Wednesday, August 24, 2011


As of this writing, the loss of this very special lady has not yet been publicized, but obviously will be soon. It is with great sadness that I must report that child star, Sybil Jason passed away on August 23, 2011. Having been ill for half a year, Sybil, surrounded by her beloved family, left peacefully late Tuesday afternoon to begin life anew.

Born Sybil Jacobson on November 23, 1927 in Cape Town, South Africa, by the age of three Sybil was making public appearances doing impersonations and playing the piano. This led to London where she performed on stage and was to make two 1935 film appearances in England, BARNACLE BILL and DANCE BAND. Her unique beauty, obvious intelligence and talent was noted by Irving Asher, head of Warner Brothers' London based studio. This led to a contract with Warners, which brought Sybil and her family to Los Angeles. She made her US screen debut in LITTLE BIG SHOT released in 1935. She co-starred in six films and four shorts at Warners, making her final WB film, COMET OVER BROADWAY in 1938. She scored her greatest hit at Warners in THE SINGING FOOL, appearing with the legendary Al Jolson. 1939 found her at Republic Studios, co-starring in WOMAN DOCTOR. Sybil then was to make two films in 1939/1940, THE LITTLE PRINCESS and THE BLUE BIRD, both starring her soon-to-be lifelong friend, Shirley Temple. It is her engaging performance as the little cockney maid, Becky for which she is best remembered.

On New Years' Eve of 1947, Sybil Jason married the love of her life, Anthony Drake. Mr. Drake passed away in 2005. They had one daughter, Toni Maryanna who now is married to Phillip Rossi, producer of THE NEW PRICE IS RIGHT.

Sybil was the author of three well received autobiographies, "My Fifteen Minutes: An Autobiography of a Child Star of the Golden Era of Hollywood" (2005), "Five Minutes More" (2007), and "What's It All About, Sybil? The Sybil Jason International Fan Club" (2010).

This wee biography is by no means complete nor is attempting to be. Undoubtedly there will be accolades and obituaries shortly to follow in both print and on the Internet. But I simply could not let Ms Jason's passing go unmentioned by yours truly as she has been such gracious and thoughtful friend to me. For whenever possible in her busy schedule over these past years, she has taken the time to answer my questions regarding Ross Alexander with accuracy, detail, and sincere enthusiasm. Throughout our correspondence, she offered me viable information with a unique perspective. Sybil's intelligence and memory were truly a priceless rarity and I am forever grateful.

Miss Jason will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, which--ironically as such--is within eyesight of Warner Brothers Studios and is now reunited with her cherished husband in their family plot. I shall miss my dear correspondent and her charmingly insightful letters. Later tonight, when all is quiet, I think I will watch THE LITTLE PRINCESS once more, savor her performance and weep a little weep. Goodnight sweetheart.