Once known as one of the most popular child stars in the world, American actress Jane Withers enjoyed a career that lasted for a prolific 70 years. Withers started working when she was just three years old by hosting a radio program for children at a time when such programs were immensely popular.
After moving to Hollywood with her mother in 1932, Withers appeared in many productions as an extra until she finally landed her breakthrough role in David Butler’s 1934 comedy-drama Bright Eyes.
Alongside her film career, Withers also starred in theatrical productions like Glad To See You and Sure, Sure, Shirley. During the ’90s, she did voice work for several Disney animated films, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She also appeared in television shows like The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Murder, She Wrote, among others.
Withers’ daughter recently reported that her mother passed away in Burbank, California, on the 7th of August. While the cause of death wasn’t revealed, Withers had battled with symptoms of lupus and vertigo. “My mother was such a special lady,” Errair said. “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.”
In an interview, Withers reflected: “I wanted so much to do things that would make the fans that came to see me happy. A lot of times I said ‘Don’t forget ladies and gentleman, you all are adults; I’m only 8-years-old. Sometimes the lyrics or lines that you write for me, I feel, are too adult for what I have to say as this character in this film.”
Adding, “Now I made some notes and let me try it your way, and then may I share with you the words and the lyrics that I’ve written…so it’ll be more believable and honest to the kids watching my movies.’ And that’s what we did from then on. I went in on all the script conferences with the writers, I went over the script with them after I read it, I gave them the changes I made…and they always used it. And kids would always tell me ‘we’re so comfortable with your films. We feel like we’re your friends.'”