Playboy Retro: Janet Jones

By Staff

<p>Gretzky wasn't the only Great One in the family...</p>

Long before the birth of one Paulina Gretzky, Janet Jones was an actress just trying to make a living under the bright lights of Hollywood. The following pictorial and interview appeared in our pages in March 1987, just a year before she married the Great One and brought into the world one of the Twittersphere’s favorite celebrities to stalk.


Girl watching becomes a subtle art when there’s a Janet Jones to contemplate. Believe it or not, this all-American beauty insists she was chiefly celebrated right through high school for her skill at softball. “The guys wouldn’t start the game till I finished my dinner,” says Janet, adding, “I guess I stopped looking like one of the boys when I was about 18.”

By that time, number six in the Jones family line-up of seven kids had already traded her baseball cleats for dancing slippers and won a Miss Dance of America title. She joined a San Francisco ballet troupe but decided that the rigorously disciplined life of a ballerina was not her style. “I wanted more freedom, more fun…more time to be with my friends.” So she moved to L.A., got a job on TV’s Dance Fever, acquired an agent and began doing commercials for such products as Kodak, Shasta cola and Wrangler jeans.

The stroke of luck that led to her role in Flamingo Kid came about because she had taken up tennis with actor-athlete Nels Van Patten. Their four-years-plus relationship ended about the time Janet went into A Chorus Line. The film didn’t fare so well, either, but Janet recalls it as “a fantastic learning experience,” noting that she also remains good friends with Nels. In her code of cheerful fatalism, what happens is most likely what’s meant to be…


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