December 20, 2003 by

Jeanne Crain

39 comments

Categories: Actors, Artists, Hollywood

jcrain.jpgJeanne Crain, an Oscar-nominated actress, died on Dec. 14 from a heart attack. She was 78.
Crain took to the stage in her teens, playing lead roles in school plays. In 1942, she won a beauty contest and was named Long Beach, Calif.’s Camera Girl, a title that attracted the attention of 20th Century-Fox. The studio signed her to a standard contract, and a star was born.
Crain appeared in dozens of films, but was best known for her work in the lightweight romances and comedies of the 1940s. Playing opposite Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas and William Holden, she became a leading star in the wartime and postwar years. Her girl-next-door looks were popular with soldiers serving overseas, and her fan mail was second only to pin-up queen Betty Grable.
In 1949, Crain received an Academy Award nomination for her stirring performance as a black girl passing for white in “Pinky,” a film directed by Elia Kazan and John Ford. Although the movie’s depiction of racial prejudice was hailed by critics, it met with opposition in the South. The town of Marshall, Texas, even banned the film.
The controversy caused Crain’s popularity to soar, and allowed her to continue starring in movies for the next decade. After retiring in the 1960s, she worked on her two ranches and painted.

39 Responses to Jeanne Crain

  1. Julio Serrano

    One of the most beautiful women in the world has passed. She was my favorite star since I was 12 years old, and I have continued to follow her career and life for much of my adult life of 65 years… Just learned of her passing yesterday, 31 of December, 2003, and have been much saddened at the news. A new star will shine in heaven, God rest her soul.

  2. Joe

    Jeanne Crain, was a beautiful, and sweet girl, a fine actress, and a devout Catholic. She would seem to have been a model for the ideal wife.
    I was a contemporary of Jean,and could have appreciated her as such. God rest her soul.

  3. rosana rodrigues

    I’m a Brazilian girl and, as a lover’s cinema, I knew Jeanne Crain and became her fan. Four years ago, I met her grandaughter, Bret Crain Csupo, in Internet, and after I talked about my admiration and how many sites in honor to Jeanne Crain there were, Bret did a beautiful home page in her site (www.madamone.com) to show Jeanne Crain’s life, some family’s histories and her paintings… I’m very proud to contribute to that! But I’m so sad, when, just for fun, I entered in IMDB site, to read, one more time, about Jeanne, and found the notice of her death… I felt as if one member of my own family… Rest in peace, Jeanne and thank you very much!

  4. Alan Dill

    I am pleased to say I’ve met Miss Crain. My father Gerald was the still photographer on several of her films. I was very young in 1960 when we met but I remember she pinched me on the cheek and said ” you’re a little cutie.” Jeanne was very beautiful and one of the best in the business. She had a heart of gold to match her smile. Now I’m growning older everday and in the business myself as a professional Still Photographer. I’ve worked on thirty movies but have never came across anyone that stoled my heart like Jeanne Crain. I miss you. Rest in peace my dear lady.

  5. Dorothy Blodgett

    Jeanne Crain went to the same High School that I
    did. Her Father was head if the English dept. She
    was an exceptionally beautiful girl. She was in my art class. I liked to look at her and wonder
    how anyone could be so beautiful. She had such
    lovely hair and eyes. She was the sweet girl that every one is saying.I think she married a doctor {Brinkman} and had some children. Does any
    one know anymore info. on her, I’d like to know
    about her life.

  6. Jerry

    I must agree with all of the above tributes. Miss Crain was a beautiful lady and a very special actress. Her parts in “Margie”, “Cheaper By The Dozen” and “People Will Talk” endeared her to me. Although I never knew her, I really fell a lose. Miss Crain’s grandaughter wrote a very nice article about Jeanne at http://www.madamone.com. The article gives some real insight to Jeanne Crain. She will be missed.

  7. marianne henninger

    I have been a fan of Jeanne Crain since I was a child and am now 66. I saw her in person at the State Theater in Jersey City, NJ. I even sent a pair of booties when she had her first child. My prayers are for her and she will be remembered.

  8. dgreene

    I can still see this lovely young lady sitting
    in the window in her gingham apron dress singing
    I am as busy as a spider spinning daydreams the lovely Richard Rodgers song from State Fair, yet
    as she developed as an actress as in Pinky she was quite wonderful.. I will always remember Margie and her bloomers and Apartment for Peggy Cheaper by the dozen, Belles on their toes and People will talk with Cary Grant. Thank you for being a beautiful person who touched my heart and through videos will touch so many more with a special loveliness that always shone through.

