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Alan Walbridge Ladd Edit Profile

actor

Alan Walbridge Ladd was an American film actor.

Background

Ladd, Alan Walbridge was born on September 3, 1913 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States.

Education

As a child, he moved to California and excelled at athletics and diving. Even so, he grew no higher than five feet six inches and remained blond, blue-eyed, and more serene than other leading men. It was more than Universal, his first Hollywood employer, could stomach, and Ladd stayed on the fringes of “The Day of the Locust” world from 1932 onward.

Career

He appeared in The Goldwyn Follies, worked on radio, was credited in Once in a Lifetime (32, Russell Mack); Pigskin Parade (36, David Butler); Souls at Sea (37, Henry Hathaway); Come On, Leathernecks (38. James Cruze); Rulers of the Sea (39, Frank Lloyd); and he is a shadowy presence at the end of Citizen Kane, one of the several reporters packing up, pipe in mouth, hands in pockets, who says: “Or Rosebud. " The stance and the voice are inimitably Ladd, so that one can imagine him simply waiting for Gregg Toland’s low key to lift like the morning mist.

In fact, he was rescued by Sue Carol, an actress turned agent whom he later married, and in 1942 he had a first success in Joan of Paris (Robert Stevenson). Then, in a touch of Hollywood’s haphazard genius, Paramount cast him opposite Veronica Lake as the hired killer in This Gun for Hire (42, Frank Tuttle) and as Hammetts man who walks alone in The Glass Key (42, Stuart Heisler). Although in life they did not get on, in films their miniature blond(e) embraces seemed to define visual harmony. Once Ladd had acquired an unsmiling hardness, he was transformed from an extra to a phenomenon. These films are still exciting, and Ladd’s calm slender ferocity make it clear that he was the first American actor to show the killer as a cold angel. He had a great voice, too, deeper than one expected.

For some ten years, Ladd was a prolific middle- rank star. His partnership with Lake was continued in The Blue Dahlia (46, George Marshall) and Saigon (48, Lesley Fenton). As well as making several films for John Farrow—China (43); Two Years Before the Mast (46); Calcutta (47); and Beyond Glory (48)—he made Lucky Jordan (42, Tuttle); And Now Tomorrow (44, Irving Pichel); Sally O'Rourke (45, Raoul Walsh); OSS (46, Pichel); Wild Harvest (47, Tav Garnett); and Captain Carey USA (50, Mitchell Leisen).

But bv the end of the 1940s Ladd was slipping: he was not happy in The Great Gatsby (49, Elliott Nugent), and his action films were no longer major attractions: Whispering Smith (48, Fenton); Chicago Deadline (49, Lewis Allen); Branded (50, Rudolph Maté); and Red Mountain (51, William Dieterle). His single most successful part—as Shane (53, George Stevens)—came when Paramount had already lost interest in him, and was a nostalgic reference to his violent past. Shane has endured, no matter the mystery of the slender Ladd beating bigger men. It is both his gentlest film, and the one in which his lethal grace is most paternal. He seems like a ghost in the picture.

He remained a leading man in less important adventure films at Warners and Universal: The Iron Mistress (52, Gordon Douglas); Botany Bay (53, Farrow); The Black Knight (54, Garnett); Saskatchewan (54, Walsh); Hell on Frisco Bay (55, Tuttle); The Big Land (57, Douglas); The Proud Rebel (58, Michael Curtiz); and The Badlanders (58, Delmer Daves).

But he missed better parts and refused Stevens’s offer of the james Dean role in Giant. As he grew older, his face puffed up. there were frequent stories about him having to stand on a box during love scenes—which once would have been irrelevant—and he developed an alcohol problem. In 1962, he tried to kill himself and after a last memorable performance—as the cowboy movie star in The Carpetbaggers (64, Edward Dmytryk)—he died as a result of alcohol and sedative poisoning.

Connections

Married Sue Carol, March 15, 1942. Children: Carol Lee, Alan, Junior.

His son from a first marriage—Alan Ladd Jr.— would come to be a leading executive at many studios.

spouse:
Sue Carol

children:
Carol Lee Ladd

Alan Ladd

Jr Ladd