Porter, Jean (Dmytryk)

Jean Porter (Dmytryk)

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Born Bennie Jean Porter in Cisco, Texas in 1925, she started her show business career in Vaudeville as a child, singing, dancing and doing impersonations. She was discovered by Hal Roach at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles and put under contract as Jean Porter to do the Streamliners wartime comedies. She was later picked up by MGM and did scores of movies through the 1950s. Jean attended Lawlor Professional School in 1936 and 1937. At that time, Mrs. Lawlor was no longer able to continue running the school due to her failing eyesight, and she sold it to her administrator, M. Bessie Bessire. Jean did not care for Mrs. Bessire’s overbearing approach, and along with some other students, she transferred out of the school. She went to Pearl Long’s Professional School on Vista off Franklin Avenue, in Hollywood. She was ahead of others and ended up graduating a year early in 1938.

Jean married director Edward Dmytryk in 1948 and had three children. They suffered through a dark period of America’s history, wherein Dmytryk was blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten who refused to testify before Joseph R. McCarthy’s House of Un-American Activities Committee regarding whether he “was now, or ever had been a member of the Communist Party.” He was found in contempt of Congress for exercising the Fifth Amendment and was jailed six months. Dmytryk later agreed to cooperate with the Committee, resulting in a reduction in his sentence. In the mid-1950s he was allowed to resume his directing career and he worked with Jean in her last movie, The Left Hand of God (1955). They jointly wrote a book about their experiences, On Screen Acting (1984). Jean undertook a second career as a real estate broker in the San Fernando Valley. Edward died at the age of 90 in 1999.

– by Alan Simon for Mar-Ken.org

From the November 19, 1936 Lawlor Journal:
Jean Porter and Jacklyn Taylor just finished at Grand National in “Great Guy”

From the December 3, 1936 Lawlor Journal:
•DIALING AROUND: Ye editor [Al Hill Jr.] will be heard on the Marco Dog Food program Saturday night at 8, over KHJ. Other Lawlorites on this popular childrens’ show are, Jean Porter and Leonard Sues. We enjoy Ray Erlingborn’s style of M.C. work.

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Internet Movie Database listing: