Dana Andrews Poster


Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 1 January 1909Covington County, Mississippi, USA
Date of Death 17 December 1992Los Alamitos, California, USA  (pneumonia, complicated by congestive heart failure)
Birth NameCarver Dana Andrews
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews, was born Carver Dana Andrews on a farm by Collins, Covington County, Mississippi. He was the son of Annis (Speed) and Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister. He was one of thirteen children, including actor Steve Forrest.

Andrews studied business administration at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Texas, but took a bookkeeping job with Gulf Oil in 1929 prior to graduating. In 1931, he hitchhiked to California, hoping to get work as an actor. He drove a school bus, dug ditches, picked oranges, worked as a stock boy, and pumped gas while trying without luck to break into the movies. His employer at a Van Nuys gas station believed in him and agreed to invest in him, asking to be repaid if and when Andrews made it as an actor. Andrews studied opera and also entered the Pasadena Community Playhouse, the famed theatre company and drama school. He appeared in scores of plays there in the 1930s, becoming a favorite of the company. He played opposite future star Robert Preston in a play about composers Gilbert and Sullivan, and soon thereafter was offered a contract by Samuel Goldwyn.

It was two years before Goldwyn and 20th Century-Fox (to whom Goldwyn had sold half of Andrews' contract) put him in a film, but the roles, though secondary, were mostly in top-quality pictures such as The Westerner (1940) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1943). A starring role in the hit Laura (1944), followed by one in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), made him a star, but no later film quite lived up to the quality of these. During his career, he had worked with with such directors as Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, William A. Wellman, Jean Renoir, and Elia Kazan.

Andrews slipped into a steady stream of unremarkable films in which he gave sturdy performances, until age and other interests resulted in fewer appearances. In addition, his increasing alcoholism caused him to lose the confidence of some producers. Andrews took steps to curb his addiction and in his later years was an outspoken member of the National Council on Alcoholism, who decried public refusal to face the problem. He was probably the first actor to do a public service announcement about alcoholism (in 1972 for the U.S. Department of Transportation), and did public speaking tours. Andrews was one of the first to speak out against the degradation of the acting profession, particularly actresses doing nude scenes just to get a role.

Andrews was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1963, serving until 1965. He retired from films in the 1960s and made, he said, more money from real estate than he ever did in movies. Yet he and his second wife, actress Mary Todd, lived quietly in a modest home in Studio City, California. Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's Disease in his later years and spent his final days in a nursing facility. He died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia in 1992.

A quote from Bob Greene in "Chicago Tribune", November 3, 1993, read, "To me, Andrews . . . represented both the grand possibilities and the ultimate despair the movies can offer a man. He was a certified movie star, yet by the end of his life he enjoyed neither artistic acclaim granted a Fellini, nor the ease of getting a job taken for granted by a Phoenix."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: <eal7238@mailer.fsu.edu> and Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (2)

Mary Todd (17 November 1939 - 17 December 1992) (his death) (3 children)
Janet Murray (31 December 1932 - 29 October 1935) (her death) (1 child)

Trivia (24)

