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Janice Marie Pennington (born July 8, 1942 in Seattle, Washington) is a former American Model, actress, and author. She is best known for being one of the two original "Barker's Beauties" on The Price is Right, serving as the show's longest-running model to date, from September 4, 1972 to December 15, 2000.
She was also Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for the May 1971 issue. She is the older sister of fellow model Ann Pennington (who occasionally served as a substitute model on Price). Pennington is also the co-founder of the Hollywood Film Festival alongside her current husband, Carlos De Abreu.
Janice is also the author of her own book called Husband Lover Spy.
Her Career Before & During The Price is RightEdit
Her first job as a dancer was at the Seattle World's Fair at the age of 19. From there she went to Las Vegas where she worked as a dancer/show girl with such legends as Jimmy Durante and Eddie Fisher.
When she was 22 she went to New York to pursue her modeling career. She signed with the famous Eileen Ford Agency. Fashion photography and television commercials ensued. She did over seventy commercials for such products as Dove, Chrysler, Max Factor, Whirlpool, Anacin, etc. While in New York she formed a rock group called "The Models" that traveled to Europe with Liza Minnelli, and performed at the Olympia Theater as one of Liza's opening acts. She was signed with MGM records and recorded the famous song Bend me Shape me.
Industrial films and small budget movies were a part of her growing career. For two years she worked as an actress for Orson Welles in his last film "The Other Side Of The Wind," with such notables as Dennis Hopper, John Huston, Peter Bogdonavich and other famous stars. She appeared in many episodic TV series, such as Ironside, Courtship Of Eddie's Father, starring Bill Bixby, Lucas Tanner, and cameo roles on other television series. She played opposite Elliot Gould in the film I Love My Wife. Also she performed as an entertainer on variety shows, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, Bob Hope Specials, and Sonny and Cher. During her tenure on those shows she worked with Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett among others.
Then in 1969, she was one of the regulars on the hit variety show Laugh-In after actress Goldie Hawn left the show.
In September 1971 she was hired to shoot the pilot for The Price is Right with Bob Barker. Janice has the world record for having taped over 6,300 episodes of the longest running game show in the history of television.
On the May 14, 1976 Daytime episode, a special showcase was presented, titled Janice Pennington, This is Your Strife. The showcase featured prizes (and clips) that Janice had some mishaps with: the Pop-Up bar that wouldn't pop up, the overstuffed refrigerator that nearly fell on her, and a convertible that she nearly crashed the bumper of when driving it out on stage for the Lucky Seven game (Dian drove it out on stage during the actual showcase). During the rehearsal of that show, the staff actually rehearsed a fake showcase so Janice would have no clue on what was happening.
On a syndicated episode of The Price is Right from 1976, during the Cliff Hangers game, host Dennis James had referred to the mountain climber as "Fritz". He was not aware of Janice's heartbreaking and personal crisis as her then-husband Fritz Stammberger had disappeared while mountain climbing in Afghanistan. The contestant who played Cliff Hangers had lost the game as the mountain climber tumbled off the cliff and Dennis shouted "There Goes Fritz !" which sent a devastated and distraught Janice running and remaining backstage crying, she did not appear on camera for the remainder of that show.
On October 7, 1988, Janice suffered a serious injury after a cameraman swung his camera in the wrong direction during the opening as Janice was struck by the camera, knocking her into the audience. She was badly injured and was immediately rushed to the hospital for surgery. The production of that taping was stopped for nearly an hour until the staff was assured that Janice would survive. The taping finally resumed with only Holly Hallstrom and Dian Parkinson modeling.
Over the next several weeks while Janice recovered from her injury, Kyle Aletter filled in for her. Janice returned to the show on November 10 and although she made a full recovery, she was no longer able to model swimsuits after the accident as her surgeries left some damaging scars on her shoulder.
In February 1989, Janice filed suit against CBS citing negligence. The case went to trial and in March 1992, a jury awarded her $1.3 million for injuries she sustained on the set of The Price is Right.
During the 1991-1992 TV season, Janice hosted a weekly 1/2 hour talk show called Breaking In where she revealed the real Hollywood, the stars and the stars behind the stars. She taped and broadcast 45 shows.
Beginning on May 8, 1992, Janice took a leave of absence from The Price is Right as she traveled to Russia to investigate more into the disappearance of her first husband, Fritz and it was there she learned that Fritz was declared legally dead back in 1984. Finally finding closure, Janice returned to the states and to the set of Price (May 27) and off the set, she was hard at work on her book Husband Lover Spy which she publicly released in early 1994.
Janice, along with Kathleen Bradley, was dismissed from The Price is Right on December 15, 2000. Though a reason was never given for their dismissal, it is rumored that both refused to testify against former beauty Holly Hallstrom in her wrongful termination suit against Bob Barker and they were fired as a result. Neither was given a proper formal send off by the show which left fans angry and outraged. There was more hurt and anger over Janice's abrupt dismissal due to the fact that she had been with the show since its premiere episode dating back to September 4, 1972. Janice was not only dumped from The Price is Right, she was also prohibited from publicly speaking against Bob Barker for possibly legal reasons.
Janice has married three times. She was first married to Glen Jacobson from 1964 to 1973. A year later, Janice married her second husband, Fritz Stammberger on May 12, 1974 and a year later, he disappeared while mountain climbing in Afghanistan and was declared legally dead in the early 1980s. Her current husband is famed writer, Carlos De Abreu, they married on April 20, 1984.