Alan Walbridge Ladd (September 3, 1913 – January 29, 1964) was an American actor and film and television producer. Ladd found success in film in the 1940s and early 1950s, particularly in Westerns, such as Shane (1953), and in film noirs. He was often paired with Veronica Lake in noirish films, such as This Gun for Hire (1942), The Glass Key (1942), and The Blue Dahlia (1946). Ladd also appeared in ten films with William Bendix; both actors coincidentally died in 1964.
Alan Walbridge Ladd (September 3, 1913 – January 29, 1964) was an American actor and film and television producer. Ladd found achievement in film in the 1940s and in advance 1950s, particularly in Westerns, such as Shane (1953), and in film noirs. He was often paired considering Veronica Lake in noirish films, such as This Gun for Hire (1942), The Glass Key (1942), and The Blue Dahlia (1946). Ladd then appeared in ten films later than William Bendix; both actors coincidentally died in 1964.
His additional notable credits include Two Years Before the Mast (1946), Whispering Smith (1948), which was his first Western and color film, and The Great Gatsby (1949). His popularity diminished in the mid-1950s, though he continued to play in numerous films, including his first supporting role since This Gun for Hire in the wreck hit The Carpetbaggers in 1963. He died of an accidental raptness of alcohol, a barbiturate, and two tranquilizers, in January 1964.
Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on September 3, 1913. He was the unaccompanied child of Ina Raleigh (also known as Selina Rowley) (November 25, 1888 – 1937), and Alan Ladd (1874–1917), a freelance accountant. His mother was English, from County Durham, and had migrated to the U.S. in 1907, when she was 19. His daddy died of a heart attack past Ladd was four. On July 3, 1918, a youngster Alan accidentally burned by the side of the family house while playing taking into consideration matches. His mother moved to Oklahoma City, where she married Jim Beavers, a home painter (d. 1936).
In the in advance 1920s, an economic downturn led to Ladd’s family moving to California, which took 4 months. They lived in a migrant camp in Pasadena, California, at first, and then moved to the San Fernando Valley, where Beavers went to work at FBO Studios as a painter.
Ladd enrolled in North Hollywood High School upon February 18, 1930. He became a high-school swimming and diving champion and participated in high-school dramatics in his senior year, including the role of Koko in The Mikado. His diving skills led to his song in the aquatic show Marinella in July 1933.
Ladd’s ham it up in The Mikado was seen by a knack scout. In August 1933, Ladd was one of a charity of young “discoveries” signed to a long-term contract later than Universal Pictures. The pact had options that could go for 7 years, but they were whatever in the studio’s favor. Ladd appeared unbilled in Once in a Lifetime (1932), but the studio eventually approved Ladd was too blond and too short, and dropped him after 6 months. (All of Ladd’s fellow “discoveries” eventually were dropped, including a youngster Tyrone Power.)
At 20, Ladd graduated from high school upon February 1, 1934. He worked in the advertising department of the San Fernando Sun Valley Record, becoming the newspaper’s advertising manager. When the paper tainted hands, Ladd lost his job. He sold cash registers and borrowed $150 to retrieve his own hamburger and malt shop, across from his previous high school, which he called Tiny’s Patio (his nickname at tall school was Tiny), but he was unable to make a realization of the shop.
In another attempt to crack into the film industry, Ladd went to comport yourself at Warner Bros. as a grip, and stayed two years. He was insulted falling off a scaffold and settled to quit.
Ladd managed to save and borrow sufficient money to attend an acting educational run by Ben Bard, who had taught him in imitation of he was under contract at Universal. Ladd appeared in several stage productions for Bard. Bard sophisticated claimed Ladd “was such a shy boy he just wouldn’t speak up noisy and strong. I had to get him to degrade his voice too; it was too high. I after that insisted that he get himself a decent set of dentures.”
In 1936, Ladd played an unbilled role in Pigskin Parade. He had short-term stints at MGM and RKO, and got regular professional acting perform only following he turned to radio. Ladd had worked to fabricate a rich, deep voice, which was ideal for that medium, and in 1936, he was signed by station KFWB, as its sole radio actor. He stayed for three years at KFWB, working as many as 20 shows per week.
Ladd was playing the roles of a dad and son upon radio one night, when he was heard by the agent Sue Carol. She was impressed and called the station to talk to the actors, and was told it was one person. She established to meet him, and impressed by his looks, she signed him to her books and dynamically promoted her supplementary client in films, as without difficulty as radio. Ladd’s first notable part under Carol’s doling out was the 1939 film Rulers of the Sea, in which he played a air named Colin Farrell, at $250 per week. He also expected attention for a small part in Hitler – Beast of Berlin (1939).
