She appeared on the scene, along with her sister Gloria, in the late 50's, at the same time that a number of other black American actors also started appearing in Italian productions (see also topic for Carl Latimer). In films she could appear as an extra, a featured actor in small parts or as a dancer. From contemporary news articles it would appear she also worked as a dancer in clubs. From these articles it appears she may also have been a cousin of Harry Belafonte, though since there is no other source to confirm this it may only have been a story dreamed up by the publicity department.
In the mid-late sixties she scored several sizeable roles in peplum and other productions, but since there was really no precedent in the 60's for black leading actresses besides Dorothy Dandridge, she probably progressed as far as was possible for a black actress at the time.
From 1964 she also founded an antiques company named Hendy, which specialised in furnishing villas and film sets and in 1965 she married Italian actor and journalist Carlo Mazzarella, though it appears the marriage did not last.
In 2007 it was announced that Barbara Montgomery would direct a documentary titled Hendy: The Life of Jeanine Hendy, an African-Italian, but sadly this project seems never to have got beyond the announcement stage.
I still continue to uncover small roles for Janine, so I am sure more will be forthcoming. She should be easy to identify, both for her stunning looks and because there were so few black actresses working in Italian films at the time.
There are numerous spellings/mis-spellings of her name among her credited roles (Janin, Jannin, Janis), while the most usual spellings online tend to be split between Jeanine and Janine. I have opted for the latter since that was the one most frequently used for her credited roles.
Most biographical information comes curtesy of the Cinemafrodiscendente and The Wild Eye websites.
- Cartagine in fiamme .... Courtier (uncredited)
- La cento chilometri .... Dancer (uncredited)
- Genitori in blue jeans .... Presenter in night club (uncredited)
- I baccanali di Tiberio .... Cha cha dancer (credited as "Janin Hendy")
- Il mattatore .... Nightclub dancer (uncredited)
- It Started in Naples .... Woman in cafe (uncredited)
- La dolce vita .... Woman in Via Vaneto (uncredited)
- Messalina, Venere imperatrice .... Dancer at orgy (credited as "Leading dancers Janin Handy")
- Robin Hood e i pirati .... Saracen woman (credited)
- Salambo .... Handmaiden (uncredited)
- Teseo contro il Minotauro .... Princess Phaedra's servant (uncredited)
- Totò, Peppino e la dolce vita .... Woman in car with Baronessa (uncredited)
- El Cid .... Harem girl (uncredited)
- Maciste l'uomo più forte del mondo .... Queen Halis Mojab's handmaiden (credited as "Jannin Hendy")
- Ragazzo al telefono (TV movie) .... Second newsagent's client (credited as "Handy Janine" in Radiocorriere TV - no pic)
- Boccaccio '70 - segment "Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio" .... Girl making out in car (uncredited)
- Drammi marini (TV series) - ep. 1: La luna dei Caraibi .... Violet (credited as "Janine Handy")
- I tre nemici .... Zaza (credited)
- Lasciapassare per il morto .... Janine, a nightclub stripper (credited)
- Taur, re della forza bruta .... Afer (credited)
- Cleopatra .... Featured dancer (uncredited)
- Le gladiatrici .... The Black Queen (credited)
- Le ore dell'amore .... Francine (credited as "Janine Handy")
- Che fine ha fatto Totò baby? .... Party girl (uncredited)
- La congiuntura .... Woman at the beach (uncredited)
- Abramo Lincoln - Cronaca di un delitto politico (TV mini-series) - ep. 1 .... Nancy (credited)
- Gangsters '70 .... Poker player (uncredited)
- La pecora nera .... Wife of President Tombalassa (credited as "Janis Handy")
- Odissea .... Villager preparing food (uncredited)
- Quarta parete .... Mistress of the opium den (credited as "Janine Handy")
- Satyricon .... Trimalchione's Handmaiden (uncredited)
There are a few films where Janine is credited somewhere online as appearing which I have been unable to find, so if you have any of these titles you know what to do.
- Che femmina!! e... che dollari! (1960)
- Io amo, tu ami (1961) - theatrically-released documentary