The Actress Zone

{November 23, 2011}   Introducing… Jean Heather

Cute brunette actress Jean Heather came of age when American boys were pinning up photographs of ladies like Betty Grable and Jane Russell all over military barracks walls.  The lithe-bodied, soft-voiced Miss Heather began work in Hollywood during World War II and acted alongside many leading names in the film industry.  Her career never quite took off as imagined, but Jean had a spell at the tail end of the war when she worked on a consistent basis.

Very few actors make their film debut in classic motion pictures, and even fewer have pivotal roles, but Jean Heather was an exception.  Her initial film industry assignment came in the Billy Wilder classic DOUBLE INDEMNITY with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.  Miss Heather wasn’t credited as a “hat check girl” or “pretty dame on the street,” but played Lola, the pouty daughter of the deceitful Barbara Stanwyck.  Jean gives a solid performance as the doe-eyed beauty, who seems easy to keep in line but is all too eager to do what daddy would prefer she wouldn’t.  She slips into MacMurray’s car and has him take her, secretly mind you, to meet her rowdy, violent boyfriend in town.  The pretty Miss Heather excels as Lola, bringing her natural innocent appearance to the role of a young woman with a cunning mind.

After shooting DOUBLE INDEMNITY, one of the finest pictures in film history, Jean landed a role in a Bing Crosby musical titled GOING MY WAY.  The dapper Mister Crosby plays a clergyman in the two-hour long singfest with solid support from Jean.  Her first year in Hollywood was fruitful, for the young Midwesterner appeared in four films.  The following year she teamed up with Fred MacMurray again in the oddball comedy MURDER, HE SAYS.  Fred plays a pollster sent to the backwoods to locate a missing co-worker but instead finds a hillbilly brood trying to learn where their dying grandmother buried $70,000.  The dying dame gives MacMurray a hint and the goose chase begins.  Jean plays the airheaded Elany who constantly sings an incoherent little jingle that might be a clue as to where the loot is stashed.  Jean is quite brilliant in her role as a simple-minded bumpkin, employing crazy eyes to contrast with her dainty features.  The dinner table scene, in which a plate of food is poisoned, is the highlight of the film.  Elany adds to the despair of the scene by eating a roll that was placed on the poisoned dish which distinguished it from the non-poisoned dishes.

In 1946 Jean appeared in THE WELL-GROOMED BRIDE and followed up that role with a western in 1947.  Having worked with MacMurray and Crosby, Miss Heather teamed with famous western star Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, in THE LAST ROUND-UP.  Jean plays the lovely, virtuous school marm who helps the yodeling oater in a scheme designed to pit Gene against a band of Indians.  Jean would make one final film, RED STALLION IN THE ROCKIES, before ending her acting career.





BODY: 6.6



Robert says:

Why did Jean Heather quit the movies in 1949? What did she do after she left Hollywood?

Michelle says:

She was in a car crash. That is why she left Hollywood. Her real name was Jean Hetherington and she was my Dads Cousin. Michelle Amsbury

Michelle says:

I have just left information about her on Jean Meier, Los Angeles California Surname Hetherington.

Sylvia says:

Was she disfigured Michelle? She was still young.

Michelle says:

Sylvia, I really do not know. No one in our family knew. I just posted a picture of her and her Dad on I purchased studio shots on ebay from a man in Los Angeles, who purchased them from her when she came in, shortly before she died. He was really happy that a family member had gotten them. She was really pleased that he recognized her. I have the orginals, and made copies for family members. Sadly she is still not listed as Famous, she hasnt enough stars for Findagrave. Perhaps you might help make that happen? Her other cousin was Keith Hetherington, also a star, City at Night, Dr. Ross Dog Food…..Michelle Townsend Amsbury

Vic says:

Jean was a lovely girl who made an impact in the classic film noir, Double Indemnity. I was sory and surprised that she didn’t make any more movies after 1944, the year that I was born! R.I.P. Jean.

I will contact her cousin and post some information concerning her. She remained beautiful until her death. I have her picture posted on
(Jean Hetherington Meier) Memorial #106819605 She was my Grandmothers cousin. Michelle

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for your touching comment about Jean Hetherington Meier, also known as the beautiful film star, Jean Heather. In Double Indemnity, she gave an angelic performance as Lola Dietrichson, which was such an antidote to the other, mostly bad and cynical characters in the film and although the part was fairly short, it still stayed long in the memory. Her scenes with Fred MacMurray were particularly lovely, especially when they went to the Hollywood Bowl concert. I tried to find her final resting place on, but wasn’t successful, so I must be pressing the wrong search button.

With Kindest Regards,


Meier, (Jean Hetherington) Memorial #106819605

The beautifully feline Jean Heather gave a charming performance in Double Indemnity. I know it was only a film but she (Lola) was far too sweet and nice for bad boy, Nino Zachetti! It is just our loss that the delightful Jean didn’t make many more movies. With regard to Double Indemnity itself, I recently discovered that Dick Powell was Billy Wilder’s original choice for Walter Neff, but that Dick’s studio boss wouldn’t release him for the film, causing a rift between him and his studio. It’s such a pity, as Dick Powell would have been perfect in the part, especially after his great success in the similar, Murder My Sweet/Farewell, My Lovely. Fred MacMurray was great, but Dick Powell might even have been better! It’s something we’ll never know.

I loved Jean in Double Indemnity, made in the year of my birth!

Best Wishes,

Vic Timmons

Mark Dingwall says:

She was so beautiful and was likely so eloquent, polite…….special to all that knew her.

Christopher C. O'keefe says:

Ms. Hetherington was very beautiful. She certainly brightened up “Going My Way”. I didn’t realize that was her name. I wish there was more information out there about her. I guess she really wanted to be left alone and forgotten. That’s an awlful shame for her fans, (old and new). If anyone out there knows of any sources for good information, please post them. They would be greatly appreciated, thanks. Chris from Londongrove, Pennsylvania…

craig says:

What a beautiful young lady. For some reason she fascinates me and there is practically no bio info on her.

Sam Orlando says:

Vic, this link will get you to the pictures

Sam Orlando Dear Sam,
Thank you very much for your e-mail and interesting photo attachment and comments about the lovely, late Jean Heather. She was one of the highlights of that great film, Double Indemnity and was definitely not overshadowed by her two illustrious co-stars. I remember falling in love with her soft, feline, graceful beauty the first time that I saw this classic film. She was the kind of American girl next-door that you would be proud of to have as your girlfriend and this is from a 70 year old male British geezer! R.I.P., Jean. Your loveliness will never fade.

With Best Wishes,


Patrick Medved says:

I found a newspaper article mentioning her accident. The paper was from Dec 30,1947. It looks like the article was cut off.,4946641

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