Jeanette Loff

Jeanette Loff (born Janette Clarinda Lov; October 9, 1906 August 4, 1942) was an American actress, musician, and singer who came to prominence for her appearances in several Pathé Exchange and Universal Pictures films in the 1920s.

Jeanette Loff
Loff in 1930
Janette Clarinda Lov

(1906-10-09)October 9, 1906
Orofino, Idaho, U.S.
DiedAugust 4, 1942(1942-08-04) (aged 35)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materEllison-White Conservatory
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1927–1934
  • Harry Roseboom (m. 19291929)
  • Bert Friedlob (m. 19361942)

Born in Idaho, Loff was raised throughout the Pacific Northwest, and began singing professionally as a lyric soprano and performing as an organist while a teenager in Portland, Oregon. She studied music at the Ellison-White Conservatory of Music. After moving to Los Angeles, Loff was signed to a film contract by producer Cecil B. DeMille, with Pathé Exchange in 1927. She subsequently signed a contract with Universal Pictures. She appeared in over twenty films during the course of her seven-year career, with lead parts in such films as Hold 'Em Yale (1928) and the controversial crime film Party Girl (1930). She also appeared in the musical King of Jazz (1930) as a vocalist.

Loff formally retired from acting in 1934, with her last screen credit in Joseph Santley's Million Dollar Baby (1934). She died on August 4, 1942 from ammonia poisoning in Los Angeles at the age of 35. Though law enforcement was unable to determine whether her death was an accident or a suicide, Loff's family maintained that she had been murdered.

Life and career

1906–1925: Early life

Loff was born Janette Clarinda Lov in Orofino, Idaho[lower-alpha 1][1][5] to Marius (Maurice) and Inga Lov (née Loseth).[4] She was the eldest of a family of five children. Her father, a farmer and a barber who played the violin in local orchestras,[6] was a first-generation American born to Danish parents.[lower-alpha 2] Marius relocated the family relocated to Ottertail, Minnesota, where Loff lived with her younger sister, Irene.[lower-alpha 3] They moved to Wadena, Saskatchewan, Canada[8][9] in 1912 where Maurice Loff opened a barbershop.[10]

At the age of eleven, Loff played the title role in the play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[4] At sixteen she was a lyric soprano and had the leading role in an operetta, Treasure Hunters.[4] Loff attended Lewiston High School in Lewiston, Idaho.[4] When she was seventeen the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where Loff continued her musical education at the Ellison-White Conservatory of Music. She played the organ at theaters in Portland under the name Jan Lov.[3][11] She sometimes appeared singing theater prologues during vacations from school.[12]

1926–1936: Film career

After moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment, Loff married jewelry salesman Harry K. Roseboom on October 8, 1926; their divorce was finalized three years later in Portland on October 8, 1929, with Loff claiming Roseboom became jealous and violent toward her because of her budding film career.[13]

Loff's motion picture career began with an uncredited role in the silent film version of Uncle Tom's Cabin.[14] She was signed to a contract by Cecil B. DeMille with Pathé Exchange, anglicising her surname from Lov to Loff.[6] She was soon cast as in ingénue roles in almost every instance, which enticed her to take a break from her movie career and perform on stage. In 1928, Loff was the first person to ride with Santa Claus down Hollywood Boulevard at the first Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles.[15] In 1930, Pathé opted not to renew Loff's contract, after which she signed with Universal.[16]

Her last screen role before she briefly retired was in the Paul Whiteman revue, King of Jazz (1930).[17] Her performance as a vocalist in the film was praised by Mordaunt Hall in a New York Times review.[18] which employed her soprano singing voice.[19] She also had a lead role in Party Girl (1930) opposite Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and received critical acclaim for her performance.[20] The film, however, was controversial due to its depiction of an escort agency, and was banned in some U.S. cities.[21]

She remained under contract to Universal Pictures for some months but made no additional films for the studio. Her absence from the film industry was noted in a 1933 issue of Motion Picture Magazine, in addition to speculation about her personal life:

Jeanette Loff, who has been absent from Hollywood for some time, seems to have been able to make Gilbert Roland forget all the other girls he has been interested in since his break with Norma Talmadge, if you care to believe the idle tongues of the cinema city. Miss Loff is planning to go on tour with Buddy Rogers and his band on the West Coast and later hopes to return to the screen.[22]

1934–1942: Retirement

Around 1934, Loff relocated to New York City and appeared in musical plays and with orchestras before returning to films with a role as a country girl in Flirtation. Her final motion picture performances came in Hide-Out, and the Joseph Santley-directed Million Dollar Baby, all released in 1934.[23] After retiring from film, Loff wed Los Angeles businessman Bertram Eli Friedlob (1906-1956) in 1936.


