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Dana Andrews
Andrews in 1945
Carver Dana Andrews

(1909-01-01)January 1, 1909
DiedDecember 17, 1992(1992-12-17) (aged 83)
Years active1938–1985
Janet Murray
(m. 1932; died 1935)
Mary Todd
(m. 1939)
RelativesSteve Forrest (brother)
15th President of the Screen Actors Guild
In office
August 8, 1963 – June 3, 1965
Preceded byGeorge Chandler
Succeeded byCharlton Heston

Carver Dana Andrews (January 1, 1909 – December 17, 1992) was an American film actor who became a major star in what is now known as film noir. A leading man during the 1940s, he continued acting in less prestigious roles and character parts into the 1980s. He is best known for his portrayal of obsessed police detective Mark McPherson in the noir Laura (1944) and his critically acclaimed performance as World War II veteran Fred Derry in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Assignment Paris 1952 📽️🍿🥤 Drama Thriller Film-Noir Dana Andrews, George Sanders
  • Where The Sidewalk Ends (1950) Film Noir | Dana Andrews | Gene Tierney


Early life

Andrews was born on a farmstead near Collins in southern Mississippi, the third of 13 children of Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister, and his wife Annis (née Speed).[1] The family subsequently relocated to Huntsville, Texas, the birthplace of his younger siblings, including fellow Hollywood actor Steve Forrest (born William Forrest Andrews).[2]

Andrews attended college at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville[3] and studied business administration in Houston. During 1931, he traveled to Los Angeles to pursue opportunities as a singer. He worked various jobs, such as at a gas station in the nearby community of Van Nuys. To help the struggling Andrews study music at night, "The station owners stepped in ... with a deal: $50 a week for full-time study, in exchange for a five-year share of possible later earnings", which he started repaying after signing with Goldwyn.[4]


Sam Goldwyn and 20th Century Fox

Virginia Gilmore and Andrews in Jean Renoir's Swamp Water (1941)

In 1938, Andrews was spotted in the play Oh Evening Star and Samuel Goldwyn signed the promising actor to a contract, but felt he needed time to develop experience. Andrews continued at the Pasadena Playhouse, working in over 20 productions and proposed to second wife Mary Todd.[5] After twelve months, Goldwyn sold part of Andrews' contract to 20th Century Fox, where he was put to work on the first of two B pictures; his first role was in Lucky Cisco Kid (1940).[5] He then appeared in Sailor's Lady (1940), developed by Goldwyn, but released by Fox.[6]

Andrews was loaned to Edward Small to appear in Kit Carson (1940), before Goldwyn used him for the first time in a Goldwyn production: William Wyler's The Westerner (1940), featuring Gary Cooper.[7]

Andrews had supporting roles in Fox films Tobacco Road (1941), directed by John Ford; Belle Starr (1941), with Randolph Scott and Gene Tierney, billed third; and Swamp Water (1941), starring Walter Brennan and Walter Huston and directed by Jean Renoir.

His next film for Goldwyn was the Howard Hawks comedy Ball of Fire (1941), again teaming with Cooper, with Andrews playing the villain, a gangster.

Leading man

Andrews and Richard Loo in The Purple Heart (1944)

Back at Fox, Andrews was given his first lead, in the B-picture war movie Berlin Correspondent (1942). He was second lead to Tyrone Power in Crash Dive (1943) and then appeared as a lynching target in the 1943 film adaptation of The Ox-Bow Incident with Henry Fonda, giving a performance that Bosley Crowther of the New York Times called "heart-wringing," writing that Andrews "does much to make the picture a profoundly distressing tragedy."[8]

Andrews then went back to Goldwyn for The North Star (1943), directed by Lewis Milestone. He worked on a government propaganda film December 7th: The Movie (1943), then was used by Goldwyn again in Up in Arms (1944), supporting Danny Kaye.

Andrews was reunited with Milestone at Fox for The Purple Heart (1944), then was in Wing and a Prayer (1944) for Henry Hathaway.

Critical success and noir

Andrews in the trailer for Laura (1944)
Hoagy Carmichael, Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Andrews and Theresa Wright in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

One of his roles was as a detective infatuated with a presumed murder victim, played by Gene Tierney, in Laura (1944), produced at Fox and directed by Otto Preminger. He co-starred with Jeanne Crain in the movie musical State Fair (1945), a huge hit, and was reunited with Preminger for the film noir Fallen Angel (1945). Andrews made another war movie with Milestone, A Walk in the Sun (1945), then was loaned to Walter Wanger for a western, Canyon Passage (1946), directed by Jacques Tourneur and co-featuring Susan Hayward.

