From working with Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in I Married an Angel, to playing a femme fatale in a Pat O’Brien noir film, Riffraff, to portraying The Duchess of York in a 2008 Richard III, set in contemporary Hollywood, you can truly say Anne Jeffreys has done it all. And as the song says — She’s still here.
Most people remember Anne in connection with her late husband Robert Sterling, and indeed the pair did work together a great deal after their marriage.
They starred in the TV series Topper, a situation comedy that ran for a season on each of the three big networks from 1953 to 1955. Jeffreys and Sterling play likable ghosts inhabiting a house owned by Cosmo and Henrietta Topper (Leo G. Carroll and Lee Patrick).
Jeffreys started out as a singer. But her break came as a model for the John Robert Powers Agency in New York. She landed a role in a musical revue, Fun for the Money, and that led to her part in the MacDondald/Eddy film. She worked at RKO opposite Frank Sinatra in Step Lively, and at Republic opposite John Wayne in Flying Tigers.
But Jeffreys film career never took off so she turned her sights to Broadway. There she had greater success. She replaced Patricia Morrison in Kiss Me Kate and racked up 887 performances in two years. It was while on Broadway that she met Sterling, who was also working on the stage by then.
The couple scored big on TV. They also had three sons and Anne briefly “retired.” But she quickly returned and did lots of touring shows and guest spots on television. And occasionally she’d return to films. She did a nice bit in the Kim Novak/James Garner comedy Boys Night Out.