By Gustavo Arellano
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By Charles Lam
Three years ago, we ran a piece about the former B-movie icon and gal pal to, among others, Sinatra and Presley, and her son Brandon James, whose life work is keeping his mom's name before the public. All of James' work—there is no man faster with press release, magazine clip or photo—has been paying off since. You may have seen the still-stunning Jeanne in a Nike commercial a couple of years ago. Or as a spoiled rich dame sitting around a campfire with stunned Boy Scouts in a Pac Bell commercial. Or in a recent Pac Bell spot in which she plays a real-estate agent in a neighborhood torn by Internet strife. She also recently finished filming on House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie's directorial debut.
More than ever, there are photo shoots for print publications—Jeanne graced the cover of the Weekly two years ago for our Holiday Gift Issue.
Though we'd like to take credit, it was probably E's True Hollywood Story about her life that jump-started her career.
"That show did wonders for me," she says. "Not the first time they showed it, but after the second or third time, I started getting stopped in airports and restaurants. Now, it's at the point where I can't go anywhere without being recognized. It's mostly the young people that are my fans now. They'll come up and say, 'It's an honor to meet you.' I get a big kick out of that.
"The fame—it's kind of a love/hate thing, actually. It's wonderful to be recognized, but it means you always have to be at your best. You're always wondering if your makeup is on evenly and if there's any lettuce stuck in your teeth."
The young ones figure to worship only more after 1000 Corpses opens in January.
"Jeanne plays Miss Bunny," James says. "She plays it kind of like a psychedelic Pee-wee's Playhouse. It's kind of hard to explain. Like in this one scene, she does this puppet show, kind of re-enacting the last scene from Casablanca—you know, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Except Jeanne uses a dead cat as Bogart and a dead squirrel as Bergman. Jeanne told me she was uncomfortable with doing it, but I said, 'Jeanne, it's acting.'"