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Famous Janes of the 20th Century

She is known as the "mother of social work," but the contributions of Jane Adams on early 20th century America were much broader. She wrote 11 books, including the lightning rod text, "Why Women Should Vote." She helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union, institutions that influence our culture today. In 1931, she was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jane Curtin

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Early SNL fans may remember this original cast member by the line oft-spoken by fellow thespian Chevy Chase, "Jane, you ignorant slut." But this talented actress possesses neither of these attributes as her broad TV credentials display. For over 30 years, Curtin has taken on a variety of leading roles in long-running series such as "Kate and Allie," and "Third Rock from the Sun." And, she's taken her comedic talents to the big-screen, starring in the cult-hit "Coneheads," with fellow SNL alum. Dan Ackroyd.

Jane Fonda

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Hanoi Jane, the queen of workout videos, Ted's ex....whatever you call her, Jane Fonda is a survivor. This Hollywood maven stepped out of the shadow of famous Father Henry and brother Peter to show the world what she was made of...and at times, how far she'd stretch to make a buck, starring in such b-movies as "Barbarella." Years later, she redeemed herself with her stellar performance in "On Golden Pond," however, many Vietnam Vets still could not forgive her for her support of the enemy in the Vietnam War.

Jane Goodall

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For over 30 years, Jane Goodall has devoted her life to increasing awareness of the role of primates in human evolution. From her field work in Africa to the founding of the Jane Goodall Institute in Ridgefield, CT., she has received numerous awards and recognition for her scientific findings and discoveries.

Jane Kaczmarek

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Most avid "Malcolm in the Middle" fans will recognize the wacky and sometimes psychotic Mom played by Jane Kaczmarek. But for the alumni of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, she's just another successful Badger. The Fox smash sitcom is the just latest installment for this UW alum, who graduated from their theatre program in 1979.

Jane Krakowski

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Her hemlines and attention-getting body enhancing inventions regularly steal the spotlight on Fox's "Ally McBeal." But underneath those blond curly locks is a powder keg of talent. Prior to her role as the prying secretary Elaine, Jane Krakowski appeared in numerous television shows, movies and theatre productions both on and off Broadway. As an accomplished actress, singer and dancer, she is a triple threat and fans are bound to see much more of her in the coming months.

Jane Leeves

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Since 1993, Jane Leeves' character sweet-spirited Daphne Moon has stolen the hearts of Crane boys and fans on the long-running sitcom, "Frasier." So, it may seem strange that her first TV role was on the bawdy British comedy, "The Benny Hill Show." But since leaving the green shores of England, Leeves has enjoyed a successful TV career, making numerous guest appearances on shows such as "Murphy Brown," and "Seinfeld."

Jayne Mansfield

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Okay, so she can't spell her name correctly, but in spite of that, Jayne Mansfield became a Hollywood legend. Whether the questionable nature of her death or how a blond bombshell with just one or two legitimate box office hits could eventually be regarded as a Marilyn-Monroe like phenomenon, Jayne Mansfield continues to attract attention.

Jane Russell

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Millionaire mogul Howard Hughes first signed Jane Russell as a movie star in 1941 and under the seven year contract, she starred in numerous movies where her curvaceous features were the true standout. In 1953, she had a chance to show off her comedic talents with her role as Dorothy Shaw in the movie, "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds." Later in life, Russell continued to use her upfront assets as the spokeswoman for a national lingerie manufacturer.

Jane Seymour

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American heads first turned with the site of Jane Seymour as the virginal tarot queen in the 1973 James Bond Film, "Live and Let Die." But Jane was not just another pretty face, as her long-standing Hollywood career can attest to. Numerous movies on the big and small screen are a demonstration of her star power and her long-running series, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," shows how far this English native has come in her adopted country.

Last Updated: March 15, 2001
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