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.
Janine was a black American (or possibly Caribbean) actress active in Italian films from at least 1959-1969. 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.
Most biographical information comes curtesy of the Cinemaafrodiscendente and Wild Eye websites.
The Wild Eye
- Cartagine in fiamme (uncredited) .... Courtier
- La notte brava (uncredited) .... Dancer in night club
- Genitori in blue jeans (uncredited) .... Presenter in night club
- I baccanali di Tiberio (credited as Janin Hendy) .... Cha cha dancer
- It started in Naples (uncredited) .... Woman in cafe
- La dolce vita (uncredited) .... Woman in Via Vaneto
- Messalina, Venere imperatrice (credited as "Leading dancers" Janin Handy) .... Dancer at orgy
- Robin Hood e i pirati (credit?) .... Saracen woman
- Salambo (uncredited) .... Handmaiden
- Teseo contro il Minotauro (uncredited) .... Princess Phaedra's servant
- Totò, Peppino e la dolce vita (uncredited) .... Woman in car with Baronessa
- El Cid (uncredited) .... Harem girl
- Maciste l'uomo più forte del mondo (credited as Jannin Hendy) .... Queen Halis Mojab's handmaiden
- I tre nemici (credited) .... Zaza
- Lasciapassare per il morto (credited) .... Janine, a nightclub stripper
- Taur, re della forza bruta (credited) .... Afer
- Cleopatra (uncredited) .... Featured dancer
- Le gladiatrici (credited) .... The Black Queen
- Le ore dell'amore (credited as Janine Handy) .... Francine
- La pecora nera (credited as Janis Handy) .... Wife of President Tombalassa
- Odissea (uncredited) .... role?
- Satyricon (uncredited) .... Trimalchione's Handmaiden
More Janine to be seen!
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
Quarta parete (1968)
IMDb lists her as playing a dancer in I mongoli (1961). I didn't find her when I originally identified actors from this film, but I will be looking again soon to be sure one way or the other.