Paging Miss Pennington !
propelled by a sure-fire mixture of ambition and ability, janice's acting star is on the rise
"I've been thinking seriously about an acting career ever since I was twelve," confesses 25-year-old Janice Pennington. "But I never admitted it because I was afraid people would consider me egotistical if I told them my ambitions." She believes that being raised in Southern California contributed to her precocious plans for stardom, which -- except for one attempt to change them -- have remained unaltered. Finishing high school, she left the Coast for New York -- "to forget about becoming an actress. I told myself I simply couldn't make it in films." Trying for a career as a fashion mannequin, she eventually came under the auspices of Eileen Ford's prestigious modeling agency; but even after 18 successful months, her screen aspirations hadn't faded, so she headed home to get an agent and begin answering casting calls. After supporting herself during lean times with trips to nearby Las Vegas for jobs in casino song-and-dance troupes, she graduated to appearances as an extra on the Playboy After Dark show, to small speaking parts in episodes of several other television series and, finally, to a role as an operating-room nurse who assists -- then resists -- surgeon Elliott Gould in the movie I Love My Wife. And now -- in what could be her big screen break -- Janice is playing a columnist-interviewer in a satirical drama being filmed, without any prerelease publicity, by Orson Welles, about whom she speaks with a deferential admiration approaching reverence. "Everyone in the movie is like a child at his feet. Not that he coerces you into that kind of attitude but you naturally fall into it because he's so overpowering -- mentally and physically." Should this be the stroke of good fortune that she's been working and waiting for, Janice wants to weigh future script offers with considerable caution. "I'm not in such a hurry that I'd play a role I didn't feel was right for me," she explains. There's one kind of part, however, that Janice would accept without a moment's hesitation. "I'd love to play someone slightly mad. I don't necessarily mean a villainess, just someone kind of flipped out. That would be fascinating and challenging." If she ever plays such a part, her portrayal will certainly belie the offscreen, at-home Janice, who calls herself "terribly normal" and enjoys such simple pastimes as cooking and sewing. She even remodeled her Sherman Oaks living room not long ago, plastering the walls and bricking the fireplace herself. This domestic know-how should serve Janice well in a role she hopes will be hers in the still-distant future. "I want to live near a forest and a river, away from smog, with a husband and children. I don't know where that is yet, but I'm certain that I want to be there." We have every confidence that, given her characteristic determination, Janice will find it. Whether she's destined to become a film star or a housewife -- or both -- she's got all the ambition and the assets for a winning performance.
Photography by Mario Casilli