On August 1, 1942, Loff ingested ammonia at the Beverly Hills home she shared with husband Friedlob on 9233 Doheny Road.[24] The ammonia ingestion caused severe chemical burns to her throat and mouth.[25] She died three days later of ammonia poisoning on August 4, 1942, in Los Angeles.

The New York Times reported she had ingested the ammonia "on the coast,"[26] and coroners were unable to determine whether she ingested ammonia either accidentally or intentionally.[25] She had been suffering from a stomach ailment and may have accidentally taken the wrong bottle of medication.[27] While her death could not be patently ruled either accident or suicide, her family maintained that she had been murdered.[24] Loff is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.

See also


Denotes a lost or presumed lost film.
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1926 Young April Extra Short film; uncredited [28]
1926 The Collegians Student Short film; uncredited [28]
1927 Uncle Tom's Cabin Auction Spectator Uncredited [14]
1927 My Friend from India Marion/Ruth Brooks [29]
1928 The Man Without a Face [30]
1928 Hold 'Em Yale Helen Bradbury Alternative title: At Yale [31]
1928 The Black Ace Mary [32]
1928 Man-Made Women Marjorie [33]
1928 Annapolis Betty Alternative title: Branded a Coward [34]
1928 Love Over Night Jeanette Stewart [35]
1929 The Forty-Five Caliber War Ruth Walling Alternative title: 45 Calibre War [36]
1929 The Sophomore Barbara Lange Alternative title: Compromised [37]
1929 The Racketeer Millie Chapman Alternative title: Love's Conquest [38]
1930 Party Girl Ellen Powell Alternative title: Dangerous Business [20]
1930 The Boudoir Diplomat Greta [39]
1930 Fighting Thru Alice Malden Alternative titles: Fightin' Ranch, California in 1878 [40]
1930 King of Jazz Vocalist Performer of number "The Bridal Veil" [17]
1934 St. Louis Woman Lou Morrison, the St. Louis Woman [41]
1934 A Duke for a Day Gloria Blossom [42]
1934 Benny, from Panama Jeanette Foy [42]
1934 Hide-Out Blonde #2 Uncredited [43]
1934 Flirtation Nancy Poole Also stars Ben Alexander and Arthur Tracy [25]
1934 Million Dollar Baby Rita Ray [44]


  1. Some sources, such as Scott Wilson's Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (2016) state Loff was born in "Cronno, Idaho"; however, no documentation of such a town or settlement exists. Loff states in a 1929 Photoplay profile that she was born in the city of Orofino,[1] and 1929 International Motion Picture Almanac also lists her birthplace as Orofino.[2] A 1936 article published in the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune also states Orofino as her birthplace, and describes it as a "little lumber center in Idaho."[3] However, the Almanac's 1936 issue curiously lists "Cronno" as her birthplace.[4]
  2. Though newspaper sources claimed that Loff's father Marius was from Copenhagen and a professional violinist, he was in fact born in Minnesota, per his U.S. social services registration card.
  3. According to U.S. Census records from the 1910 United States Census, Jeanette Loff resided with her parents, Marius (age 30) and Inga (age 25), and her sister Irene (age 3) in Ottertail, Minnesota.[7]


