Howard Hughes spotted Greer modeling on the cover of Life magazine of June 8, 1942 and sent her to Hollywood to become an actress. She married Rudy Vallee, her senior by 22 years, in 1943. Hughes lent out the actress to RKO to star in many films, including Dick Tracy (1945), Out of the Past (1947), They Won't Believe Me (1947), and the comedy/suspense film The Big Steal (1949), alongside Out of the Past co-star Robert Mitchum. Hughes refused to let her work for a time; when she finally began film acting again, she appeared in You're in the Navy Now (1951), 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.
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 gig with Peter Falk and Robert Vaughn in an episode of Columbo titled Troubled Waters. She even got to make fun of Out of the Past in a parody with Robert Mitchum on TV's Saturday Night Live in 1987. Greer joined the casts of Falcon Crest in 1984, and Twin Peaks in 1990, in recurring roles.
Jane Greer married 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).
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 died of cancer at the age of 76 in 2001 and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Pan-Americana (1945) (uncredited)
Two O'Clock Courage (1945) (as Bettejane Greer)
George White's Scandals (1945) (as Bettejane Greer)
Dick Tracy (1945)
The Falcon's Alibi (1946)
Sunset Pass (1946)
Bamboo Blonde (1946)
Sinbad the Sailor (1947)
They Won't Believe Me (1947)
Out of the Past (1947)
Station West (1948)
The Big Steal (1949)
The Company She Keeps (1951)
You're in the Navy Now (1951)
Down Among the Sheltering Palms (1952)
You for Me (1952)
The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
Desperate Search (1952)
The Clown (1953)
Run for the Sun (1956)
Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
Where Love Has Gone (1964)
The Outfit (1973)
Columbo: Troubled Waters (1975) (TV)
The Shadow Riders (1982) (TV)
Against All Odds (1984)
Just Between Friends (1986)
Immediate Family (1989)
Perfect Mate (1996)
1.^ "Jane Greer Biography". Yahoo! Movies. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800014112/bio.
2.^ "Jane Greer Biography". hollywoodupclose.com. http://www.hollywoodupclose.com/movie_stars/celebrity-biography-Jane+Greer.