Betty Jane Rhodes
|Betty Jane Rhodes|
Rhodes in 1942.
April 21, 1921|
Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||December 27, 2011
Los Angeles, U.S.
Betty Jane Rhodes (April 21, 1921 – December 27, 2011) was an American actress and singer, most active in film during the late 1930s and the World War II era. She was widely known to wartime movie audiences for her debut performance of the classic song, "I Don't Want To Walk Without You", in Sweater Girl in 1942. In 2012, Tom Vallance of The Independent wrote of Rhodes performance, "Her place in the history of popular song is secured by her having introduced on screen one of the great songs of wartime longing, "I Don't Want To Walk Without You."
Rhodes later had her own weekly show on NBC during the 1950s, which aired on Saturday nights. Her appearances, as well as other early television roles, earned her the nickname, "The First Lady of Television." Rhodes also sang in cabaret until the 1960s.
Rhodes was born in Rockford, Illinois, on April 21, 1921. She began her broadcasting career when she was just eight years old. Paramount Pictures signed her to her first film contract as an actress at the age of fifteen. She made her screen debut in the 1936 film, Forgotten Faces, in which she was credited as Jane Rhodes. In Forgotten Faces, which was directed by Ewald André Dupont, Rhodes played an adoptive daughter whose father, portrayed by Herbert Marshall, is arrested for killing a man with whom his wife was having an affair.
This was followed by a co-starring role in the 1936 comedic film, The Arizona Raiders. The film, in which she played the younger sister of Marsha Hunt's character, marked the first time that Rhodes sang in a movie. She was the regular singer on the radio show Meet Me at Parky's, the series starring Harry Einstein as his character Parkyakarkas.
In 1945, Rhodes married her husband, Willet Brown, the co-founder of the Mutual Broadcasting System. She and Brown had one child during their marriage, as well as Brown's three children from his previous marriage. Brown died in 1993.
Betty Jane Rhodes died on December 27, 2011, at the age of 90.
- Forgotten Faces (1936)
- The Arizona Raiders (1936)
- Jungle Jim (1937) Played Joan, one of the four main characters
- Sweater Girl (1942)
- Priorities on Parade (1942)
- The Fleet's In (1942)
- Salute for Three (1943)
- Vallance, Tom (2012-01-30). "Betty Jane Rhodes: Actress and singer who charmed the US as a wartime sweetheart". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- Harris, Eleanor (August 1946). "Cover Girl". Radio-TV Mirror. p. 8. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "Meet Me at Parky's" (PDF). Radio Album. 1948. pp. 54–55. Retrieved 30 August 2013.