Popular 1930s Child Star Actress Jane Withers, Icon of “Josephine the Plumber” Advertising, Dies at 95

By Toyin Owoseje, CNN

Jane Withers, a former child movie star who captured hearts for The Golden Age of Hollywood, died at the age of 95.

The Atlanta-born actress died Saturday night in Burbank, Calif., Surrounded by loved ones, her daughter, Kendall Errair, confirmed in a statement to Deadline.

“My mother was such a special woman,” Errair said. “She lit up a room with her laughter, but most of all she beamed with joy and gratitude when she spoke about the career she loved so much and how lucky she was.”

Withers’ cause of death has not been disclosed.

Withers made her Hollywood debut at the age of 8, when she played Joy Smythe, the spoiled and obnoxious child who tormented Shirley templeis the angelic orphan of David Butler in the 1934 comedy-drama “Bright Eyes”.

This breakout role set her on the path to portraying tomboy girls in films throughout the 1930s.

A year later, she played the title role in Lewis Seiler’s comedy “Ginger”, as an orphan living in a New York slum with her aging Shakespearean actor “Uncle Rex”.

In 1947, at age 21, Withers attempted to retire to raise a family after starring in dozens of films, including “The Holy Terror”, “Wild and Woolly”, “Rascals” and “The Arizona Wildcat”.

But she was drawn to the big screen in 1956 when George Stevens chose her as neighbor Vashti Snythe in his 1956 epic “Giant”, alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean.

In 1960, she was recognized for her contribution to cinema with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Withers rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s as Josephine the Plumber in TV commercials for the Comet cleaner.

Her last acting role was to voice Laverne the Gargoyle in the 2002 Disney animation “The Hunchback of Notre Dame II”.

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