She was born Janet Neilson Horsburgh in Blackpool, Lancashire, England on September 28th 1934 …the same day as Brigitte Bardot came into the world in France. However, Janet Munro’s screen persona was quite different – she was known primarily as a rosy cheeked and plucky Disney heroine (the FIRST actress signed to an exclusive 5-picture deal by Walt himself in 1959).

Prior to the Disney connection she made the B&W sci-fi click ‘The Crawling Eye’ (with the shitty British title of ‘The Trollenberg Terror’ – UGH!) in 1958 with Forrest Tucker. In this movie U.N. investigator (Tucker) travels to the Alps to checkout a radioactive “cosmic” cloud creeping across the mountaintop in the Swiss town of Trollenberg. And lo and behold this cloud is hiding a whole lotta creepy little aliens. Janet is one of the best things in this low budget and FX challenged (though still entertaining) movie – she is a telepathic tourist named Anne Pilgrim who can “communicate” with the cloud and it’s lil’ inhabitants.

Her Disney films began with ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’ (1959) costarring a young Sean Connery – who SINGS in his film debut! The film didn’t do well at the time of its release – the Irish dialect is sometimes hard to decipher and it was deemed “too frightening” for the core Disney audience (oh yeah, I love that!). In case you haven’t seen it --- this is one kick-ass little fantasy film. The FX are superb for 1959. And Munro is luminous and magnificent as Katie O’Gill! This weird little gem also contains all sorts of creepy Irish folklore worked into the plot. The cast also includes Albert Sharpe, Jimmy O’Dea, Kieron Moore, and Estelle Winwood.

Her other Disney classic was ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ (1960) filmed in Tobago. Who can forget her as Roberta (Bertie) alongside screen veterans John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, Sessue Hayakawa, Tommy Kirk, and James MacArthur in this Panovision bit of pre-Survivor coolness? Who didn’t want to be shipwrecked after seeing this one --- though the thought of being shipwrecked with my family caused some understandable nightmares.

Janet followed this up with another solid sci-fi effort, playing Jeannie Craig (hey, did that piss off 40s actress Jeanne Craig!) in ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’ opposite Leo McKern. This one is about a series of atomic explosions, which start the earth on a spiraling course towards the sun…yikes! It’s a cool concept -- well written and executed. This one is also noteworthy for having (a then unknown) Michael Caine as a traffic cop!

Janet’s additional films include ‘Life for Ruth’ (1962) for which she was nominated for a 1963 BAFTA (think the Brit Oscars) as best actress, ‘Hide and Seek’ (1963), ‘Bitter Harvest’ (1963) as (get this!) Jennie Jones, ‘The Tenant of Whitefield Hall’ (1968) based on the Bronte classic, ‘Daylight Robbery (1964), ‘Third Man on the Mountain’ (1959), ‘Cry Wolf (1968), ‘The Horsemasters’ (1961), ‘A Jolly Bad Fellow’ (1964), and her final performance as Carol Fancy (another awesome character name) a fading alcoholic pop star in ‘Sebastian’ (1968).

In addition to her 1963 BAFTA nomination (BTW: She lost to Leslie Caron for ‘The L-Shaped Room’) Janet had some solid screen accolades and successes – she won the Golden Globe Award in 1959 as Best Female Newcomer – tying with Tuesday Weld, Stella Stevens, and Angie Dickinson --- the four nosing out the sadly excluded Diane Baker and Yvette Mimieux. In 1961 she was the TOP earning British film actress. She was even Miss Television of 1958. However, things weren’t quite so winning for Janet off screen.

Her private life was apparently quite unhappy – two failed marriages (to actors Tony Wright and Ian Hendry), two miscarriages, alcoholism, assorted medical problems, and depression… She collapsed and subsequently died on December 6th 1972 at the age of 38 from a heart inflammation (chronic ischemic heart disease/acute myocarditis) at her home in Lady Margaret Road, Kentish Town, North London.  It was a sad end to a wonderful screen presence. It was widely rumored at the time (due to incorrect newspaper reportage) that she choked to death while drinking tea.