Janet Landgard: Singing the Praises of An Early TV Icon


One of the reasons celebrities are so captivating is that they flit in and out of our lives like good friends sneaking into and out of a party. One moment, they are lighting up our favorite movies and television shows; the next moment, they are gone, replaced by a younger actor trying to follow in their footsteps.

Now that she has passed away, we thought it important to take a closer look at the life of accomplished actor, artist, and screen legend Janet Landgard. She may not be a household name now, but she left a mark on Hollywood and the world itself that few will ever match. Keep reading to learn all about this television icon, including her amazing life and unbelievable career! 

An early modeling career

Like many famous actors, Janet Landgard began her professional career as a model. Beginning December 2, 1947, Landgard started modeling for the William Adrian Modeling Agency. Part of what made Landgard’s modeling career so impressive is that she was still in high school. She might have been very young, but she knew one thing: she wanted the eyes of the world on her!

She was very successful as a model because she had the kind of “it” factor most girls were missing. Photographers soon noticed that she had a kind of otherworldly loveliness…a bit like an angel who came to Earth and decided to pose for pictures. As you might expect, it didn’t take long for such a rare beauty to get noticed by Hollywood.

Janet Landgard: how her career in acting began

As far as legendary Hollywood careers go, Janet Landgard had a relatively humble start. She began appearing on The Donna Reed Show as Karen, and her character was intended as a love interest for Peter. Now, the entire country could see the great beauty that had captivated every photographer who had snapped a picture of her, and Landgard’s career soon began accelerating.

Though she was still in high school, Landgard soon began acting in ABC’s hit show My Three Sons. She impressed on this show, proving that could do more than just The Donna Reed Show. And while she would continue acting on television, it didn’t take long for Landgard to begin appearing on the silver screen.

Rising to prominence as an actor

Janet Landgard made her Hollywood debut in 1968 by starring in The Swimmer. This was a very big role for her: for one thing, she starred alongside established screen veteran Burt Lancaster, and she impressed the world with her ability to match pace with the longtime actor. On top of that, the movie ended up being critically acclaimed, meaning that she was officially a hit with general audiences and discerning critics alike.

Becoming a movie star didn’t mean that Landgard turned her back on her television roots, though. In the 1970s, she starred in other hit television series such as The Bold Ones and The Mod Squad. Being a hit actor on both the big screen and the small screen ensured Landgard would have a successful acting career as long as she wanted one.

Her most iconic films

We’ve touched on some of the major television shows that helped make Janet Landgard into a household name. However, she continued to star in one great film after another. And if you’re hoping to stage a little film festival at home in her honor, it’s important to know what the late star’s biggest hits were.

In addition to the aforementioned The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster, Landgard also starred in Land Raiders alongside Telly Savalas and Moonchild alongside Victor Buono. These films established her as one of Hollywood’s greatest actors, but amazingly enough, she still found time to cultivate some other amazing talents.

Discovering other passions besides acting

Obviously, Janet Landgard embraced modeling and acting from an early age. When she was even younger, though, she developed a great talent for photography. Between iconic acting roles, she continued working on her skills in photography and visual arts, and her passion for these fields would only grow over time.

Eventually, Landgard left acting altogether to focus on photography. Incredibly, she found amazing success in this field as well, and she became an admired, world-class artist with the same ease with which she became a world-famous artist.

Janet Landgard will be sorely missed

Through her talent as an actor and as a photographer, Janet Landgard gave so much to the world. We can only imagine how much she still had left to offer; sadly, she ended up dying at age 75 after battling brain cancer.

It’s very sad to discover that someone so talented and inspirational is lost to us. However, we’re choosing to focus on gratitude for everything Landgard gave us over the years rather than sadness that she can no longer give us anything at all.

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