The first winner of the Best Actress statuette in 1927, Janet Gaynor had already been established as one of Hollywood’s most wholesome leading ladies when sound arrived. A contract player at Fox, she was one of the biggest box office draws of the early 1930s, often appearing in life-affirming comedies.
Gaynor would win her second nomination for Best Actress in 1937 for A Star is Born, but she would make only one more film (the superlative The Young in Heart) before retiring from the screen at age 33. Her marriage to designer Adrian in 1940 yielded a son, and Gaynor raised him while occasionally returning to the stage and screen over the years. She would eventually be married three times, though rumors that she was a closeted lesbian persist. She had just appeared on Broadway in a stage adaptation of Harold & Maude when she passed in 1984.
Janet Gaynor’s Pre-Code Filmography
- High Society Blues (1930)
- The Man Who Came Back (1931)
- Daddy Long Legs (1931)
- Merely Mary Ann (1931)
- Delicious (1931)
- The First Year (1932)
- Tess of the Storm Country (1932)
- State Fair (1933)
- Adorable (1933)
- Paddy the Next Best Thing (1933)
- Carolina (1934)
- Change of Heart (1934)
Videos of Janet Gaynor
Gaynor makes an appearance at the 50th Academy Awards in 1978.