With the money she earned washing dishes and scrubbing floors, Jane Chester, a 16-year-old brunette beauty, bought a one-way ticket from Washington, Pa. to Hollywood in 1936. For more than a year she lived in a rooming house near the Columbia Pictures studio and made the rounds, trying to break into the movies.
Discouraged, Jane was about to leave Hollywood when she, along with other girls, was asked to pose as the Statue of Liberty for what was to be Columbia’s screen “trademark.” “No one really knew if the picture would be used. We weren’t paid, but we hoped it could lead to something,” says Jane. When it didn’t, Jane moved to Chicago and later married. Two years later she was in a movie theater and suddenly her picture flashed on the screen.
Over the years, only her family knew she was Columbia’s “proud lady.” To satisfy her grandsons, who did not believe Jane had been in the movies, her oldest daughter asked the Chicago Daily News to check it out. Photographs taken at the time convinced the paper that 56-year-old Mrs. Jane Bartholomew, now a nursing inspector for the Illinois Department of Public Health, was indeed the lady with the torch. So far her shapely form has appeared in more than 1,700 films.