Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Janet Martin: Republic Star
Born Valya Valentina Tetlacov in, some sources claim, Moscow, USSR, she was the daughter of Czarist folk-singer Myra Sokolskaya. The latter, who went on to appear in Republic's Northwest Outpost (1947) and probably other walk-ons, acted as her daughter's agent upon signing with Republic. The youngster explained to the press why she changed her billing to “Janet Martin”:
“By being plain Janet Martin I avoid political arguments. As Valya Sokolskaya. I would be expected to either defend or castigate the policies of Stalin, Molotov and other Russians. With a non-political name like Janet Martin I ran just relax and talk about other things—even 'Blondie and Dagwood.'”
"I'm not expected to star in grim productions like the Dostoievsky Brothers turned out,” she added prophetically.
Alas, despite quite a bit of hub-bub and starring roles in Republic action fare, the name Janet Martin does not resonate today. Was she perhaps too similar to “Mrs. Republic Pictures,” Vera Ralston, to get the final push toward stardom?