Jan Smithers (Actress) - WKRP in Cincinnati
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Updated: 5/29/19

Name: Jan Smithers

Birth Name: Karin Jan Smithers

Born: July 3, 1949 in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

Claim To Fame: Jan Smithers is an American actress best known for playing Bailey Quarters on the CBS sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.

Family Life: Smithers's first marriage was to Kipp Whitman from 1971 to 1972. From 1986 to 1995, she was married to actor James Brolin and was stepmother to his two sons from a previous marriage; together they have one daughter, Molly.

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Info: While studying art at Taft High School, Smithers swerved her automobile to avoid hitting another driver and ran into a telephone pole. The accident left a permanent scar on her chin.

Smithers first reached the public eye as a teenager when she was featured on the March 21, 1966, cover of Newsweek, seated on a motorcycle. Smithers was interviewed by Newsweek reporter David Moberg for a story about typical American teenagers in the 1960s. She was photographed happily riding on the back of a friend's motorcycle by Julian Wasser. That carefree looking shot made the cover of the March 21, 1966 issue of the magazine. The shot led to work in commercials while she was continuing her art studies at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

Retired from acting in the late '80s.

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Trivia: Her WKRP in Cincinnati character Bailey Quarters was based on creator Hugh Wilson's wife. Wilson wrote the character to be shy and soft-spoken, but very articulate when she did speak, because his wife was the same way.

Smithers dismissed stories that singer Barbra Streisand had ruined her marriage to James Brolin, by pointing out that she and Brolin had parted (amicably, sharing custody of their daughter) a full five years before Streisand and Brolin got together.

Where Are They Now: Smithers now lives in Ojai, California. In June 2014, Smithers attended a reunion of WKRP cast members hosted by the Paley Center for Media.


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