Janet Blair, the actress who starred in musicals and comedies during the 1940s, died of pneumonia Monday at St John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. She was 85. Blair segued from lounge singer at LA’s Cocoanut Grove to $100-a-week contract player at Columbia Pictures after she was noticed by a talent scout. She got her break from B movies when she was recommended by Rosalind Russell for the title role in My Sister Eileen. Over the course of her career she acted opposite such stars as George Raft, Don Ameche, Red Skelton, and Cary Grant. At the end of the ’40s and through the ’50s, she appeared on television during its so-called Golden Age. “I gave up Hollywood and I gave up pictures,” she said, “because all I got were princess parts. A girl gets tired of being a princess all of the time.” Don’t we know it.
(Photos: top, admired by Naval officers during the ’40s; inset, with Sig Arno in 1942’s Two Yanks in Trinidad)