CMG Welcomes You to the Official Website of Alan Ladd
Alan Walbridge Ladd, Jr., the dashing actor who made waves in Hollywood for his portrayal as Raven in the 1942 smash hit This Gun For Hire, was born on September 3, 1913 in Hot Springs, Ark. to parents Ina Raleigh and Alan Ladd, Sr.
For Ladd, growing up as a young boy in Arkansas was difficult and his family faced a number of obstacles that could have easily sent the young and impressionable boy spiraling towards disaster.
His mother, an English immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 19, did her best to take care of him while his father traveled the country extensively, missing the majority of his son’s formative years. Sadly, tragedy struck the Ladd household for the first time when Ladd’s father unexpectedly passed away, leaving him and his mother financially strapped. Ladd was four years old at the time.
Shortly after his father’s death, Ladd and his mother began picking up the pieces, desperately trying to sort out their future. But tragedy would once again come knocking on the family’s door, when at the age of five, Ladd accidentally burned down his family’s apartment.
Dreaming of a better life, a malnourished and homeless Ladd and his mother moved to Oklahoma City. The family’s stay in the “Sooner” state didn’t last long, however, and soon after remarrying a local house painter, Ladd’s mother moved the family to California in search of more lucrative employment opportunities. Ladd’s family continued their journey west, and in California, Ladd was forced to find a job in order to help support his family. By the age of eight, he was picking fruit, delivering papers and sweeping floors simply to help his family make ends meet.
Fortunately, high school was a positive experience for Ladd who quickly got involved in sports and participated in theater. Despite his frail appearance, Ladd excelled in swimming and track and, in 1931, he decided to train for the 1932 Olympics. Training didn’t last long, however, as an injury would sideline him and keep him from participating in the Olympic trials.
Despite the stock market crash that affected the entire nation, the early to mid 1930s were looking up for Ladd. Still a long way from entering the world of Hollywood, he worked a number of odd jobs including work as gas station attendant, hot dog vendor, and a lifeguard.
When Ladd finally broke into the entertainment business, he played small bit parts in radio shows and local theatre productions, and found himself working as a grip on the Warner Bros. Studio lot. Ladd’s streak of good luck continued and, in October of 1936, he married Marjorie Jane Harrold. A year later, in 1937, 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. Despite the initial hardships of getting noticed in the Hollywood community, the persistence of his agent, former screen actress Sue Carol, helped the actor land more important roles.
After divorcing his first wife, Ladd and Carol soon became romantically involved and the couple married in 1942. That same year the actor got his big break with Paramount Pictures’ This Gun for Hire, in which he played the paid killer, Raven.
The response to the film was so favorable that Ladd instantly became a star. His co-star in the film, Veronica Lake, matched his look so well that the studio teamed them for several other productions that were extremely popular with moviegoers. Among them were The Glass Key, The Blue Dahlia, and Saigon.
Through the mid 1950s, Ladd remained with Paramount, making a number of films where he played dynamic, action-packed roles. The 1953 western film, Shane, gave him the opportunity to play an honest character troubled by conflicting emotions. Ladd’s magnetism and his beautiful portrayal of the character made the movie an instant classic.
After the success of Shane, Ladd continued making films, but on January 29, 1964, he suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at the age of 51.
Throughout his career, Ladd’s blonde good looks, charisma, and stoic presence were apparent in his films and it is this magnetism that will forever keep him in the memory of the audiences and millions of adoring fans around the world who loved him.
Quotes by Alan Ladd
– “I have the face of an aging choirboy and the build of an undernourished featherweight.”
– “If you can figure out my success on the screen, you’re a better man than I.”
Quotes about Alan Ladd
– “Once Ladd had acquired an unsmiling hardness, he was transformed from an extra to a phenomenon. Ladd’s calm slender ferocity make it clear that he was the first American actor to show the killer as a cold angel.”
— David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film, 1975
– “That the old fashioned motion picture gangster with his ugly face, gaudy cars and flashy clothes was replaced by a smoother, better looking and better dressed bad man was largely the work of Mr. Ladd.”
— New York Times obituary, January 30, 1964
– “His slenderness could fool you at first. But when you saw him close in action, you saw that he was solid, compact, that there was no waste weight on his frame, just as there was no wasted effort in his smooth flowing motion.”
