Welcome to the Jayne Meadows Filmography
"The Story of Us" (Castle Rock, Universal 1999) directed by Rob Reiner, and starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer, is Jaynes most recent film in which she played the mother of exquisitely beautiful Michelle and says: "Obviously Pfeiffer took after her father."
"Casino" (A Martin Scorsese film - 1995)
This fascinating, true-life story of the Las Vegas underworld of the 1970's starred Robert
De Niro, Joe Pesci and gorgeous Sharon Stone. Jayne and Steve were appearing at The Sands
Hotel in Vegas when their friend Scorsese sent for them to appear as themselves in
"Casino," which became a smash hit.
"City Slickers" (Castle
Rock - 1991) The genius Billy Crystal starred in this enormously successful comedy. He
personally phoned to ask Jayne to play his mother and said he'd never before had a mother
on-screen but always envisioned Jayne if he did.
Jayne received rave reviews on her performance. The picture is still seen regularly on movie channels.
The MGM makeup department warned Jayne not to smile too widely since she would "look like a set of piano keys "due to her unusually white teeth. Hepburn answered, "Pooh, they told me when I smiled I looked like a horse but Ive made it pay for years."
"Lady In the Lake" (MGM 1947) Jaynes second picture, was produced and directed by Robert Montgomery (father of Elizabeth, the late star of TVs "Bewitched"). He cast Jayne in the highly dramatic role of a psychopathic murderess after having accidentally seen her rushes on "Undercurrent."
"This Raymond Chandler classic was the first subjective camera film ever made, and obviously was the inspiration for the then unknown Jack Webb, who spent weeks hanging around our set studying this new camera technique which he later used so successfully in his hit series, Dragnet," comments Jayne.
When Sammy Davis, Jr. met Audrey Meadows, he asked if she were related to the movie actress, Jayne Meadows. When she said "Yes," Sammy launched into an uncanny imitation of Jaynes eccentric three-page monologue after having just committed a murder. This cult-classic is still playing on TV and in art houses the world over.
"Song of the Thin Man," 1947, was the last of the popular "Thin Man" movies, starring Myrna Loy and William Powell. Powell gave Jayne the nickname "Busher," the actual name of Louis B. Mayers champion race horse because, Powell said, she had such great legs Jaynes glamorous role was the love interest. "Song of the Thin Man" was co-written by the late Harry Crane, who would later create the brilliant "Honeymooners" series.
"Dark Delusion", 1947, "was actually the last of the Kildare movies and why they changed the title Ill never know," says Jayne. Lionel Barrymore played the crusty old doctor and James Craig was Dr. Kildare." Years later, Jayne guest-starred on the Kildare TV series.
One day Craig asked Jayne if Meadows was her real surname. She told him "No," and that she had been christened Jayne Meadows Cotter. She explained that Louis B. Mayer ordered her to change the Cotter since they had a contract player named Audrey Totter (whose real surname, incidentally, wasnt Totter).
"Swell," said Craig, "my real name is James Meadows, but Mr. Mayer changed it to James Craig."
"Luck of the Irish" (FOX 1948) as the title would
suggest, may be seen on TV every St. Patricks day. The delightful romantic comedy
starred Tyrone Power, who personally chose Jayne for the role of his fiancé, a glamorous
socialite, after viewing her performance as the unglamorous murderess in the cult-classic
"Lady in the Lake." He told Darryl Zanuck, "That gal can play
"David and Bathsheba" (FOX 1951) starring Gregory
Peck as King David, is considered a classic today, almost as well known as the original
Bible story. Jayne played Queen Michal, Davids first wife, whom he divorces to marry
One day Peck asked Jayne: "Why in the world would I give you up to marry Bathsheba?" and he nicknamed her "the girl with the black velvet eyes."
"Incidentally, his lovely wife, Veronique has black velvet eyes, as does he," adds Jayne.
Jayne had to cover her natural red hair with an exotic black wig for the film.
"Enchantment" (Goldwyn 1948) was one of Jaynes two
favorite movies. First, because hers was such a great role. Sam Goldwyn had first offered
it to Bette Davis, then to Geraldine Fitzgerald and other stars, all actresses years older
than Jayne. Sam Goldwyn remembered having seen Jayne on Broadway and having offered her a
contract, which she declined.
He phoned her on the set of "Luck of the Irish" and asked her to come to his office, that evening. Jayne declined, saying shed be in makeup, to which he replied: "I love makeup. Ill put some on myself."
They met and he offered her the starring part without even a test but with the warning: "I hear youre quite temperamental, but I only like talented actresses.
"Well, Mr. Goldwyn," Jayne answered, "I hear youre very temperamental, but I only like talented producers."
He later announced to the press, "She stole my picture" and the critics concurred. Jayne played David Nivens sister and the London critics glowingly reviewed her as an English actress.
The legendary columnist, Louella Parsons gave Jayne her Cosmopolitan Award for the finest dramatic performance of 1949.
"The Fat Man" (Universal 1951) was based on a story by Dashiell Hammett, who also created the popular "Thin Man" series. The movie starred the world-famous circus clown, Emmett Kelly, who while playing opposite Jayne tried to persuade her to become a clown. When she asked what kind of clown she should be, happy or sad like his character, Kelly said, "Oh, you cant decide that until I make you up. The makeup tells you, but Im sure with your eyes youll be a happy clown." Rock Hudson had one line in the movie.
"It Happened To Jane" (Universal 1959). Jayne was appearing weekly on the hit game show "Ive Got A Secret." Doris Day was the guest star one week, while filming "It Happened To Jane" in New York City.
The producers of the movie asked Jayne to appear as herself in a cute scene in the film.
She and Doris became friends and, with Mary Tyler Moore, Angie Dickenson and Amanda Blake, helped start the important "Fund for Animals" organization, followed by "Actors and Others for Animals.
"College Confidential" (Universal-1960) was sent to Jayne as
a co-starring role opposite the late matinee idol David Jansen. Jayne said,
"Ill do it if my co-star is my husband, the matinee idol Steve Allen."
"Norman Is That You?" (MGM 1946) is probably one of the first hit plays and movies with a homosexual theme. This hilarious comedy had been successful on Broadway, in London, and ran for years in Paris. In the film Jayne played the glamorous mother of the white son, Norman, and Pearl Bailey was the mother of the African-American young man.
"Da Capo" (Finnish Film Company 1985) was an exciting experience for Jayne working in L.A. with an entire company of brilliant actors, producers and directors from Helsinki, most of whom spoke no English. It was a true story of a world-famous Finnish violinist who as a teenaged prodigy came to America. Unfortunately, while performing in Las Vegas, he became addicted to gambling and alcohol and ended as a homeless bum living on Venice Beach.
Jayne, the only American in the cast, played the richest woman in California, who financed the musicians early career. During the premiere in Finland, a telephone hook-up was arranged with Jayne in Malibu and she addressed the opening night audience.