Janet Gaynor to be saluted by Academy

Mar 20, 2006 by Ian Evans

Janet Gaynor, the first recipient of the Best Actress Academy Award, will be the subject of a Centennial Salute at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday, April 6, at 8 p.m., in the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. The evening will feature a screening of a new print of Street Angel, in which Gaynor stars as Angela, and a discussion with Gaynor’s son, Robin Adrian, and her widower, Paul Gregory.

Gaynor started out as an extra in silent pictures before earning her break with a small but crucial part in The Johnstown Flood (1926). A long-term contract with Fox led to starring roles in several more studio movies, which brought her to the attention of directors F.W. Murnau and Frank Borzage. She made two films with Murnau, including Sunrise (1927), and three with Borzage, who first paired Gaynor with leading man Charles Farrell in 7th Heaven. It was for her combined work in those films, along with her performance in the Borzage-directed Street Angel, that Gaynor won the very first Academy Award for Best Actress.

The Academy’s event launches a retrospective series of Gaynor-starring films at the James Bridges Theater at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, presented in association with the Louis B. Mayer Foundation. Sixteen titles will be presented between April 7 and April 28. For more information about the series, contact 310-206-FILM or www.cinema.ucla.edu.

Tickets for the Academy’s Centennial Salute to Janet Gaynor, featuring Street Angel are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members. They may be purchased in advance during regular business hours at the Academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills (8949 Wilshire Blvd.), by mail, or on the night of the event, if still available, when the doors open at 7 p.m. The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 North Vine Street in Hollywood.