Trained for a career in opera, blonde leading lady Anne Jeffreys supported herself as a singer and model before going to Hollywood in 1941. Among her first film assignments was a modest Columbia 2-reeler, Olaf Laughs Last, starring El Brendel; she then worked briefly at MGM before signing at RKO. Jeffreys now insists that she was rushed through so many "B" pictures during her first few years at the latter studio that she's forgotten most of them. When reminded by a fan that she played Tess Trueheart in the first two Dick Tracy films, she refused to believe it until she saw the pictures herself on TV. Her roles, and the quality of her films, improved towards the end of her RKO stay, but by 1948 Jeffreys briefly abandoned Hollywood for Broadway. Appearing in several productions throughout the 1950s, Jeffreys was at one time the highest-paid actress on the New York musical stage. In 1951, Jeffreys married her second husband, actor Robert Sterling, with whom she co-starred in the very popular TV sitcom Topper (1953-55), as well as the very unpopular 13-week wonder Love That Jill (1958). Except for a few isolated films like Clifford (1992), Anne Jeffreys has limited her acting to television and the stage in the last few decades; she was a regular on the daytime drama General Hospital, and briefly hosted a fashion-and-health series on cable TV.
photo credit: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
by Hal Erickson biography