Collection MSS 023 - Janis Paige Collection

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Reference code

US MBE MSS 023

Name and location of repository

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Collection

Title

Janis Paige Collection

Date(s)

  • c. 1950's - 2010's (Creation)

Extent

Pending

Name of creator

(1922-09-16 - Present)

Biographical history

Janis Paige was born as Donna Mae Tjaden on September 16, 1922 in Tacoma, Washington. By the age of 5, she was already singing publicly in local amateur shows. Paige moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school, where she landed a job as a singer at the Hollywood Canteen, a studio-sponsored club for WWII military servicemen. She was noticed and signed by a talent scout from Warner Bros. while working at the Hollywood Canteen and spent the next several years starring in secondary musicals. In 1951, Paige decided to leave Hollywood, and instead began starring in Broadway plays, such as the 1951 hit "Remains to Be Seen" and the 1954 hit "The Pajama Game". After losing her role in the film version of Pajama Game to Doris Day, she returned to movies and television. Incidentally, one of those roles happened to be opposite Day, in the 1960 comedy Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.
From the mid-1950's on, Paige also starred in television series, including original shows like "It’s Always Jan", and appearances on All in the Family, Charlie’s Angels and Night Court, General Hospital and Santa Barbara.

In 1976, Paige joined the Songwriters Guild of America, a seat she inherited from her late husband Ray Gilbert, and stayed a member until 2001. Ray is best known as the songwriter who wrote “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” for the controversial Disney movie Song of the South. She also inherited Ray’s business, the Ipanema Music Corporation, allowing her to protect Ray’s songwriting legacy to this day, including the songs “You Belong to My Heart,” “Sooner or Later” and Casey at the Bat.”

Janis Paige still performs the occasional cabaret show, including a 2012 performance at Vitello's in Los Angeles at the age of 90.

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Scope and content

The Collection documents the career and professional achievements of Janis Paige, an actress and singer. The materials include every filmed episodes of It’s Always Jan along with the corresponding script. The collection also includes videos of film, t.v., and live musical performances by Janis Paige, scripts, musical scores, photographs, and other memorabilia from her career.

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This collection has not been processed.

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Publication notes

A student project was created using the Janis Paige Collection and can be found here: http://thejanispages.omeka.net/exhibits/show/thejanispages

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