1. The Carpetbaggers as Nevada Smith – 1964
2. 13 West Street as Walt Sherill – 1962
3. Orazi e curiazi as Horatius – 1961
4. One Foot in Hell as Mitch – 1960
5. All the Young Men as Pvt. Kincaid – 1960
6. Guns of the Timberland as Jim Hadley – 1960
7. The Man in the Net as John Hamilton -1959
8. The Badlanders as Peter Van Hoek – 1958
9. The Proud Rebel as John Chandler – 1958
10. The Deep Six as Alec Austen – 1958
11. Boy on a Dolphin as Dr. James Calder – 1957
12. The Big Land as Chad Morgan – 1957
13. A Cry in the Night-1956
14. Santiago as Cash Adams – 1956
15. The McConnell Story as Capt. Joseph C. McConnell, Jr. – 1955
16. Hell on Frisco Bay as Steve Rollins – 1955
17. Drum Beat as Johnny MacKay – 1954
18. The Black Knight as John – 1954
19. Saskatchewan as O’Rourke – 1954
20. Hell Below Zero as Duncan Craig – 1954
21. The Red Beret – 1953
22. Shane” as Shane – 1953
23. Desert Legion as Paul Lartal – 1953
24. Botany Bay as Hugh Tallant – 1953
25. Thunder in the East as Steve Gibbs – 1952
26. The Iron Mistress as Jim Bowie – 1952
27. Red Mountain as Capt. Brett Sherwood – 1951
28. Appointment with Danger as Al Goddard – 1951
29. Branded as Choya – 1950
30. Captain Carey, U.S.A. as Webster Carey – 1950
31. Chicago Deadline as Ed Adams – 1949
32. The Great Gatsby as Jay Gatsby – 1949
33. Eyes of Hollywood– 1949
34. Whispering Smith as Luke “Whispering” Smith – 1948
35. Beyond Glory as Capt. Rockwell Gilman – 1948
36. Saigon as Maj. Larry Briggs – 1948
37. Wild Harvest as Joe Madigan – 1947
38. Calcutta as Neale Gordon – 1947
39. My Favorite Brunette as Sam McCloud – 1947
40. O.S.S. as Philip Masson/John Martin – 1946
41. The Blue Dahlia as Johnny Morrison – 1946
42. Two Years Before the Mast as Charles Stewart – 1946
43. Salty O’Rourke as Salty O’Rourke – 1945
44. And Now Tomorrow as Doctor Merek Vance – 1944
45. China as Mr. Jones – 1943
46. Letter from a Friend – 1943
47. Lucky Jordan as Lucky Jordan – 1942
48. The Glass Key as Ed Beaumont – 1942
49. This Gun for Hire as Philip Raven – 1942
50. Joan of Paris as Baby – 1942
51. Military Training – 1941
52. Cadet Girl – 1941
53. Great Guns – 1941
54. They Met in Bombay – 1941
55. The Reluctant Dragon – 1941
56. Paper Bullets– 1941
57. The Black Cat as Richard Hartley – 1941
58. Citizen Kane – 1941
59. Petticoat Politics as Higgins’ Daughters’ Boyfriend – 1941
60. I Look at You – 1941
61. Her First Romance as John Gilman – 1940
62. Victory as Heyst as an 18 year old – 1940
63. Meet the Missus as Boyfriend of Higgins’ Daughter – 1940
64. Captain Caution as Newton – 1940
65. The Howards of Virginia as Neighbor – 1940
66. Wildcat Bus – 1940
67. Those Were the Days! as Keg Rearick – 1940
68. Cross-Country Romance as Mr. Williams – 1940
69. Gangs of Chicago – 1940
70. In Old Missouri as Landlord’s Son – 1940
71. The Light of Western Stars as Danny – 1940
72. Brother Rat and a Baby as Cadet in Trouble – 1940
73. The Green Horne as Gilpin – 1940
74. American Portrait as Young man/Old man – 1940
75. Blame It on Love – 1940
76. Meat and Romance as Bill – 1940
77. Unfinished Rainbows as Charles Martin hall – 1940
78. Rulers of the Sea as Colin Farrell – 1939
79. Hitler – Beast of Berlin as Himself – 1939
80. The Mysterious Miss X as Henchman – 1939
81. Freshman Year as Student – 1938
82. Come On, Leathernecks! as Club Waiter – 1938
83. The Goldwyn Follies as Auditioning singer – 1938
84. Hold ‘Em Navy as Chief Quartermaster – 1937
85. All Over Town as Young Man – 1937
86. Souls at Sea as Sailor – 1937
87. The Last Train from Madrid as Soldier – 1937
88. Pigskin Parade as Student – 1936
89. Saturday’s Millions as Student – 1933
90. Island of Lost Souls – 1933
91. Once in a Lifetime as Projectionist – 1932
92. Tom Brown of Culver – 1932
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