One of four children (two older brothers, one younger sister) born to American missionaries, Jayne Meadows (née Jane Cotter) was born September 27, 1919, in China. The family returned to the US in the early 1930s wherein Jayne was forced to learn the English language, speaking Chinese and other foreign languages at the time before learning English. She settled in Sharon, Connecticut with her parents, Rev. Francis James Meadows Cotter (who was appointed rector of the town's Christ Church), and Ida Miller (Taylor) Cotter. She developed an early interest in acting and studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. She made her Broadway debut with the comedy "Spring Again" (1941), followed by "Another Love Story" (1943), "The Odds on Mrs. Oakley" (1944), "Many Happy Returns" and "Kiss Them for Me" (1945). This led to a post-WWII, MGM contract in which her icy glare and imposing stance frequently made her the perfect manipulating "other woman" in such "B" heavy drama as Undercurrent (1946),

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