Trained as an opera singer, but was rarely, e.g. in The North Star (1943), allowed to use his fine singing voice in the movies. In the one musical he did make, State Fair (1945), his voice was dubbed because the studio was unaware he was a trained singer. He later explained that he didn't correct their mistake because he felt the singer dubbing him probably needed the money.
Older brother of actor Steve Forrest, and also had three other brothers, all of whom survived at the time of his death.
Sons: David Andrews (1934-1964) & Stephen Andrews (b. 1944). Daughters: Katharine Andrews (b. 1942) & Susan Andrews (b. 1948).
In the late 1940s, during the height of his popularity, the publicist for Fox sent a telegram to the mayor of Collins, Mississippi suggesting that the town officially change its name to Andrews in honor of its native son. The mayor wired back: "We will not change our name to Andrews. Have Andrews change his to Collins."
(1963-1965) President of Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
Mentioned in the opening song to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) ("Science Fiction")
Suffered from Alzheimer's Disease in his last years.
He appeared with actress Gene Tierney in five films: Tobacco Road (1941), Belle Starr (1941), Laura (1944), The Iron Curtain (1948) and Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950).
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 3, 1991-1993, pages 22-23. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001.
Spent the last years of his life in a nursing facility in Los Alamitos, California due to Alzheimer's Disease. Fellow actor and long-time friend Burt Lancaster was visiting Andrews when Lancaster suffered the paralyzing stroke from which he never recovered and led to his death 2 years later.
He was a supporter of liberal political causes.
After arriving in Los Angeles, he worked a variety of jobs before his first job as an actor, including driving a school bus, gas station attendant, truck driver, ditch digger, picking fruit, and working in a department store's stock room. He applied at, and was turned down by, every film studio and production company. He also applied at the Pasadena Playhouse, known as prime training ground for budding actors and actresses, but he was turned down there, at first, too. After he took singing lessons, he decided to give the Pasadena Playhouse a second go, and much to his surprise, he was accepted. His first role at Pasadena was as a spear carrier in a William Shakespeare drama.
His first wife, Janet Murray, died of pneumonia in 1935. Their son, David, the only child from his marriage to Janet, became a pianist, organist, composer, and radio announcer, before dying in 1964 due to a cerebral hemorrhage.
He had three grandchildren at the time of his death.
In 1931, at the height of the Great Depression, he quit his job in Texas working for an oil company, and hitchhiked to Los Angeles, hoping to break into show business.
He met both his first and second wives at the Pasadena Playhouse.
When his film and television career declined in the 1960s, he began investing in Real Estate development after reading a "how to" book on Real Estate, and with a friend and business partner, he built his first apartment building in Garden Grove, California.
After the expiration of his last studio contract in 1952, he formed his own production company, Lawrence Productions.
Although his career was considered to be slowing down by the early 1960s, in 1965, he appeared in eight different productions, by far the most roles in any one year of his entire career. Of those eight roles, all were feature films, and he portrayed military officers in five of them.
Mid Summer 1969, the 1950s and '60s American handsome movie star Dana Andrews was contracted as the featured male lead in a new NBC Television daytime "soap series" drama titled "Bright Promise." The name of the show reflected the overarching theme of the bright promise - that leaders of tomorrow graduating from Bancroft College would ostensibly bring leaders of tomorrow. Doris and Frank Hursley created the NBC "Bright Promise" project, writing, producing the series in conjunction with Bing Crosby - Paramount Films Productions (under the name Fandor Productions) as the packager with assistance from Cox Broadcasting. The Hursley husband and wife team, who had previously created the 1960s ABC TV "General Hospital," involved their former "Secret Storm" CBS Television associate Gloria Monte (Aug 12, 1921-Mar 30, 2006, age 84, Rancho Mirage, CA), who would function as the NBC (Burbank, Stage 9) producer and series director. With the American Hollywood movie star Dana Andrews as a featured drawing card initiating the new NBC daytime project, NBC Programming counted on Dana Andrews' name power to draw in the female viewers as a ratings coup. Dana Andrews, 60 years old, was the star in the dramatic role as the "Bright Promise" series' Bancroft University President Thomas Boswell. Andrews's character role was the central core for other cast members to spin their web about college and community players. Andrews', as the university president, with a permanent cast of actors and guest performers in roles as instructors, town citizens, doctors and nurses, judges, crazed sex goddess', all spinning off a web of relationships, gossip, scandalous intrigue, affairs, with young college students sprinkled into the mixture! Sharing the NBC Burbank Studio 9 facility with "Days of Our Lives" (DOOL), the show's rehearsal and taping schedule followed after DOOL's completion of their daily rehearsal and taping schedule. "Bright Promise" began their script reading, stage blocking, camera rehearsal and taping schedule at 12:00 p.m (noon). The BP show usually wrapped their