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January 1, Legendary Hollywood and Broadway Star: Dies at 101

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Hollywood and Broadway icon Janis Paige has passed away at the age of 101. Paige, who danced with Fred Astaire and toured with Bob Hope, died of natural causes at her Los Angeles home on Sunday, according to longtime friend Stuart Lampert.

Paige made a name for herself on Broadway, starring with Jackie Cooper in the mystery-comedy “Remains to be Seen” and appearing with John Raitt in the smash hit musical “The Pajama Game.” Her film credits include a Bob Hope comedy, “Bachelor in Paradise”; the Doris Day comedy “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies”; and “Follow the Boys.”

In 2018, Paige added her voice to the #MeToo movement, alleging an assault at the age of 22 by the late department-store heir Alfred Bloomingdale. “At 95, time is not on my side, and neither is silence. I simply want to add my name and say, ‘Me too,'” she wrote.

Her big break came during wartime when she sang an operatic aria for servicemen at the Hollywood Canteen. MGM hired her a day later for a brief role in “Bathing Beauty,” but dropped her soon after. The same day, Warner Bros. signed her and cast her in a dramatic segment of the all-star movie “Hollywood Canteen.”

Paige would go on to star in films such as “Two Guys from Milwaukee,” “The Time, the Place and the Girl,” “Love and Learn,” “Always Together,” “Wallflower,” and “Romance on the High Seas,” which marked Doris Day’s film debut.

After her contract expired in 1949, Paige took her talents to Broadway. She starred as Babe opposite Raitt as Sid in the original production of “The Pajama Game,” directed in 1954 by George Abbott. MGM producer Arthur Freed later offered her a part opposite Astaire in “Silk Stockings,” co-starring Cyd Charisse.

In May 2003, Paige resumed entertaining with a show she called “The Third Act” at San Francisco’s Plush Room. At 80, she showed “a vitality, verve and spirit that performers half her age would envy,” according to Chad Jones, reviewer for the Alameda Times-Star.

Paige’s television career included starring in the 1955-1956 TV series “It’s Always Jan” and playing recurring roles in “Flamingo Road,” “Santa Barbara,” “Eight Is Enough,” “Capitol,” “Fantasy Island,” and “Trapper Jon, M. D.” On “All in the Family,” she played a diner waitress who becomes involved with Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker.

Her Broadway career also included replacing Angela Lansbury in the New York production of “Mame” in 1968 and touring with various shows. Paige sang in clubs with Sammy Davis Jr., Alan King, Dinah Shore, and Perry Como.

In 2020, Paige published her autobiography, “Reading Between the Lines: A Memoir,” which detailed her connections with Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, David Niven, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, and Lucille Ball.

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