Who was Jill Banner?
Jill Banner was an American actress who rose to fame in the 1960s with her role as Virginia, the “spider baby” in the cult horror-comedy film Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever
Banner was born on November 8, 1946, in Bremerton, Washington. Her father died when she was two, and her mother moved with her to various states before settling in Glendale, California. She attended the Hollywood Professional School, where she met her friend and future co-star Peggy Lipton. She made her film debut in Spider Baby, which was shot in 1964 but not released until 1968 due to legal issues. The film tells the story of the Merrye family, who suffer from a degenerative disease that makes them act like spiders
Banner continued to act in films and TV shows, often playing hippies, teenagers, and criminals. She was a regular guest star on Jack Webb’s police dramas, Dragnet and Adam-12, where she portrayed various characters involved in drug abuse, prostitution, and murder. She also had a brief career as a singer, recording a single called “Paper Doll” in 1967
How did Jill Banner die?
According to her obituary, Jill Banner died in a car accident on August 7, 1982, at the age of 35. She was driving on the Ventura Freeway in North Hollywood, California, when her Toyota was hit by a truck driven by a drunk driver. She was thrown from the vehicle and hit her head on the center divider.
Her death was announced by her friend and colleague Michael Siegel, who posted a tribute on Facebook. Siegel said that Banner was “one of the most talented and generous people” he had ever met, and that he was “devastated” by her loss.
Why is Jill Banner’s legacy important?
Jill Banner’s legacy is important because she was one of the most original and memorable actresses of her generation. She starred in one of the most cult and influential horror films of all time, Spider Baby, which has been praised by directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, and John Waters. She also appeared in other films and TV shows that reflected the social and cultural changes of the 1960s and 1970s, such as The President’s Analyst, a satire on the Cold War and the spy genre, and Dragnet, a realistic and gritty depiction of police work.
Banner’s legacy is also important because she was a kind and generous person who touched the lives of many people with her friendship and her humor. She was a mentor and a partner to Michael Siegel, who became a successful producer and writer. She was also a lover and a collaborator to Marlon Brando, who hired her as a script developer and researcher. She was a loyal and supportive friend to Peggy Lipton, who remained close to her until her death.
Jill Banner was a talented and original actress who left a mark on the film industry and the horror genre with her role as Virginia in Spider Baby. She also left a mark on the hearts of her friends, family, and fans who loved her and admired her. She died in a car accident on August 7, 1982, after being hit by a drunk driver. She was 35 years old. She will be missed and remembered by many.