HOLLYWOOD -- Jane Fonda and Faye Dunaway should include Anjanette Comer in their nightly prayers.
Were it not for the Texas-born Anjanette, Jane and Faye might not have become movie superstars.
Anjanette was scheduled to star in 'Barefoot In The Park' with Robert Redford but passed up the opportunity. The picture launched Fonda's glitzy career.
And it was Anjanette who eschewed the co-starring role with Warren Beatty in 'Bonnie and Clyde' which led to Dunaway's zooming leading lady status.
Anjanette, a beautiful brunette, and an incurable romantic, turned down both roles because she had fallen in love.
She did, in fact, toss away one of Hollywood's most promising careers.
Anjanette was a hot property in the mid-1960s after starring in Tony Richardson's 'The Loved One,' followed by a co-starring role with Marlon Brando in 'The Appaloosa.'
She also starred with Robert Wagner in 'Banning' and 'In Enemy Country' and 'The Guns of San Sebastian' with Anthony Quinn.
She was signed for the starring role in 'Funeral In Berlin' opposite Michael Caine. She lingered in Germany for a few weeks, commuting to Hollywood on weekends -- unbeknownst to producer Harry Saltzman -- to be with her boyfriend who finally convinced her to forget the picture.
It was a landmark of unprofessional behavior, even for the movies. Saltzman vowed Anganette would never work in Europe again.
Thereafter Anjanette disappeared as if she'd been shot into outer space.
'I had this very important relationship with a man, an actor, who didn't want me to work in movies,' Anjanette explained the other day.
'At that time I was young and naive. I was just a girl from Dawson, Texas (pop: 1,200), who studied at the Pasadena Playhouse. I did a few TV guest shots and before I knew it, I was starring in movies.
'I didn't realize a girl could have an acting career and a private love life, too. I thought I had to give one of them up, so I quit my career for this man.
'My career didn't mean that much to me. I dropped out because my drive and ambition were gone. And besides that I was going through an emotional breakdown. I put romance ahead of career.
'I was just a kid with no experience. I'd had no real love affairs before and there I was face-to-face with personal problems. It wasn't the guy's fault. It was mine. I hated my career and walked away from it.'
It wasn't the wisest decision of Anjanette's life.
She also fired her personal manager, Byron Raphael, who had guided her career carefully and who had arranged for her to star in 'Barefoot In The Park' and 'Bonnie and Clyde.' The upshot was that the public quickly forgot about Anjanette Comer. In Hollywood no one seemed to notice or care that she had disappeared.
A feckless providence or simply Murphy's Law was invoked and Anjanette's boyfriend lost interest in the romance. Our heroine was left without career and bereft of a worthwhile love life. She returned to movies but it wasn't quite the same thing -- the titles were 'Rabbit Run,' 'Quick Before It Melts' and 'Fire Sale.'
'I had a reputation for being crazy because I'd walked out on 'Funeral In Berlin,'' Anjanette said. 'And I guess I was crazy.
'You see, I didn't build my career slowly like most successful actresses do. After a couple of TV appearances I became an instant movie star. I didn't know how to handle it all emotionally.
'For almost 10 years I didn't want to work. I lost touch with producers, studios and networks. I had no agents.
'Once in a while, when I needed money, I'd call Byron and he would get me a job that paid very well. Then I'd quit until I needed money again. I did a lot of traveling in Europe and the South Pacific.'
Five years ago Anjanette fell in love again. This time she married writer Robert Klane and retired to live on the beach at Malibu.
'Before I met Robert I had a lot of personal problems,' Anjanette said. 'Now I'm inspired to go ahead with my career again because I'm a born-again actress, I suppose. I have a wonderful natural talent.
'I need the validation and I need to be successful again. There is nothing else I really do well. I have no kids. My only talent is acting.'
Anjanette returns to the screen Nov. 6 to star with James Garner in the NBC-Warner Bros. two-hour TV movie, 'The Long Summer of George Adams.' Anjanette said it was easy getting back into harness. She is confident she will attain the heights she enjoyed 15 years ago.
'I'm absolutely certain I will get back to the high point of my career,' she said. 'I've done it before and I can do it again. I have to believe that so other people will believe it, too.'