day by eight (8:00 p.m.). Dana Andrews' weekly participation usually required a three day work week schedule, dependent upon the story development, sometimes for a complete five day work week of appearances. During the 1969 December-Christmas season, the cast and Dana Andrews were featured singing Christmas carols during their shows' daily holiday story-line. Probably the only time in Dana Andrews professional career that Dana Andrews sang "live", performing musical sequences specifically arranged for his talents. A year later, after the series had established a viewing based audience, early winter 1971, Dana Andrews learned, from a Los Angeles Times Calendar, Monday morning news item, that he was fired from the series. Cast members after reading the LA Times article were also the first to learn of Dana Andrews' fate! Producers Gloria Monte and Dick Dunn, at that Monday noon Studio 9's rehearsal script-read through, expressed their condolences to Dana Andrews in front of Dana Andrews' cast mates, the day's director, stage and camera crew. Andrews' character was written out two weeks later. Weeks later, Andrews was replaced with musical stage and film actress Anne Jefferies (Sylvia Bancroft). The normal cycle for a television series marketable test is two years. After the series premiere on September 29, 1969, one year later 1971, the network also fired producer Richard "Dick" Dunn replacing him with Jerry Layton, brought into production to supervise casting, tighten production's overages, scheduling expenses, and engineering over-time. The show's time slot was against ABC's "One Life to Live" and CBS' "The Edge of Night". In early winter 1972, newly appointed Vice President NBC Daytime Programming Director Lin Bolen (1972-1976) axed "Bright Promise" (September 29,1969-March 31,1972). Lin Bolen scheduled the replacement series that she wanted as her legacy. In conjunction with 20th Century Fox Television, the extremely popular NBC TV night time series "Peyton Place" (September 13, 1964-June 2, 1969). "Return To Peyton Place" was scheduled in the same 3:30 daily NBC daytime programming schedule, premiering April 3, 1972. RTPP lasted two years, canceled in January 4, 1974. Ironically, like Dana Andrews, the "Bright Promise" cast and production crew learned of their BP show's cancellation by reading the Los Angeles Entertainment Calendar section's showbiz news feature. Two years later, 1974, the same way, the "Return to Peyton Place" cast and crew learned of their show's fate, reading about their show cancellation in the Los Angeles Times Entertainment Calendar Monday edition. Replaced by a game show!.
Initial concept discussions about scenery for "Bright Promise" between producer Gloria Monte and production designer Hub Braden concentrated on the series stage set's wall color related to the series star Dana Andrews (at age 60 in 1969). The final over-all set color, hue, solution had to have a rose tint for stage-set wall bounce-lighting reflections. The bounce light from the rose-beige set wall color would enhance any actor's facial make-up for camera appearances. The color solution was to make the 60 year old Dana Andrews look younger for "camera." Production designer Hub Braden was asked to take over Angela Lansbury's CBS TV series "Murder, She Wrote" in August, 1988. Braden used the same "Dana Andrews' rose-beige tinted wall color scheme" in determining the painted color for any stage set, and location set, built that Angela Lansbury (age 63 in 1988) appeared in on her series role as "Jessica Fletcher.".
The "Bright Promise" Bancroft University interior corridors, classrooms, and administrative offices set floor plan was an extensive lay-out. The "hub" of the set was the University President Tom Boswell's (Dana Andrews's) office. Because the President's set was the center of the interior complex floor plan-footprint, when the class-room hall corridors and office sets and classrooms were required, the entire Dana Andrews' set had to be set up. After Dana Andrews left the series, his office-set was never dressed, nor ever used after his departure from the NBC series.
He and his younger brother Steve Forrest made guest appearances in consecutive episodes of Twilight Zone (1959): Andrews in Twilight Zone: No Time Like the Past (1963) and Forrest in Twilight Zone: The Parallel (1963).

Personal Quotes (7)

[after having received "permission" from Samuel Goldwyn to get married] About a week before the wedding was planned I got a call from the casting director: "Let your hair and your beard grow. You're going to be in a western". So in the society column of the Santa Monica paper there was a picture of the two of us, me with this beard, and it said, "Mr. Andrews is an actor. Note the beard."
It's not difficult for me to hide emotion [on-screen], since I've always hidden it in my personal life.
[regarding his alcoholism:] Finally, I said to myself, 'You're a miserable man. Whether or not you want to remain miserable is up to you.' So I quit.
I went through all the psychiatry thing, trying to find out why I drank. I finally ended up with the president of the American Psychiatry Association in Hartford telling me, 'I'm damned if I know why you drink.'
[about the films he made] Asked once to name the film he had enjoyed doing most, Andrews could not. "I simply love this business," he replied. "That's all."
[1982 regarding his Real Estate developments] He said he was earning more "with all my apartment buildings and hotels than I ever did when I was a movie star."
[1982 regarding his acting career and his investments] I'm retired now. I've made all the money I want. So I just do what I feel like doing. If I act again, it has to be something meaningful.

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