Hollywood icon who starred in Bright Eyes and ‘lit up the room’ dies

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Hollywood icon Jane Withers has died surrounded by her family.

The star, who would "light up the room", passed away on Saturday in California.

The legendary actress, who began her career as a young child, became one of the most famous faces in La La Land.

She starred in pictures opposite greats like Shirley Temple and James Dean.

Her daughter, Kendall Errair, confirmed the news and released a moving tribute after her death.

Withers' cause of death is not yet known.

She said: "My mother was such a special lady. She lit up a room with her laughter, but she especially radiated joy and thankfulness when talking about the career she so loved and how lucky she was."

Kendall also added that Jane's short first name was chosen by her mother with the idea and hope that one day, it'd be able to fit up onto a giant marquee.

Withers' career began at a very young age, as a toddler in Atlanta, where she learned to tap dance and sing.

She even had her own radio show where she interviewed celebs who came to town, and from then on, she was off to Hollywood to make it big.

After various uncredited roles in the early to mid-1930s, her big break came when she starred opposite Shirley Temple in Bright Eyes.

Jane played an older, spoiled girl who was mean to Temple, which included a famous scene where a doll is snatched.

Afterward, her name was featured in big lights when she landed lead roles, including starring in Ginger, Paddy O'Day, Little Miss Nobody, Rascals, and Checkers.

She also is known for This Is The Life, Wild and Wooly, and My Best Gal.

Withers 'retired' from acting at only 21 years old in 1947 as her child stardom began to fade, but she rejoined Hollywood in the 1950s when she acted alongside James Dean in Giant.

Jane also gave voice acting a go and in 1995 she was asked to record several lines of dialogue for Laverne the gargoyle in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, after Mary Wickes who had been cast as the role but died during post-production.

Withers reprised the role in The Hunchback of Notre Dame II in 2002.

She has an impressive 71 acting credits to her name and starred in two episodes of Murder, She Wrote as well as an episode of 1980s hit Love Boat.

Jane was invited to place her handprints and signature in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1939, before being recognised for her contribution to film with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Her star can be found at 6119 Hollywood Boulevard.

She was also the first recipient of the Young Artist Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award at the first Youth in film Awards in 1979.

Later, in 2003, she received a Living Legacy Award from the Women's International Centre.

Jane, aged 95 at the time of her death, is survived by her children.

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