  1. Howe, Herbert (May 1929). "The All-Star Blonde". Photoplay: 37–8.
  2. International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company. 1929. p. 26.
  3. "Motion Picture". 40. Macfadden-Bartell. 1930: 115. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company. 1936. p. 546.
  5. Carter, Charles (1930). "Yes, Yes, Jeanette!". Screenland: 66.
  6. "Jeanette Loff - Blonde Beauty". Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  7. "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (accessed 13 July 2017), Jeanette C. Loff in household of Marius Loff, Sverdrup, Otter Tail, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 178, sheet 4A, family 45, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 714; FHL microfilm 1,374,727.
  8. Gersdorf, Phil (1928). "Jeanette Loff: Tagged for Glory". Screenland: 34–5, 93.
  9. "Talking Films Give Saskatchewan Girl A Chance to 'Star'". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. January 18, 1930 via
  10. "Jeanette's Family". Jeanette's Family. Retrieved 2019-07-15.
  11. "Theater Organist Shines As Screen Beauty". Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune. July 14, 1928. p. 4 via
  12. Coons, Robbin (December 12, 1933). "Jeanette Loff Began Career as 'Jan Lov'". The Ithaca Journal. Ithaca, New York. p. 8 via
  13. "Jealousy Plea Brings Decree". The San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, California. October 9, 1929. p. 16 via
  14. "Jeanette Loff and Rod La Rocque in "Love Over Night" - At the Theaters". The Amarillo Globe-Times. Amarillo, Texas. October 31, 1928. p. 11 via
  15. Marling 2009, p. 254.
  16. Thomas, Dan (January 29, 1930). "Getting Fired Was the Big Break Jeanette Was Looking For". The Journal Standard. Freeport, Illinois. p. 7 via
  17. Gevinson 1997, p. 547.
  18. Hall, Mordaunt (May 3, 1930). "THE SCREEN; A Sparkling Extravaganza. "The Living Corpse."". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  19. Barrios 1995, p. 183.
  20. Hall, Mordaunt (January 2, 1930). "THE SCREEN". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  21. "Party Girl Banned in B'Ham; Coming Strand". Dothan Eagle. Dothan, Alabama. July 19, 1930. p. 2 via
  22. "Motion Picture Magazine". 45. Macfadden-Bartell. 1933: 90. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. "Jeanette Loff - Tragic Film Player". Bizarre Los Angeles: Photography and Forgotten History. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  24. Fleming 2008, p. 299.
  25. Wilson 2016, p. 451.
  26. "MISS LOFF DIES OF POISON; Former Film Actress Swallowed Ammonia Saturday on Coast". The New York Times. August 6, 1942. p. 22.
  27. "Jeanette Loff - Blonde Beauty". Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  28. Thorold, W. J.; Hornblow, Arthur; Maxwell, Perriton; Beach, Stewart (1928). "Jeanette Loff". Theatre Magazine. Theatre Magazine Company. 47: 22. OCLC 1716027.
  29. American Film Institute 1997, p. 530.
  30. Rainey 1990, p. 156.
  31. Gevinson 1997, p. 1318.
  32. American Film Institute 1997, p. 62.
  33. American Film Institute 1997, p. 489.
  34. American Film Institute 1997, p. 20.
  35. American Film Institute 1997, p. 459.
  36. American Film Institute 1997, p. 269.
  37. "The Sophomore". Films in Review. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 39: 189. 1988.
  38. "The Racketeer". International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company: 1226. 1936.
  39. American Film Institute 1997, p. 79.
  40. American Film Institute 1997, p. 244.
  41. "Missouri Nightingale". The New Yorker. 38: 24. 1935.
  42. Filmography for Jeanette Loff. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  43. "Jeanette Loff List of Movies". TV Guide. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  44. "Million Dollar Baby". Motion Picture. Mcfadden-Bartell. 4: 18. 1934.


  • American Film Institute (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films 1921–1930. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20969-5.
  • Barrios, Richard (1995). A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-08811-3.
  • Fleming, E. J. (2008). Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the MGM Director and Husband of Harlow. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-45274-3.
  • Gevinson, Alan (1997). Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American Feature Films, 1911-1960. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20964-0.
  • Marling, Karal Ann (2009). Merry Christmas! Celebrating America’s Greatest Holiday. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04062-5.
  • Rainey, Bruce (1990). Those Fabulous Serial Heroines: Their Lives and Films. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-810-81911-5.
  • Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 451. ISBN 9781476625997.

Further reading

  • Albert Lea Evening Tribune "Hollywood Sights and Sounds", January 9, 1934, Page 9.
  • Los Angeles Times "Jeanette Loff", August 8, 1942, Page 7.
  • The New York Times "Miss Loff Dies of Poison", August 6, 1942, Page 22.
  • Dallas Morning News "Jeanette Loff, 35, former screen actress, died at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital", August 6, 1942
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