Andrews' second film with William Wyler, also for Goldwyn, became his best known: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). It was both a popular and critical success. Upon release, the topical film about American society's problems in re-integrating military veterans after World War II outgrossed the longstanding box office success of Gone with the Wind (1939) in the U.S. and Britain.[9] In 2007, the film ranked number 37th on AFI's Top 100 Years...100 Movies.

Andrews appeared in Boomerang! (1947), directed by Elia Kazan; Night Song (1947), at RKO; and Daisy Kenyon (1947) for Preminger. In 1947, he was voted the 23rd most popular actor in the U.S.[10]

Andrews starred in the anti-communist The Iron Curtain (1948), reuniting him with Gene Tierney, then Deep Waters (1948). He made a comedy for Lewis Milestone at Enterprise Pictures, No Minor Vices (1948), then traveled to England for Britannia Mews (1949). Andrews was in Sword in the Desert (1949), then Goldwyn cast him in My Foolish Heart (1949) with Susan Hayward. He played a fast-fisted police officer in the film noir Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), also with Tierney and Preminger. Around this time, alcoholism began to damage Andrews's career, and on two occasions it nearly cost him his life behind the wheel.[citation needed]

Edge of Doom (1950), another film noir for Goldwyn, was a flop. Andrews was then loaned to RKO to make Sealed Cargo (1951), in which his brother Steve Forrest has an uncredited role. (In a "Word of Mouth" commentary for Turner Classic Movies, Forrest stated, "I'd have given my eye teeth to have worked with him.") Back at Fox, Andrews was in The Frogmen (1951), then Goldwyn cast him in I Want You (1951), an overwrought attempt to repeat the success of The Best Years of Our Lives, during the Cold War era Korean War.[11]

From 1952 to 1954, Andrews was featured in the radio series I Was a Communist for the FBI, about the experiences of Matt Cvetic, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Communist Party of the United States of America.

Career decline

Andrews' film career waned in the 1950s. Assignment: Paris (1952) was not widely seen. He made Elephant Walk (1954) in Ceylon, a film better known for Vivien Leigh's nervous breakdown and replacement by Elizabeth Taylor. Duel in the Jungle (1954) was an adventure tale, Three Hours to Kill (1954) and Smoke Signal (1955) were Westerns, Strange Lady in Town (1955) was a Greer Garson vehicle, and Comanche (1956) another Western.

By the mid-1950s, Andrews was acting almost exclusively in B-movies. However, his acting in two late-cycle film noirs for Fritz Lang during 1956, While The City Sleeps, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and a horror film, The Night of the Demon (1957), and a noir, The Fearmakers (1958), for Jacques Tourneur, are well regarded. Around this time, he also appeared in Spring Reunion (1957), Zero Hour! (1957) and Enchanted Island (1958).

In 1952, Andrews toured with his wife, Mary Todd, in The Glass Menagerie, and in 1958, he replaced Henry Fonda (his former co-star in The Oxbow Incident and Daisy Kenyon) on Broadway in Two for the Seesaw.[6]


Andrews began appearing on television on such shows as Playhouse 90 ("Right Hand Man", "Alas, Babylon"), General Electric Theatre, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Checkmate, The DuPont Show of the Week, The Twilight Zone ("No Time Like the Past"), The Dick Powell Theatre, Alcoa Premiere, Ben Casey, and Theatre of Stars.

Andrews continued to make films like The Crowded Sky (1960) and Madison Avenue (1961). He then went to Broadway for The Captains and the Kings, which had a short run in 1962.

In 1963, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild.

In 1965, Andrews resumed his film work with support roles in The Satan Bug and In Harm's Way. Although he had the lead in films such as Crack in the World (1965), Brainstorm (1965), and Town Tamer (1965), he was increasingly cast in supporting roles: Berlin, Appointment for the Spies (1965), The Loved One (1965), Battle of the Bulge (1965), and Johnny Reno (1966). He occasionally played leads in low-budget films like The Frozen Dead (1966), The Cobra (1967) and Hot Rods to Hell (1967), however, by the late 1960s he had evolved into a character actor, as in The Ten Million Dollar Grab (1967), No Diamonds for Ursula (1967), and The Devil's Brigade (1968).

By the end of the decade, Andrews returned to television to play the leading role of college president Tom Boswell on the NBC daytime soap opera Bright Promise from its premiere on September 29, 1969, until March 1971.[12]

Later career

Andrews spent the 1970s in supporting roles of Hollywood films such as The Failing of Raymond (1971), Innocent Bystanders (1972), Airport 1975 (1974), A Shadow in the Streets (1975), The First 36 Hours of Dr. Durant (1975), Take a Hard Ride (1975), The Last Tycoon (1976), The Last Hurrah (1977), and Good Guys Wear Black (1978)

He also appeared regularly on TV in such shows as Ironside, Get Christie Love!, Ellery Queen, The American Girls, The Hardy Boys, and The Love Boat.

