Janet Gaynor

Actress + Painter
Born Oct 6, 1906

Janet Gaynor was an American actress and painter. One of the most popular actresses of the silent film era, in 1928 Gaynor became the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in three films: Seventh Heaven (1927), Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) and Street Angel (1928). This was the only occasion on which an actress has won one Oscar for multiple film roles. This rule would be changed three years later by AMPAS.… Read More

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1906 Birth Born on October 6, 1906.
1914 7 Years Old After her parents divorced in 1914, Gaynor, her sister, and her mother moved to Chicago. … Read More


1923 16 Years Old After graduating from San Francisco Polytechnic High School in 1923, Gaynor spent the winter vacationing in Melbourne, Florida, where she did stage work. … Read More
1924 17 Years Old Gaynor won her first professional acting job on December 26, 1924, as an extra in a Hal Roach comedy short. … Read More
1926 19 Years Old Gaynor began her career as an extra in shorts and silent films. After signing with Fox Film Corporation (later 20th Century-Fox) in 1926, she rose to fame and became one of the biggest box office draws of the era. … Read More


1927 20 Years Old By 1927, Gaynor was one of Hollywood's leading ladies. … Read More
Her performances in 7th Heaven, the first of 12 films she would make with actor Charles Farrell; Sunrise, directed by F. W. Murnau; and Street Angel, also with Charles Farrell, earned her the first Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929, when for the first and only time the award was granted for multiple roles, on the basis of total recent work rather than for one particular performance. … Read More
1931 24 Years Old During the early 1930s, Gaynor was one of Fox's most popular actresses and one of Hollywood's biggest box office draws; in 1931 and 1932, Marie Dressler and she were tied as the number-one draw.
1933 26 Years Old She was granted a divorce on April 7, 1933.
1934 27 Years Old After Dressler's death in 1934, Gaynor held the top spot alone. … Read More


1937 30 Years Old …  Released in 1937, it was an enormous hit and earned Gaynor her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress; she lost to Luise Rainer for The Good Earth. … Read More
After retiring from acting in 1939, Gaynor married film costume designer Adrian with whom she had a son. … Read More


1957 50 Years Old In 1957, she appeared in her final film role as Pat Boone's mother in the musical comedy Bernadine.
1959 52 Years Old 1 More Event
Gaynor and Adrian remained married until Adrian's death from a stroke on September 13, 1959.
1964 57 Years Old On December 24, 1964, Gaynor married her longtime friend, stage producer Paul Gregory, to whom she remained married until her death. … Read More


1975 68 Years Old Gaynor also became an accomplished oil painter of vegetable and flower still lifes. She sold over 200 paintings and had four showings under the Wally Findlay Galleries banner in New York, Chicago, and Palm Beach from 1975 to February 1982.
1978 71 Years Old On March 1, 1978, Howard W. Koch, then the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, presented Gaynor with a citation for her "truly immeasurable contribution to the art of motion pictures". … Read More
1980 73 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1980, Gaynor made her Broadway debut in the stage adaptation of the 1971 film Harold and Maude and appeared in the touring production of On Golden Pond in February 1982.
In February 1982, she starred in the touring production of On Golden Pond. … Read More
1984 78 Years Old On September 14, 1984, Gaynor died at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs at the age of 77.
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