  9. Dee Adams

    I have been a big fan of Jeanne Crain for so many years. I have most of her Movies. my favorites are ” State fair” and of course ” Margie.” I was so sad when I heard that she passed away. I have two scrap books that I have collected over the years of her from magazines, and even bought some lovely pictures in Hollywood of her. She is surely missed. So lovely, and so talented. God Bless her family for losing such a Wonderful Lady.
    Thank you Jeanne.

  10. julie

    Does anyone know if Miss Crain was friends with Minnie Pearl? I have a document that mentions a Miss Crain using Minnie Pearl’s car.
    Hope this rings a bell to someone?
    Thanks, Julie

  11. Theresa

    There are VHS and DVD’s of the movie Margie at ebay.com. I have been looking for this movie for years and years now after having seen it on TCM at least 10 years ago. The price ususlly goes up to around $20 or so!

  12. Janice Kalar

    I remember her best in Leave Her to Heaven. Even when she was evil, she was beautiful. I would give almost anything to look like her. One of the most beautiful women Hollywood has ever produced. Thank You Jeanne for giving us classic beauty in movies. If only the actresses today could look like you.

  13. Barbara Aarons

    While traveling with a friend in Spain in 1972, I walked into a small store and there was this amazingly beautiful woman wearing a turban shopping there. She admired a large pin I was wearing…and looking at her I thought that I knew her from somewhere. When I said that she looked familiar she answered “Do I?” She seemed a little reluctant to tell me but I had to pursue it. I said perhaps I had seen her on the stage and she answered “Perhaps” (and she was smiling). I asked her “May I ask you who you are?” And she said: “I’m Jeanne Crain”. I was so delighted. I told her I had seen so many of her movies (I was 27 at the time) and that she was so wonderful. As I was talking, my traveling companion came in and I said “Annette, allow me to introduce you to Jeanne….”and before I could say Crain, Annette yelled out “Gene Tierney!!!” I thought I would die. and Miss Crain must have seen my face, because she said graciously “that’s alright….many people confuse us.” She has stayed in my mind ever since. I will never forget how beautiful she was in her late forties and how gracious and sweet. I am so glad to record this story…albeit small, because it was so special to me.

  14. RONALD THOMPSON

    Having just seen jeanne crain on tv,”leave her to heaven” She reminded me when I first saw her in State fair, I was 13 years, I fell madly in love with her then, I still am!!!! What a wonderful actress.

  15. Desiree Danneels

    I remember watching Miss Crain as a child I loved all of her movies,one seemed to stand out the most in my mind and had me rolling on the floor with laughter and for some reason I just remembered it the name of the movie was I believed mom wore bloomers, I have been trying to find it not an easy task I am finding out. Anyway broke my heart when I heard of her death, my best to her family and friends,she was wonderful Lady and the best!

    • Mary Murphy

      Desiree, you probably know by now that the name of that charming Jeanne Crain movie was “Margie”. It’s a favorite of mine, too. 🙂

  16. Bret Csupo

    Jeanne Crain was my beloved grandmother. She had great influence over my life. In fact, one of the best compliments I have ever received in my life was when a man who had visited my website approached my after my grandmother’s funeral and told me, “You are the true inheritor of your grandmother’s talent and beauty.” If anyone visitng this blog would like to read my childhood memories of my granmother visit jeannecrain.org. I thought it would be nice to share with everyone something my eight-year old daughter, Ruby, wrote in school about her wonderful great grandmother, Jeanne Crain:
    “My mom opened the door. We carefully stepped into the house. I saw my great grandmother. “Hi!” I said. She was in her old, grey bed with light blue stars. I sat down on a rusty, old chair and looked at her grey hair and her hazel eyes. I held her wrinkled, soft, sweaty hand. She smiled and her face started to light up like something warming up. I asked her if I could have a candy. She said yes. It was a brand new mint that tasted like candy cane. She smiled even more, making me feel like she was laughing inside. I felt happy. She was sweet, caring and a big movie star when she was in her twenties. I like to watch her movies.”
    I know my grandmother would want me to thank all of you for being her fans!
    -Lady Bret Crain

  17. Miss. Jones

    I might not know as much as some of the peopel here about her even tough I wish I did and someday might learn from others of what kind a person she was but, I can say she was one of the most beautiful actress i’ve ever seen and her voice was amazing and because of her thats why I love State Fair and many other movies , she opened my eyes to another world .

  18. delores

    jeanne crain was a beautiful lady. i would like to hope that i have some margie in me always. i was four yrs old when state fair was made and i can relate to it as in my childhood,she is a beautiful angel in Heaven.i will always love her

  19. Liz

    God Bless your soul Jeanne Crain Brinkman!
    I like the cute story that her great granddaughter wrote(previous post by Bret C). She was truly a Great and talented lady. One of those very special people in the world we are lucky to know about. The more I learn about her, the more I feel I know her, the more I feel a personal loss. Let’s keep her memory alive.

  20. sonia hine

    although a truly beautiful lady on the outside, it is the depth of her inner beauty that shines through in reading everyones comments and memories. how wonderful that one person can bring to life the magic and feelings we had as children. thankyou jeanne crain

  21. steve

    Today in times of changing definition of what is a star Jeanne Crain out ranked many in her era and today would put all of them too shame!

  22. Evvie

    My friend Barbara and I saw “Margie” at least 6 times when we were we were 12 years old. We fell in love with Jeanne Crain. I still can hear her sweet voice in my mind. Margie was always one of my Mother’s favoritr songs, and at that time, I had a little sister (4 yrs old) named Margie. I will always remember Jeanne Crain.

  23. steve

    I am writing a book which is in the forties. My female character is a lot like Jeanne Crain. I’m very proud of that and think of her as I write.
    I would love to do a book on her. I would love to speak to one of her kids about her.
    There are no others like her! If any of the Brinkman children read this and want too contact me please do. The honour would be mine.

  24. nina gatchell

    She was so beautiful. I passed her walking downtown in San Fancisco.. many years ago… I could not get over her flawless beauty. Enjoyed all the movies she graced.

  25. steve

    I am a very big fan. I have collected some real memarobelia of hers including a yearbook of her in 1940.
    I would like to do a nice bio of her. I understand her kids won’t talk to anyone.
    She was a good actress and more importantly a fine human being. Rare to find that in Hollyweird!

  26. catt

    I think jeanne will always be a star she sounds like a amazing loving person mother grandmother not only that but was funny and beautiful and talented her inner beauty shone through like the star she is and always will/was* i love her movies i watched leave her to heaven and gene omg i lovesss her to beautiful lovable talented legend but jeanne in that movie stole the spot light a little imo she’s a legend under-rated to also she’s was born on may 25th and me may 26th you know who i think she reminds me of…paulette goddard much the same type actress imo to but there beauty even actions the same-and both were gemini’s im sorry to keep bringing that up but thats how i first became interested in old movies cos i saw a letter to three wives and she captivated me (i was born 1987 -so not around!) when i was 10 and i love star signs and i read information and was already a huge fan of paulette’s so when i saw her i was like wow there simular…all who i have said are legends and stars* talented beautiful ive said it all really apart from very funny natural which is rare..like lucille ball…i did also read her grandson talk about her and to round it up he adored her and she was very loving and kind what more can you ask? anyways your always be angels all of you xxxxxx

  27. Jeanne

    I was born in the post-Korea War era. Jeanne Crain was an exceptionally and naturally beautiful woman who had courageous nobility in every movie part she ever played. She is absolutely gorgeous in “Leave Her to Heaven.” I always look forward to watching her in old-time films.

  28. Faith

    Oh she was a beauty! Love to just see her face. I’m thinking as I read these blogs how she must have been as beautiful inside..and 7 children! What a great gift she left to many people w/her movies. Pinky especially..so gifted and gentle ways to match! Altho Gene Tierney is another favorite; I must correct anothe person saying that Jeanne Crain was in “Leaver Her to Heave”..It was Gene Tierney. We are very blessed to have such a great actress to have been in our lives! Amazing!!!

  29. Barbara

    A correction please: Both Jeannie Crain and Gene Tierney were in Leave her to heaven. Jeannie played Ruth ( not the evil one )

  30. Richard Hegedorn

    I fell in love with Jeanne Crain in 1945 when I saw her in State Fair. I was 7. She has remained all these years my favorite actress. She is wonderful in so many films and have always been sad that pregnancy kept her out of All About Eve. She was equally as beautiful in both color and black and white films. I think her coming down her staircase near the end of A Letter to Three Wives is my favorite shot of her. Also, both Gene Tierney and Jeanne Crain starred in Leave Her to Heaven but Tierney was the evil one.

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