Bernice Claire

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Bernice Claire
Bernice Claire Argentinean Magazine AD cropped.jpg
c. 1930
Born Bernice Jahnigan (or Janighan, varying sources)
(1907-03-22)March 22, 1907
Oakland, California, U.S.
Died January 17, 2003(2003-01-17) (aged 95)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Years active 1930-1938

Bernice Claire (March 22, 1907 – January 17, 2003) was an American singer and actress. She appeared in 13 films between 1930 and 1938.


She was born Bernice Jahnigan[1] in Oakland, California.[2] With a clear coloratura, she took to the stage performing light opera and had no difficulty singing demanding roles. She met then-leading singer Alexander Gray and they appeared in three films together in 1930 for Warner Bros. Gray and Claire became film's first operetta team, predating Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.

Her first screen appearance was in the original film version of No, No, Nanette in the title role. (A post-Code version was made in 1940). The other two films she made with Gray were Spring is Here and Song of the Flame. Operettas began losing popularity with audiences so Warners tried Claire in dramatic parts without much success. Claire made several more musical shorts up through the late thirties (some again with Gray), later becoming a radio and orchestra singer. In 1934, she appeared on Broadway in a short-lived musical, The Chocolate Soldier.

Later life[edit]

She died from pneumonia at the age of 95 in her adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, where she had lived for many years.



  1. ^ Some sources cite Janighan
  2. ^ Bernice Claire at BFI Film & TV Database

External links[edit]