It was at this time, the 1970s, that Andrews became involved in the real estate business, telling one newspaper reporter, for example, that he owned "a hotel that brings in $200,000 a year."[7]

Andrews's final roles included Born Again (1978), Ike: The War Years (1979), The Pilot (1980), Falcon Crest (1982–83) and Prince Jack (1985).

Personal life

Andrews married Janet Murray on December 31, 1932. Murray died in 1935 as a result of pneumonia. Their unnamed baby was also born and died on the same day, during her illness.

Their son, David, was a musician and composer who died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1964 at the age of 30. On November 17, 1939, Andrews married actress Mary Todd, with whom he had three children: Katharine, Stephen, and Susan. For two decades, the family lived in Toluca Lake, California.

Andrews struggled with alcoholism but eventually won the battle and worked actively with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.[7] During 1972, he appeared in a television public service advertisement concerning the subject.[1]

During the last years of his life, Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He spent his final years living at the John Douglas French Center for Alzheimer's Disease in Los Alamitos, California.[1]

On December 17, 1992, Andrews died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia.[13] His wife died in 2003 at the age of 86.[14]


Partial television credits

Year Program Episode Role
1963 The Twilight Zone "No Time Like the Past" Paul Driscoll
1969 Family Affair "Wings Of An Angel" Harv Mullen
1971 Night Gallery "The Different Ones" Paul Koch
1978 The Hardy Boys "Assault on the Tower" Townley
1978 The American Girls "The Cancelled Czech" Phillips
1982 The Love Boat "Command Performance/Hyde and Seek/Sketchy Love" Mr. Paul Gerber[15]
1982 Falcon Crest "The Candidate" and "Deliberate Disclosure" Elliot McKay

Radio credits

Year Program Episode Ref
1948 Lux Radio Theatre "The Luck of the Irish" [16]
1952–1954 I Was a Communist for the FBI Various episodes [17][18]
1952 Hallmark Playhouse "The Secret Road" [19]
1953 Theater of Stars "The Token" [20]


  1. ^ a b c Severo, Richard (December 19, 1992). "Dana Andrews, Film Actor of 40's, Is Dead at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  2. ^ "Dana Andrews Dies; Actor Was a Success but Not a Star". Los Angeles Times. December 18, 1992. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  3. ^ Coons, Robbin (September 27, 1940). "Hollywood Sights And Sounds". Big Spring Daily Herald. p. 7. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via Open access icon
  4. ^ Coons, Robbin (August 8, 1941). "Dana Andrews Has Makings Of Stardom". Big Spring Daily Herald. p. 2. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via Open access icon
  5. ^ a b McKay, James (2014). Dana Andrews: The Face of Noir. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-5676-5.
  6. ^ a b "Dana Andrews Dies; Actor Was a Success but Not a Star". Los Angeles Times. December 18, 1992. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Bass, Milton R. (August 16, 1977). "The Lively World". The Berkshire Eagle. p. 6. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via access icon
  8. ^ Crowther, Bosley (May 10, 1943). "'The Ox-Bow Incident,' Drama of Mob Violence, With Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda in Leads, Opens at the Rivoli". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  9. ^ Easton, Carol (2014). The Search for Sam Goldwyn. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-62674-132-4.
  10. ^ Coe, Richard L. (January 3, 1948). "Bing's Lucky Number: Pa Crosby Dons 4th B.O. Crown". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  11. ^ Crowther, Bosley (December 24, 1951). "The Screen in Review; Samuel Goldwyn's 'I Want You' Opens Run at Criterion – Script by Irwin Shaw (Published 1951)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  12. ^ Scott, Vernon (May 6, 1971). "Ann Jeffreys Happy in 'Bright Promise'". Schenectady Gazette. United Press International. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  13. ^ "Dana Andrews Dies; Actor Was a Success but Not a Star". Los Angeles Times. December 18, 1992. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "Mary Todd Andrews". Variety. February 4, 2003. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  15. ^ "Command Performance/Hyde and Seek/Sketchy Love". IMDb. The Love Boat. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013.
  17. ^ "Dana Andrews". I Was a Communist for the F.B.I.
  18. ^ "I Was a Communist For The FBI". Modesto Radio Museum. Archived from the original on May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  19. ^ Kirby, Walter (November 30, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". Decatur Daily Review. p. 48. Retrieved June 14, 2015 – via Open access icon
  20. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved June 25, 2015 – via access icon

External links

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