The Short Life of Jill Banner

Jill BannerI don’t know how we found out about Jill Banner. Somebody must have told us about her. She just came into the office for an interview and I’m sure she wasn’t expecting to get any kind of a leading role. We just chatted with her and she admitted she hadn’t had any experience. But she said, “I’m a lot of fun to have around.” And the way she said that, all of us in the room suddenly felt that this strange girl was just right for the picture. She just had this kind of presence.

It wasn’t until not too many years ago I had been trying to locate Jill Banner. I had a phone number on her, and I had no idea that she had died. And I learned that she had died in a terrible, terrible automobile accident on the Pacific Coast Highway. She was at that time living with Marlon Brando and, in fact, working on a screenplay with him. And I also heard from Jill’s manager that Brando that told someone that Jill was the only woman he had ever really loved. At her funeral, he remained long after everybody else had left — standing over her grave. So it must have been quite a relationship. And she was quite a remarkable girl, so I could understand very much why Brando would be fascinated by her.

–Jack Hill
Interviewed in The Hatching of Spider Baby

2 replies on “The Short Life of Jill Banner”

  1. A fan. says:

    I liked her in the movie Shadow over Elveron.

    • Frank Moraes says:

      I haven’t seen it, but it sounds very much like an attack on J Edgar Hoover. I’ll definitely seek it out. Thanks! I know her mostly from Spider Baby and a far too small role in The President’s Analyst.

      What I’m finding as I try to get serious just about psychotronic film is that there is so much material, so much to know that I need to treat it as a full-time job for a decade before I’ll really get a handle on it. There are so many people doing so much laudable work. Jill Banner was a sad loss to us all.

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