Leighton-Porter in The Adventures of Jane with Fritz
|Born||11 April 1913
Eastleigh, Hampshire, England
|Died||6 December 2000
|Occupation||Model and Actress|
|Known for||Model for the wartime cartoon heroine "Jane"|
Chrystabel Leighton-Porter was the model for the Second World War Daily Mirror newspaper cartoon heroine Jane which boosted morale during the Blitz. Prime Minister Winston Churchill suggested that Jane was "Britain's secret weapon". Chrystabel was born in 1913 and died in 2000.
Born Chrystabel Jane Drewry in Eastleigh, Hampshire on 11 April 1913, Chrystabel Leighton-Porter had an older twin, Sylvia, and was the youngest of eleven children of whom three died young. Her modelling started after she left school when she moved to London to live with her sister and earned a living posing for life classes.
The Daily Mirror cartoonist Norman Pett had been drawing a weekly cartoon since 1932 which he called Jane's Journal — The Diary of A Bright Young Thing. Pett's original model was his wife, but he replaced her with Chrystabel in 1940. In 1944, when Jane first appeared nude in the cartoon, she was credited with 'inspiring' the 36th Division to advance six miles into Burma.
In 1948, Pett's assistant Michael Hubbard took over the Jane cartoons. Chrystabel Leighton-Porter began a music hall striptease-act based on the Jane character which toured army bases around the country. She won the title of "Britain's Perfect Girl" at the London Palladium and was signed up by theatrical agent Lew Grade which led to her starring in the film The Adventures of Jane in 1949. It was released on DVD in April 2008.
"Jane" received many letters from servicemen proposing marriage (62 in just one week) and Chrystabel was careful to hide the fact that she had already secretly married Arthur Leighton-Porter, a Royal Air Force pilot, before the outbreak of the war. Hubbard continued to develop the cartoons' storyline until 1959, when he gave Jane a happy marriage and ended the series.
In the early-1960s Chrystabel moved to Bermuda and then to Horsham in Sussex where she centred her activities around her son Simon (who later followed his father into the RAF) and was a fund raiser for several charities. In the 1980s a BBC television serial was made of "Jane" and starred Glynis Barber.
Throughout her later years, Chrystabel Leighton-Porter made regular appearances at wartime reunions. In 1993, the Imperial War Museum exhibition Forces Sweethearts included her 1940's frilly knickers. Chrystabel died on 6 December 2000 aged 87. Arthur died in January 2002.
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- " Cartoons and Cartoonists" film,1956.Produced by Harold Baim.