Ladd tested unsuccessfully for the improvement in Golden Boy (1939), but obtained many other little roles, such as the serial The Green Hornet (1940), Her First Romance (1940), The Black Cat (1941), and the Disney film, The Reluctant Dragon (1941). Most notably, he had a small uncredited share in Citizen Kane, playing a newspaper reporter toward the end of the film.
Ladd’s career gained supplementary momentum when he was cast in a featured role in Joan of Paris (1942), a wartime performing made at RKO. It was by yourself a small part, but it functional a upsetting death scene that brought him attention within the industry. RKO eventually offered Ladd a promise at $400 per week. However, he soon usual a better manage to pay for from Paramount.
Paramount had owned the film rights to A Gun for Sale, a novel by Graham Greene, since 1936, but waited until 1941 since making a movie out of it, changing the title to This Gun for Hire. Director Frank Tuttle was struggling to find a other actor to play a role the role of Raven, a hit man later than a conscience. Ladd auditioned successfully, and Paramount signed him to a long-term settlement in September 1941 for $300 per week. The New York Times wrote that:
According to author David Thomson in 1975, “Once Ladd had acquired an unsmiling hardness, he was transformed from an other to a phenomenon. Ladd’s calm slender ferocity make it distinct that he was the first American actor to piece of legislation the killer as a chilly angel.” John Houseman well along wrote that Ladd played “a professional killer gone a poignant and desolate ferocity that made him unique, for a time, among the male heroes of his day.”
Both the film and Ladd’s piece of legislation played an important role in the expansion of the gangster genre: “That the obsolescent motion picture gangster following his disgusting face, gaudy cars, and flashy clothes was replaced by a smoother, better looking, and enlarged dressed bad man was largely the pretense of Mr. Ladd.” – The New York Times obituary (January 30, 1964).
Though the admiring lead went to customary star Robert Preston, Ladd’s teaming in withhold with female plus Veronica Lake captured the public’s imagination. Their overnight sensation pairing continued in three more films, and included three more in guest a skin condition in wartime all-star Hollywood musical revues.
Even during the filming of This Gun for Hire, Paramount knew it had a potential star and announced Ladd’s adjacent film, an familiarization of Dashiell Hammett’s story, The Glass Key (1942). This had been a well-off vehicle for George Raft several years earlier, and Paramount wanted “a sure-fire narrative to carry him upon his way.” There had as a consequence been chat Ladd would appear in Red Harvest, another financial credit by Hammett, but this never was made.
The movie was Ladd’s second pairing in imitation of Lake, with Ladd offering confident maintain of Brian Donlevy – so confident he even ended stirring with Donlevy’s girl. Ladd’s cool, unsmiling, understated persona proved popular like wartime audiences, and he was voted by the Motion Picture Herald as one of the 10 “stars of tomorrow” for 1942. His salary was raised to $750 per week. According to critic David Shipman:
Ladd next appeared in Lucky Jordan (1943), a lighter vehicle as soon as Helen Walker, playing a gangster who tries to gain out of warfare service and tangles subsequently Nazis. His supplementary status was reflected by the fact he was the deserted actor billed above the title. He had a cameo spoofing his tough boy image in Star Spangled Rhythm, which featured most of Paramount’s stars, then starred in China (1943) with Loretta Young for director John Farrow, with whom Ladd made a number of movies. Young did not like committed with Ladd:
Ladd’s next film was intended to be Incendiary Blonde, opposite Betty Hutton, but he was inducted into the army upon January 18, after reprising his pretend in This Gun for Hire on radio for Lux Radio Theatre.
Ladd briefly served in the United States Army Air Forces First Motion Picture Unit. Ladd initially was classified 4-F, unfit for military facilitate because of tummy problems, but began his military further in January 1943. He was posted to the Walla Walla Army Air Base at Walla Walla, Washington, attaining the rank of corporal. He attended the Oscars in March 1943, and in September, appeared in a commercial promoting a war loan drive, titled Letter from a Friend.
While Ladd was in the armed services, a number of films that had been announced for him were either postponed, and/or made considering different actors, including Incendiary Blonde, The Story of Dr. Wassell, Ministry of Fear, and The Man in Half Moon Street. Paramount started promoting Ladd replacements, such as Sonny Tufts and Barry Sullivan. Old Ladd films were reissued when his being unadulterated more prominent billing, such as Hitler, Beast of Berlin. He was reportedly receiving 20,000 lover letters per week. The New York Times reported that “Ladd in the brief get older of a year and in the same way as only four starring pictures to his credit… had built in the works a subsequent to unmatched in film history since Rudolph Valentino skyrocketed to fame.” In December 1943, he was listed as the 15th most popular star in the U.S.
