Alan Ladd Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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From an underprivileged childhood, Alan Ladd rose to prominence in Hollywood due to his hard work and dedication. One of the most famous actors in the 1940s he commanded a fan following that would seem impossible today, without the internet.
In his highly successful career, cut short by his premature death, Alan Ladd appeared in some of the most iconic films of his time.His most famous role was as Jay Gatsby in the film The Great Gatsby (1949).
Childhood & Early Life
Born on September 3, 1913, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Ladd did not have any siblings. His mother Ina was an English migrant and father Alan was an accountant. At the early age of six, he lost his father to a heart attack. His mother then married Jim Beavers, a housepainter.Following an economic crisis, the family moved to California.
Even at an early age, Alan Ladd was inquisitive, and his curiosity with matches led to the burning of his family home accidentally.
Alan Ladd graduated from the North Hollywood High School. He was actively involved in extracurricular activities like swimming, diving, and dramatics. While at school, he even won the swimming and diving championships.
Alan Ladd’s career is like a mountain with steep slopes on both sides. Alan Ladd struggled early on, and then got phenomenal success only to ruin it with drugs and alcohol, and finally, losing his life.
Despite his active involvement with theatre in school, Alan Ladd was rejected at various acting jobs. His short height also came in the way of getting enough roles. Finally, to make ends meet, he decided to open a hamburger and malt shop named Tiny’s Patio. However, success eluded him once again.
Alan Ladd had to work as a carpenter. He continued his acting through small role offers by MGM, & RKO. His talent was recognized during a radio show KFWB by agent Sue Carol.
Ladd’s career got the required thrust when Alan Ladd was offered a role in Rulers of the Sea. Soon, his performances garnered him the attention required for a successful launch, with small but eye-catching roles in Hitler – Beast of Berlin, Golden Boy,
The Green Hornet, and a momentum giving role in Citizen Kane. Ladd’s performance was praised in each of these roles. By the end of 1941, Alan Ladd was offered deals from both RKO and Paramount Pictures.
Ladd’s stardom began with This Gun for Hire in which he played a cool, well-dressed and good looking hitman. The film was so successful that it changed the notions about the Gangster persona in the American film industry.He continued to enjoy his rising popularity with successful films like The Glass Key,
Lucky Jordan And China.
In 1946, Alan Ladd featured in three all-time classics – Two Years before the Mast, The Blue Dahlia & O.S.S. After a brief stint in the army where he was posted at the Walla Walla Army Airbase, he came back to the film industry. This time both as an actor and a producer.
In 1949, Alan Ladd starred in the lead role in The Great Gatsby. The film was a major box office success and brought Ladd a lot of attention from the female moviegoers.
Alan Ladd continued to be in the film industry for a decade more, appearing in movies like Shane, The Red Beret, The Black Knight, Boy on a Dolphin, Duel of Champions, 13 West Street and more.
His last movie was The CarpetBaggers released after his death. The film went on to become a huge commercial success.
Awards & Honours
In 1950, Alan Ladd was voted as The Easiest Star to Deal With in Hollywood by the Hollywood Women’s Press Club. Alan Ladd won two Golden Globe awards in 1954-55. In 1960, he got a Star on the Walk of Fame.
Alan Ladd died from cerebral edema on January 29, 1964. An overdose of alcohol and drugs caused it.
Ladd’s first marriage was to Marjorie Harrold in 1936. They had a son, Alan Jr. The marriage lasted five years, and the couple divorced in 1941. Alan Ladd married his agent Sue Carol in 1942. Ladd adopted Carol’s daughter from a previous marriage. They had two more children Alana and David.
Alan Ladd and Carol stayed married until his death in 1964.