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Alan Walbridge Ladd, Sr.

Birthplace: Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States
Death: January 29, 1964 (50)
Palm, Palm Springs, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Alan Harwood Ladd, Sr. and Selina Ina Raleigh
Husband of Sue Carol
Ex-husband of Marjorie Jane Ladd
Father of Alan Ladd, Jr.; Private and David Alan Ladd

Occupation: Actor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Alan Ladd

After achieving his breakthrough as the dispassionate, trench-coated killer opposite Veronica Lake in This Gun For Hire, Alan Ladd established himself as a great noir actor through the 40s and 50s in films like The Blue Dahlia. He excelled at playing soft-spoken, understated tough guys who would only reluctantly resort to violence. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Ladd has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street. His handprint also appears in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater, in Hollywood.

He was born Alan Walbridge Ladd on September 3, 1913 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was the only child of Ina Raleigh Ladd and Alan Ladd, Sr. He was of English ancestry. His father died when he was four, and his mother relocated to Oklahoma City where she married Jim Beavers, a housepainter. The family then moved again to North Hollywood, California.

Ladd became a gifted sportsman, and also took to performing in school productions. He excelled in swimming and athletics, and in 1931, he decided to train for the 1932 Olympics. Training didn’t last long, however, as an injury would prevent him from participating in the Olympic trials.

After graduating on February 1st, 1934, he opened his own hamburger and malt shop, which he called Tiny's Patio. He worked briefly as a studio carpenter (as did his stepfather) and for a short time was part of the Universal Pictures studio school for actors. But Universal decided he was too blond and too short and dropped him. Intent on acting, he found work in radio.

His first real foray into show business came in radio, where he played small parts, and he then moved into local theatre. It was as a grip and bit-player that Ladd began to enter the film-world in his late teens. He was appearing regularly in minor film parts by the mid 1930s.

In 1936, he married Marjorie Jane Harrold. A year later the couple gave birth to their first child, Alan Ladd, II.

Ladd’s early film work consisted of mostly minor parts, such as the role of a reporter in Orson Welles’ 1941 classic, Citizen Kane.

He met Hollywood agent and former screen actress, Sue Carol, around this time. She helped him get work and promoted him around town, landing him a major part as an assassin in the 1942 film, This Gun for Hire, opposite Veronica Lake. After divorcing his first wife, Ladd and Carol married in 1942.

The visual combination of Ladd and Lake proved so popular that they were paired for several other films, including The Blue Dahlia, Saigon and The Glass Key.

Ladd’s films remained on the Top Ten box-office list in 1947, 1953, and 1954, as he played a succession of action-packed, tough-guy roles.

It was in the classic Western, Shane, in 1953, where Ladd truly excelled himself, in an uncharacteristically honest role, showcasing both his visual magnetism and subtle style. His success in Shane was followed by roles in such films as The Big Land (1957), All the Young Men (1960), Boy on a Dolphin (1957), and The Carpetbaggers (1964).

He began his own production company, Jaguar Productions, in 1954. In 1957, he purchased an office building at 9250 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, which is still known as the Alan Ladd Building. He also bought several hundred acres in Palm Springs, California, where his home is still on the tour of stars. At the height of his fame, he was one of the few male stars whose face on a magazine cover ensured its success. Publisher Albert Delacorte said, “Alan Ladd sold magazines.”

Ladd continued to make films up until his early death on January 29, 1964. He was found dead at his Palm Springs home of an overdose of sedatives and alcohol. He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. His star appears on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street. He also has a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, where he was added in 1995, and the Arkansas Walk of Fame in Hot Springs, where he was added in 1997.

Sources: Notable Biographies, Wikipedia, Yahoo Movies, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

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Alan Ladd's Timeline

September 3, 1913
Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States
October 22, 1937
Los Angeles, CA, United States
February 5, 1947
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
January 29, 1964
Age 50
Palm, Palm Springs, California, United States