Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Exception to the Rule

As illustrated above, Janice Rule had enough oomph and character to propel her career to further heights than she ultimately scaled. Perhaps a clue to her ultimately disappointing career lies in such anecdotes as Miss Joan Crawford, exasperated by Rule's unprofessional behavior, upbraiding her novice co-star in 1951's Goodbye, My Fancy with the withering sally, "I hope you enjoy making films while you can, Miss Rule. I doubt that you'll be with us for very long!"

Rule also lost the lead female role in On the Waterfront (1954), which eventually won an Oscar for Eva Marie Saint, due to her clashes with the studio; and one of the reasons her contract with Warners was eventually terminated, was because of her "sloppy" off-screen appearance. Rule bounced back with a flashy supporting turn as James Stewart's unfortunate girlfriend in Bell, Book and Candle (1958); she then turned to television for the better part of the 1960's.

Ironically, for someone who buckled at the studio-inflicted "glamour girl"/"sex symbol" paces she was put through as a young starlet in the 1950's, Janice Rule really came into her own as a sensual, mature, and yes, sexy beauty in the late 1960's, giving a series of acclaimed performances in such varied films as the Western drama The Chase (1966); the Matt Helm spy spoof The Ambushers (1967); and the drama The Swimmer (1968).

Ultimately, Miss Rule found her true calling as a highly successful psychotherapist in Manhattan. (We're sure her years on Broadway and in Hollywood stood her in good stead with her chosen profession.) Janice Rule passed away in 2003, of a cerebral hemorrhage.


  1. Interesting. I recall her from that trio of films, The Chase, The Ambushers and The Swimmer as I have a deep fondness for mid to late 60s fare. It seemed like she didn't want to fit into a mold. If I recall correctly, she was a late addition to The Swimmer because Barbara Loden had already filmed the role and was either too GOOD or too different for Burt Lancaster's tastes and so the sequence was refilmed with Janet. That's not necessarily a compliment! ("We're bringing you in because we know you won't steal Burt's thunder..." lol) She also popped up as Kevin Costner's mother in American Flyers.

  2. Don't forget her as Willi Hart in Altman's 3 Women...

  3. Poseidon -- "I have a deep fondness for mid to late 60s fare." NO KIDDIN'! LOL. Yes, she was a replacement for Barbara Loden, who was reputedly stealing Mr. Lancaster's thunder. (I actually did a post about Ms. Loden way back when.)

    Dirky-Do -- Who could forget?!? I get so fixated on the big haired 60's, sometimes...