Jana Schneider

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Jana Schneider sings in Moscow's Gorky Park with Garik Sukachev and his band "Brigada S". Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev

Janet Ann Schneider (born October 24, 1951, in McFarland, Wisconsin) is an American actress and photojournalist.

Schneider studied at the University of Wisconsin[clarification needed]. Interested in drama, music, and photography, in 1974 she moved to New York City, hoping to break into the theater. She soon found herself performing in productions such as Shenandoah, The Robber Bridegroom, and Othello. Later Broadway[1] she was nominated for a 1986 Tony Award[2] as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the role Helena Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood[3] and won a 1986 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

In 1986, she married musician and composer Tom Wilson, but their marriage did not last very long.

In the late 1980s, she decided to become a photojournalist. Schneider worked for several photo agencies including Sipa Press. Her work was published in Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern (magazine) and other newspapers and magazines.

She covered[4] news stories in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Angola, the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan. She was in Baghdad during the Gulf war, and photographed the fall of the Berlin wall, and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

In 1992, she covered the Siege of Sarajevo. Retired Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, the Canadian commander of the United Nations forces in the former Yugoslav city said of Schneider, "She was like a breath of fresh air, vivacious in the midst of all those stinky male journalists. I was impressed by her dedication. I told her she would end up either famous or dead."[5] Schneider was badly wounded when a tank shell fired from Serb positions exploded next to her. Her friend Ivo Štandeker, a journalist from Slovenia, was killed. Schneider spent many weeks in the hospital, first with the UN and later in Belgrade, where doctors saved her leg from amputation.

Schneider returned to Wisconsin from Bosnia deeply depressed, haunted by Standeker's death and her own close call. She began to focus more on the victims of war. Among them was her friend Darja Lebar, a Slovenian journalist in Sarajevo who had been shot in the face a few months after Standeker died. Schneider helped Lebar raise money for her operations and find doctors to reconstruct her face, and gave her a place to stay at her parents' home in Wisconsin. Schneider also started working on a screenplay about her life and began seeing a psychologist to talk about trauma. After Lebar returned to Sarajevo, Schneider vowed to get back into journalism but this did not happen.

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