Alan Ladd (Alan Walbridge Ladd)

Alan Ladd

Alan Ladd

Actor. He is best remembered for his 1953 role of ‘Shane’ in the western movie of the same name. Although short (five feet, five inches), with a laconic manner and a face that never seemed to change expression, he quickly became a star. Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas to an accountant father and an English mother, when his father died in 1917, his mother married a house painter and the family moved to California, where he grew up. In high school, he picked fruit, delivered newspapers, swept stores, and participated in school track and swimming. He wanted to participate in the 1932 Olympics, but an injury in 1931 changed his plans, so he opened a hamburger stand, Tiny’s Patio, and a year later, got a job as a grip for Warner Brothers Studio. In 1936, he married Marjorie “Midge” Harrold, and a few months later, they moved into an apartment, where soon his destitute alcoholic mother joined them. A few months later, Ladd had to watch his mother die a slow agonizing death from suicide after she had swallowed ant poison. Eventually, he got a job doing shows on radio, and in 1939, talent scout Sue Carol discovered him. She got him a number of bit parts in films, and in 1941, he was given the role of a psychotic killer in “This Gun for Hire” (1942), which caught audience attention and made him a star. In 1941, he divorced Midge and a year later, married Sue Carol. In January 1943, he was drafted into the Army, but was discharged in November 1943 with an ulcer and a double hernia. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, his tough-guy roles in numerous westerns and war films gave him star billing, as the audiences liked his efforts. In 1953, he was cast in “Shane”, perhaps his most famous role. By the end of the 1950s, a string of mediocre movies, failure to get the scripts he wanted, and alcohol all began to take their toll on him, and in November 1962, he attempted suicide by shooting himself. However, he recovered, and appeared to most people to return to a normal life, but in January 1964, he was found dead at his home in Palm Springs, California, due to cerebral edema from an apparent accidental overdose (some believe he committed suicide) of alcohol and sedatives. Ironically, in his last film, “The Carpetbaggers” (1964), he played an aging, washed up movie star. His son, David Ladd, had a short career in films, while his other son, Alan Ladd Jr, became a successful movie producer.

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Born

  • September, 03, 1913
  • Hot Springs,Arkansas

Died

  • January, 29, 1964
  • Palm Springs, California

Cause of Death

  • Accidental combination of alcohol & sedatives

Cemetery

  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park
  • Glendale, California

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