Ladd fell ill and went to the military hospital in Santa Barbara for several weeks in October. On October 28, he was resolution an honorable medical discharge because of a stomach disorder complicated by influenza.
When Ladd returned from the army, Paramount announced a series of vehicles for him, including And Now Tomorrow and Two Years Before the Mast. And Now Tomorrow was a melodrama, starring Loretta Young as a wealthy, deaf girl who is treated (and loved) by her doctor, played by Ladd; Raymond Chandler co-wrote the screenplay, and it was filmed in late 1943 and to the fore 1944. According to Shipman:
In March 1944, Ladd took unusual physical and was reclassified 1A. He would have to be reinducted into the army, but a deferment was perfect to enable Ladd to make Two Years Before the Mast (the pardon of which was postponed two years). He was meant to be re-inducted upon September 4, 1944, but Paramount succeeded in getting this pushed incite again to make Salty O’Rourke. He as well as found grow old to make a cameo in a big-screen bill of Duffy’s Tavern.
Ladd’s reinduction was after that set for May 1945. Paramount commissioned Raymond Chandler to write an original screenplay for him titled The Blue Dahlia, made relatively speedily in case the studio directionless Ladd to the military subsequently again. However, in May 1945, the U.S. Army released everything men 30 or more than from induction, and Ladd was finally free from the draft. Along later several supplementary film stars likewise spared, Ladd promptly enlisted like the Hollywood Victory Committee for the entertainment industry’s overseas arm, volunteering to tour for USO shows.
Ladd bordering made Calcutta (1947), which reteamed him in imitation of John Farrow and William Bendix. Release for this film was delayed.
Ladd was intended to make California with Betty Hutton, but he refused to report for operate in August 1945. “It wasn’t on account of the picture”, said Ladd. “There were further issues.” Ladd wanted more money, and Paramount responded by suspending him. The two parties reconciled in November as soon as Ladd’s getting a salary addition to $75,000 per film, but without story commend or the right to accomplish outside films, which he had wanted. Exhibitors voted him the 15th-most popular star in the country.
“When a star’s off the screen, he’s ‘dead'”, Ladd well ahead reflected. “I as soon as my house and my security and I don’t intention to jeopardize them by being hard at work.”
Ladd’s neighboring film was O.S.S, a wartime thriller, produced by Richard Maibaum. He next convinced Ladd that he should do something the title role in an familiarization of The Great Gatsby, to which Paramount held the film rights; Ladd became on the go at the chance to tweak his image, but the project was delayed by a immersion of censorship wrangles and studio reluctance.
Eventually, The Blue Dahlia was released to good acclaim (Raymond Chandler was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay), quickly followed by O.S.S., and finally, Two Years Before the Mast. The first two films were hermetic hits, each earning over $2 million in rentals in the U.S. and Canada; Two Years Before the Mast was a blockbuster, earning over $4 million and ranking in the middle of the summit 10 most popular films of the year. Ladd’s roles in This Gun for Hire, The Glass Key, and The Blue Dahlia, firmly usual him as a no-nonsense tough guy in a popular genre of crime films unconventional to become known as film noir.
Ladd earned a reported $88,909 for the 12 months up to June 1946. (The considering year, he earned $107,000.) In 1947, he was ranked in the midst of the top 10 popular stars in the U.S. That year finally had the freedom of Calcutta, along with Wild Harvest, where he reteamed similar to Robert Preston.
Ladd made a cameo spread as a detective in the Bob Hope comedy, My Favorite Brunette (1947), and he made unusual cameo in an all-star Paramount film, titled, Variety Girl, singing Frank Loesser’s “Tallahassee” with Dorothy Lamour. He was reteamed with Lake for the complete time in Saigon (1948), then made Whispering Smith (1948), his first Western before he became a star (and his first movie in color). He followed this with Beyond Glory (1948), a melodrama with Farrow, which featured Audie Murphy in his film debut (and was released before Whispering Smith).
Since he had become a star, Ladd continued to accomplish radio, usually in dramatizations of feature films for such shows as Lux Radio Theatre and Screen Directors Playhouse. He created roles played both by himself, but also supplementary actors, including the allocation of Rick Blaine in an becoming accustomed of Casablanca. In 1948, he starred and produced Box 13, a regular weekly series for syndication, which ran for 52 episodes.
