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Jane Bryan: Warner Bros. Ingenue Remembered

Jane Bryan in Invisible StripesJane Bryan, who played ingenues in several Warner Bros. productions of the late 1930s, died at age 90 on April 8 at her home in Pebble Beach, California.

The Los Angeles-born (on June 11, 1918) Jane O’Brien had her name changed to Jane Bryan after landing a Warners contract in the mid 1930s.

Bryan’s most notable role at the studio was as Paul Muni’s mistress in We Are Not Alone (1939), directed by Edmund Goulding. Apart from that, she was usually seen as forgettable sweet young things, supporting Bette Davis in Marked Woman (1937), Kid Galahad (1937), The Sisters (1938), and The Old Maid (1939); Edward G. Robinson in A Slight Case of Murder (1938); and Kay Francis in Confession (1937).

Bryan also appeared in the popular B comedies Brother Rat (1938) and Brother Rat and a Baby (1940), playing opposite fellow contract players Priscilla Lane, Wayne Morris, Eddie Albert, Ronald Reagan, and Jane Wyman.

Her film career came to an abrupt halt in 1940, following her marriage to industrialist Justin Dart (who’d just gotten divorced from the daughter of drug store magnate Charles Walgreen), a die-hard Republican who would develop close ties to future California governor and U.S. president Reagan. Dart died in 1984 at 76.

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