Janet (Gainor) Gregory

Laura Augusta (Gainor) Gregory (1906 - 1984)

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Laura Augusta (Janet) "Lolly" Gregory formerly Gainor aka Gaynor, Peck, Gainer, Adrian
Born in Germantown, Philadelphia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Sister of
Wife of — married 11 Sep 1929 (to 7 Apr 1933) [location unknown]
Wife of — married 14 Aug 1939 (to 13 Sep 1959) in Yuma, Arizona, United Statesmap
Wife of — married 24 Dec 1964 (to 14 Sep 1984) [location unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Palm Springs, California, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 20 Apr 2020 | Created 27 Aug 2015
This page has been accessed 850 times.
Notables Project
Janet (Gainor) Gregory is Notable.

Contents

Biography

Family Overview

Daughter of Frank De Witt Gainer and Laura J. Buhl

Wife of Jesse Lydell Peck

Wife of Adrian Adoph Greenberg

Wife of Paul Gregory

Birth and Early Days

Laura Augusta Gainor was born on October 6, 1906 to her parents Frank De Witt Gainer and Laura J. Buhl. She was the second child born to Frank and Laura, and was also the last child. Her older sister, Helen, was born in 1903. Her parents had married around 1901 in Philadelphia and each of their daughters was born in the same area. Frank was a theatrical painter and paperhanger, and he taught Laura (nicknamed "Lolly") how to sing, dance, and perform acrobatics. She began acting in school plays in Philadelphia, and when her parents divorced in 1914 (she was 8 years old), her mother, her sister, and Laura moved to Chicago.

Her mother remarried to an electrician by the name of Harry C. Jones in Chicago, and sometime between 1920 and 1923 the "Jones" family moved to San Francisco. Laura graduated from high school in 1923 and vacationed in Florida where she worked on the stage. By the end of 1924, she and the "Jones" family had moved to Los Angeles, and she had secured her first acting job as an extra. And prior to 1927, she was noticed by a major studio (Fox) and they signed her to a five year contract.

A Star Is Born

She played a number of lead roles, and was generally cast as the wholesome, sweet and pure woman who was very sensitive. By 1929, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, the first one ever awarded. Her award was a one of a kind, as it was awarded for two roles - both for her role in "Street Angel" and for her role in "Sunrise". The motion picture academy would later establish a rule that would prohibit multiple role awards like that. That same year, she also married to Jesse Peck, a lawyer. Their marriage lasted 3 years and ended in separation in 1932 and divorce by 1933. The couple had no children together.

Janet chose her roles carefully, passing over those she considered too juvenile, and her popularity continued to soar. Around 1935, Twentieth Century Studios merged with Fox Studios, and her contract was up for renegotiation. Rumor had it that she was holding out for more money, and when the papers ran with that story, it appears she and the studios agreed on terms quietly and behind the scenes, and no details were ever announced.

From Stardom to Retirement

By 1937, she had become typecast and the audience no longer believed that she was the young, wholesome little girl anymore. She considered retirement, and then a role in a new movie called "A Star is Born" gave her new life in Hollywood. The movie was a great success, and when she appeared in her next movie (The Young in Heart, 1938) and it was only a moderate success, she felt that after 17 years of acting, it was now time to retire for good.

Janet married costume designer Adrian Greenburg in 1939, and by 1940 they had a son together. The two of them appeared to flourish in her retirement years. They traveled frequently, and while she raised their son, she remained involved in both the fashion and arts communities. She came out of retirement in the 1950's, doing roles for television, but by 1957 she had tired of this as well, and retired for good.

In 1959, her husband died suddenly of a heart attack (some sources report it was a stroke), and soon after she decided to return to the stage for a play in New Haven, Connecticut. She considered the play a disaster, and her assessment must have been right, as it closed its doors not long after it started.

Later Years and Death

In 1964, she married her friend Paul Gregory and she would remain married to him until her death. Now in her 50's, they settled down and she continued to enjoy her hobbies, including oil painting as well as the obligatory social events.

In the 1980's, she once again returned to the stage - this time on Broadway. The play Harold and Maude opened and while she received good reviews for her role, the play itself did not. It closed after only 21 performances. Later that year, she also appeared in an episode of The Love Boat, which was her last appearance on television. In February 1982, she appeared in the touring production of On Golden Pond, which was her last acting appearance.

In September 1982, she and her husband, along with Mary Martin and Martin's manager Ben Washer, were all travelling together in San Francisco when a vehicle ran a red light and crashed into them. The four of them were all seriously injured from the wreck, and Janet's injuries were significant, including 11 broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, pelvic fractures, a punctured lung, and injuries to her bladder and kidney. Ben Washer died from injuries sustained from the crash. The driver was intoxicated and eventually sentenced to three years in prison for vehicular homicide among other charges.

Janet spent four months in the hospital recovering from the accident, and she was never the same after. She spent the next two years in and out of the hospital, suffering health problems later attributed to the injuries she sustained. By September 1984 and in a weakened condition already, she came down with pneumonia and died on 14 September 1984 in Desert Hospital at Palm Springs. She was nearly 78 years of age.

She was interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery next to her second husband, Adrian. Her stone reads simply "Janet Gainor Gregory 1906 - 1984".

Sources

  • "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBTM-T9D : 10 March 2018), Laura Augusta Gauier, 06 Oct 1906; citing 3904, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 2,129,969.
  • "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MG77-KFF : accessed 28 July 2018), Laura A Gaines in household of Frank Dew Gaines, Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 420, sheet 3A, family 58, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1395; FHL microfilm 1,375,408.
  • "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MJ79-B3D : accessed 28 August 2015), Laura A Gainer in household of Laura Gainer, Chicago Ward 25, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, United States; citing sheet 5A, family 118, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,342.
  • "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCFX-53W : accessed 28 August 2015), Janet Peck in household of Lydell Peck, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0820, sheet 15A, family 296, line 32, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 124; FHL microfilm 2,339,859.
  • "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9H2-XLD : accessed 28 August 2015), Janet Adrian in household of Gilbert Adrian, Councilmanic District 1, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Township, Los Angeles, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 60-52, sheet 11B, family 359, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 376.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QV57-GKT9 : accessed 28 August 2015), Janet Gaynor, San Diego, California, United States, 14 Sep 1984; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing , born-digital text.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QV57-B1SH : accessed 28 August 2015), Mrs Laura Janet Gainer Gaynor, California, United States, 15 Sep 1984; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing , born-digital text.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QV57-13RD : accessed 28 August 2015), Mrs Janet Or Laura Gaynor Or Gainer, California, United States, 15 Sep 1984; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing , born-digital text.


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Janet is 21 degrees from Donald Howard, 19 degrees from Julia Howe and 19 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.