Ladd’s next role was a significant change of pace, playing Jay Gatsby in the 1949 report of The Great Gatsby, written and produced by Richard Maibaum. This film had been planned before 1946, but production was delayed due to a raptness of difficulties gone the censor, and Paramount’s reluctance for Ladd to pretend such a inspiring part. It was not a big success at the box office, and its mixed indispensable and personal ad reception caused Ladd to avoid colossal dramatic roles.
His adjacent films were adequate fare: Chicago Deadline, playing a tough reporter; Captain Carey, U.S.A., as a vengeful ex-OSS agent, for Maibaum; and Appointment considering Danger, as a postal inspector investigating a murder in the same way as the encourage of nun Phyllis Calvert (shot in 1949, but not released until 1951).
Paramount purchased the screen rights to the play Detective Story as a reachable vehicle for Ladd, and he was keen to accomplish it, but the role went to Kirk Douglas. Ladd was cast, instead, in Branded, a Western. In February 1950, Paramount announced that Ladd would star in a film credit of the novel Shane. Before he made this film, he appeared in Red Mountain, produced by Hal Wallis.
In 1950, the Hollywood Women’s Press Club voted Ladd the easiest male star to settlement with in Hollywood. The afterward year, a poll from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association listed Ladd as the second most popular male film star in the world, after Gregory Peck.
In 1951, Ladd’s settlement had and no-one else one more year to run. “Paramount is gone a home to me”, he said, “and I’d taking into account to remain upon the lot for one characterize a year. But I desire to be free to accept pictures at new studios if offered to me.” The main studio Ladd was in discussion past was Warner Bros. He also received a six-year offer to make Adventure Limited, a TV series.
In May 1951, Ladd announced he had formed Ladd Enterprises, his own production company, to develop films, radio, and TV, when his Paramount settlement ended in November 1952. He optioned the novel Shadow Riders of the Yellowstone by Les Savage. The next month, his harmony with Warner Bros. was announced: one film per year for five years. However, he expressed a desire to continue to enactment with Paramount.
Ladd’s unlimited three movies for Paramount were Thunder in the East, Shane, and Botany Bay. Once Ladd finished Botany Bay in February 1952, it was announced Ladd’s contract past Paramount would halt early and be amended, so that he would make two more movies for the studio, at a well along date. (In the end, Ladd did not make complementary film at Paramount until The Carpetbaggers.)
Paramount staggered the release of Ladd’s final films for the company, with Shane and Botany Bay not visceral released until 1953. Ladd future said that leaving Paramount was “a huge upset” for him and that he lonely left for “business reasons…future security for the children and ourselves”.
Shane, in which he played a strong, silent, courageous title character, was particularly popular. It premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in April 1953, grossing over $114,000 in its four weeks there (a large sum at the time), and in all, earned $8 million in North America, over its initial run. This led to Ladd creature voted one of the 10 most popular stars in the U.S., in 1953.
Ladd’s settlement with Warner Bros. was for one film per year for 10 years, starting from subsequently his contract afterward Paramount expired. Warner guaranteed him $150,000 per film adjacent to 10% of the gross, making Ladd one of the greater than before paid stars in Hollywood. His first film for Warner Bros. was The Iron Mistress (1952), in which Ladd played Jim Bowie.
The arrangement subsequently Warner was not exclusive, enabling Ladd to play for other studios. He made Desert Legion, a film at Universal Studios (1953), playing a devotee of the French Foreign Legion. Ladd was paid a early payment and a percentage of the profits.
Ladd as well as signed an arrangement following Warwick Films to make two films in Britain, where the actor was extremely popular – a wartime saga titled The Red Beret (1953), with Ladd as a Canadian soldier in a British unit, and a whaling tab titled Hell Below Zero (1954), based on the Hammond Innes book The White South. Both movies were co-written by Richard Maibaum, with whom Ladd had worked at Paramount. Ladd played a mountie in Saskatchewan for Universal in Canada, and returned to Britain for choice film taking into consideration Warwick, a medieval swashbuckler, The Black Knight (1954), where Ladd played the title role. This intended Ladd spent 19 months out of the U.S. and did not have to pay tax upon his pension for this period. It along with caused his plans to enter independent production to be deferred. Ladd’s loan for his Warwick films was $200,000 adjacent to 10% of the profits, plus active expenses.
When Ladd returned to Hollywood in 1954, he formed Jaguar Productions, a further production company that released movies through Warner Bros. This was in supplement to the films he made later Warner, solely as an actor.
