Jan Berry Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from a seizure)
Birth NameWilliam Jan Berry
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jan Berry was one half of the popular 1960s "surf music" singing duo Jan & Dean, who enjoyed chart success with songs including "Surf City", "Little Old Lady from Pasadena", "Popsicle", "Dead Mans Curve", "Drag City" and "Ride the Wild Surf". Berry met future singing partner Dean Torrence at University High School in West Los Angeles and they became involved together in several musical groups, predominantly singing "doo wop" style tunes with limited success. However, fortune came their way when, in early 1963, they were booked to play several shows with The Beach Boys, and Berry struck up a friendship with songwriter Brian Wilson. Wilson passed across to Berry an unfinished tune titled "Surf City", which Jan & Dean completed and recorded, and it was their first number one single! Jan & Dean immediately changed their future musical output solely to "surf music" and their album sales performed very strongly over the next three years. However, on April 12th 1966, Jan Berry was critically injured in a motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles, when he crashed his Corvette into a parked truck. Berry was initially thought dead at the scene of the crash, and after being taken to hospital, it took him many, many years to recover and to learn how to walk and talk again.

The accident effectively ended the duo's soaring career, and it was not until the late 1980s that they did some minor touring, dependent on Jan's health. After being plagued by ill health for over 38 years since the car accident, Berry passed away from a stroke on March 26th, 2004 at age 62.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com

Family (1)

Spouse Gertrude Filip (1 September 1991 - 26 March 2004)  (his death)

Trivia (10)

He is the Jan of Jan & Dean.
Suffered severe brain damage and paralysis in a car wreck in 1966 but recovered well enough to resume performing with partner Dean Torrence in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
The car wreck, in which Berry was injured severely, happened on April 12, 1966. Jan was on his way to the Beverly Hills Hilton to meet with Bud Dain about forming his own record company, "Jan and Dean Records", which would have been a subsidiary of producer Lou Adler's "Dunhill Records". Jan had just come from his final appeal with the draft board concerning his draft notice. As usual, he was driving fast and, at the intersection of Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard, he smashed his blue '66 Corvette Sting Ray into a parked truck at almost 80 mph. An analysis of the scene indicated that one of the knock-off wheels on Jan's car had come loose, causing the collision.
Studied medicine during his early musical career and considered music a hobby even though he and Dean had become successful.
Fathered a son, Steve, with a girlfriend when he was a teenager but allowed his parents to adopt Steve and raise him as their own son. When Steve found out Jan was his father, he became infuriated by the deception and never reconciled with him. Steve died of AIDS in November 1995.
Is the uncle of Playmate Brooke Berry.
Can be seen in the audience towards the end of the TV movie Deadman's Curve (1978) which was a biopic of the story of Jan & Dean. Originally aired on CBS in February, 1978. It was a ratings winner.
Graduated from UCLA in pre-medicine (1963)
In 1958, while Dean Torrence was in the military reserves, Jan recorded with Arnie Ginsberg (not the famous deejay), producing three singles as "Jan And Arnie", one of which was "Jennie Lee" a top 10 hit about a burlesque dancer.
He was the son of Clara Lorentze (Mustad) and William Ladew Berry. His mother was a Norwegian emigrant, from Bergen. His father was of English, Scottish, and one quarter German Jewish, descent.

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