Jane Withers, Former Child Star and Voice Actress, Dead at 95
By Zach Seemayer
Jane Withers, screen star of Hollywood's Golden Age, has died. She was 95.
Withers died in Burbank, California, on Saturday, surrounded by her loved ones, according to multiplereports.
Withers' daughter, Kendall Errair, released a statement to People, recalling her mother's warmth and compassion.
"My mother was such a special lady. She lit up a room with her laughter, but she especially radiated joy and thankfulness when talking about the career she so loved and how lucky she was," Errair's statement expressed.
Withers' film career began in the early 1930s, with her first big break coming in 1934's Bright Eyes, when she was just eight years old, starring opposite Shirley Temple.
The following year -- after signing a seven-year contract with Fox Films -- Withers landed her first starring role in Ginger, and appeared in three to five movies every year as part of her contract throughout the rest of the decade.
After completing her contract -- an unusually rare feat for child stars of the era -- Withers signed with Republic for several more years until she retired early at the age of 21, in 1947.
However, Withers returned to acting in 1956, when she appeared in Giant, opposite James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Giant was Dean's final film, released a year after his shocking death in a car crash in 1955.
Following Giant, Withers returned to acting regularly, landing many roles in movies and on TV. One of her most enduring parts came when she was cast as Josephine the Plumber in a popular series of Comet Cleaner commercials in 1960.
Later in her career, Withers got frequent work as a voice actress with Disney. Throughout her life, Withers was a tireless philanthropist and was instrumental in creating the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She received her own star on the Walk of Fame in February 1960. She is survived by four children from her two marriages.