Jan Clayton II

After leaving the Lassie series in 1957, the pressures of life got the best of Jan Clayton. There were two marriages that ended in divorce. An errant driver killed her daughter in 1956. That may have been the reason for her leaving the series one year later. I suspect she worried about being type cast after five years on Lassie. Jan appeared on various TV shows as a guest star.

In the late 50s, she began drinking socially and carried the bottle into her personal life. Then there was a third divorce in 1968. After 10 years of drinking, she finally faced her problem squarely, got the needed help, and stopped drinking. She established the Jan Clayton Center in Los Angeles in 1969 for treatment for those suffering from substance abuse. Jan was quite active continuing to appear as a Guest Star on TV and working long hours at the center. Unfortunately, she never got her own TV series or a big part in motion pictures. Her alcoholism might have been a factor here.

As it turned out, Clayton averaged about one role per year. I wish it would have been more. Then to use a cliche, She did “allot for” the entire issue of alcoholism and drug addiction. Her role as Julie Jordan on You Tube for Carousel becomes even more poignant against the background of her own life. Jan Clayton died of cancer in August of 1983; her age was only 66. She was a native of New Mexico where the atomic testing occurred; her alcoholism did not help any. Check her out on You Tube for various roles and you agree with another cliche…She left us far too early.

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