His first film for Jaguar was Drum Beat (1954), a Western directed by Delmer Daves, which was reasonably thriving at the bin office. For Warners, he later made The McConnell Story (1955), co-starring June Allyson, which furthermore proved popular. He signed to perform some episodes of General Electric Theater on TV. The first of these, “Committed”, was based on an obsolete episode of Box 13, which Ladd was considering turning into a TV series. However, despite Ladd’s presence, a series did not result.
Ladd adjacent made Hell on Frisco Bay (1955), a film for Jaguar, co-written by Martin Rackin and directed by Frank Tuttle, his old This Gun for Hire associate. Rackin wrote and produced Ladd’s subsequent film, which he made for Warner Bros., titled Santiago. For Jaguar, Ladd produced, but did not appear in A Cry in the Night.
Ladd’s instincts for choosing material was proving increasingly poor; George Stevens offered him the role of Jett Rink in Giant (1956), which he turned down because it was not the lead; James Dean took the part, and the film became one of the huge hits of the decade. He was designed to recompense to Paramount to make The Sons of Katie Elder, but he bought himself out of his Paramount concord for $135,000; the film was made a decade later, with John Wayne, and was a huge hit.
Instead, Ladd signed a additional four-year union between Jaguar and Warner Bros., with his company having a budget of $6.5 million. The first film made under it was The vast Land (1957), a Western. He made Farewell to Kennedy, another TV film for General Electric Theater; he hoped this would gain to a series, but that did not happen.
Ladd then received an find the grant for to star in Boy upon a Dolphin (1957), a film being made in Greece for 20th Century Fox. In March 1957, it was announced that WarnerBros. and Jaguar had renegotiated their agreement, and now, Jaguar would make 10 films for the studio, of which Ladd was to pretend at least six, starting with The Deep Six (1958). Warner Bros. provided anything the financing and split profits later Jaguar, 50/50. The second film below the settlement was Island of Lost Women, which Ladd produced, but did not appear.
Ladd’s adjacent film as an actor maxim him co-star against his son David in The Proud Rebel, made independently for Samuel Goldwyn Jr. According to Shipman, Ladd’s “performance is his best work, sincere and likable (due perhaps to an uncommon resemblance in long shot to Buster Keaton), but the film did not have the exploit it deserved; Ladd’s own fans missed the bang-bang and [co star] Olivia de Havilland’s fans were not persuaded that any film she did in the same way as Ladd could be that good.” He announced a six-picture treaty with Warwick Productions, but ultimately, did not deed for Warwick again. MGM hired Ladd to make The Badlanders, a Western remake of The Asphalt Jungle; like many of Ladd’s films something like this time, it was a box-office disappointment.
Ladd was considered to discharge duty the pro in The Angry Hills, but Robert Mitchum eventually was cast. Mitchum sophisticated told a journalist that the producers met Ladd at his home after “he’d just crawled out of his swimming pool and was anything shrunken happening like a dishwasher’s hand. They established he wouldn’t pull off for the huge war correspondent.”
For Walter Mirisch at United Artists, Ladd appeared in The Man in the Net. He produced a pilot for a TV series, starring William Bendix, called Ivy League. That did not amass series; neither did The Third Platoon, another pilot Ladd produced for Paramount, written by a juvenile Aaron Spelling. Spelling as a consequence wrote Guns of the Timberland for Jaguar and Warners, in which Ladd appeared; it was his last movie for Warners.
As an actor, he made All the Young Men with Sidney Poitier, that was released through Columbia. One Foot in Hell (1960), over at 20th Century Fox, had Ladd produce an effect an out-and-out villain for the first time, since the coming on of his career, but the consequences was not popular as soon as audiences.
“I’d past to retire from acting”, he said in 1960. “I’d produce.” Ladd kept bustling developing projects, some of which were vehicles for his son, David.
Ladd as a consequence kept acting, following the passageway of many Hollywood stars upon the decline, and made Duel of Champions (1961), a peplum in Italy. Back in Hollywood, he made 13 West Street, as a star and producer, for Ladd Enterprises.
“I’ll accumulate work over when the right bill comes along”, said Ladd. He allied the board of 38 Inc., a supplementary film producing company, which announced plans to make a movie out of a Ben Hecht script.
In 1963, Ladd’s career looked set to make a comeback, when he took a supporting role in The Carpetbaggers, based on the best-selling novel. This was a co-production with Embassy and Paramount, meaning Ladd was filming on the Paramount help lot for the first times in higher than a decade. He along with announced plans to turn Box 13 into a feature-film script, and was hoping for cameos from outdated friends, such as Veronica Lake and William Bendix.