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Ann Sheridan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (4) | Salary (2)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 21 February 1915Denton, Texas, USA
Date of Death 21 January 1967Los Angeles, California, USA  (cancer of the esophagus and liver)
Birth NameClara Lou Sheridan
Nickname The "Oomph" Girl
Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Ann Sheridan won the "Search for Beauty" contest which carried with it a Paramount screen test. Signed to a contract at 18, she was put into a number of small roles under her real name of Clara Lou Sheridan. As she got better, her name was changed to Ann. In 1936, after two dozen films, she went to Warner Brothers, which billed her as the "Oomph Girl," a name she despised -- although she certainly looked the part. She was allowed to mature into a leading star who could be the girl next door or the tough-as-nails dame. She was in a lot of comedies and a number of forgettable movies, but the public liked her, and her career flourished. She also gave great performances such as the singer in Torrid Zone (1940) and the waitress in They Drive by Night (1940). In 1948, she was dropped by Warner Bros., but came back in Howard Hawks' comedy I Was a Male War Bride (1949) with Cary Grant. She continued to make films into the 1950s but retired before the end of the decade. She starred in the soap opera Another World (1964) and the western series Pistols 'n' Petticoats (1966). Unfortunately, just as her career was reviving with this series, she died of cancer.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Clara Lou Sheridan was born February 21, 1915, in Denton, Texas, to an automobile mechanic and his homemaker wife. The youngest of five children, she grew up in a normal childhood environment. She was a self-described tomboy and was very athletic, and played on the girls basketball team for North Texas State Teacher's College, where she was planning to enter the teaching field. Her sister thought her beautiful enough to send in a picture of Ann in a bathing suit to Paramount Studios. The "Search for Beauty" contest carried, as the prize, a screen test and a bit part in a movie. She won and was signed to a contract at the age of 19. Her first film was the prize: a bit role in Wagon Wheels (1934). Performing under her real name of Clara Lou, she appeared in 12 more films that year, most designed to showcase her beauty along with other starlets that Paramount had signed. Twelve more bit parts followed in 1935. The following year, she left Paramount and signed with Warner Brothers, where more of the same followed. It wasn't until 1938 that Clara Lou, now Ann, landed a role with substance as Laury Ferguson in Angels with Dirty Faces (1938). Known as the "Oomph Girl," a nickname she detested, she became one of the most glamorous women in Hollywood. Rex Harrison said of her, "I was struck by her extraordinary magnetism and directness," and noted that he liked her "distinctive quality of earthiness that never transcends to blatant sexiness." Her beauty made her a favorite pin-up, along with Betty Grable. She grew into a leading star who could adapt to any role. She was put into a lot of comedies, many of which were quite forgettable, but the public loved her, and critics began to take notice of her after terrific performances in Torrid Zone (1940) and as the saucy waitress who marries George Raft in They Drive by Night (1940). She was also singled out for another standout performance in Kings Row (1942) with future politician Ronald Reagan. She starred with Cary Grant in Howard Hawks screwball comedy I Was a Male War Bride (1949). As she entered the 1950s, however, her career went into a decline. She was aging -- as was sadly evident in her last film, the turgid Woman and the Hunter (1957) -- and a crop of younger actresses coming up meant her services were no longer in demand. She moved to New York and took whatever acting jobs she could find, whether on stage or TV. Most soap opera fans may remember her in Another World (1964), but she is best remembered by TV audiences as Henrietta Hanks in the western comedy Pistols 'n' Petticoats (1966). Her career was taking off again, but the success was short-lived. Ann died on January 21, 1967, in San Fernando Valley, California, of cancer. She didn't get to live out her series' first season. She was 51.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Spouse (3)

Scott McKay (5 June 1966 - 21 January 1967) (her death)
George Brent (5 January 1942 - 5 January 1943) (divorced)
Edward Norris (16 August 1936 - 6 October 1938) (divorced)

Trivia (20)

Appeared under her real name through 1935.
Was named Max Factor's "Girl of the Year" for 1939.
Was used as a body double (hands, legs, shoulders) while at Paramount.
Was Frank Capra 's first choice for the role of Ann Mitchell in Meet John Doe (1941) but she was vetoed by Warner Bros. in a contract dispute.
Due to her being known as "The Oomph Girl" she later became the inspiration for the brand of woman's house-slippers called "Oomphies".
Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 7024 Hollywood Blvd.
After making San Quentin (1937), in which they played brother and sister, Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart became friends and began referring to each other as "Sister Annie" and "Brother Bogie".
She was the original choice for Panama Smith in The Roaring Twenties (1939). The role eventually went to Gladys George.
In 1952 was included by the Fashion Academy of New York in the eight best dressed women of America.
Her biography on This Is Your Life (1952) was canceled because she found out in advance what was being planned.
In her will, she asked that her cremated remains be placed in a columbarium at a cemetery in Los Angeles. Her biographer Karen McHale discovered that the actress' instructions had not been followed and arranged to have her final wishes fulfilled. Hollywood Forever Cemetery donated a niche and held a dignified service (presided over by her cousin, the Rev. Sallie Watson) on February 21, 2005 - which would have been her 90th birthday.
Warner Bros. was eager to portray Ann as a "Girl about town," so her contract demanded that she hit the nightclubs at least three times a week.
According to an article in The Newark Evening News, Ann kept busy during her 1941 strike from Warner Bros. by rebuilding abandoned cars at a friend's garage.
In 1939 a fraternity bet inspired a UCLA student to handcuff himself to Ann during a movie premiere and then swallow the key. A locksmith had to be summoned to the theater to unlock her.
Had a large gap between her front teeth. She always wore a porcelain cap when having her picture taken.
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Dhia Cristiani. She was occasionally dubbed by Lidia Simoneschi, Rosetta Calavetta and Maria Pia Di Meo, most notably in I Was a Male War Bride (1949).
Profiled in "Killer Tomatoes: Fifteen Tough Film Dames" bu Ray Hagen and Laura Wagner (McFarland, 2004).
Was considered for the role of Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), but Ingrid Bergman was cast instead.
Was considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).
Was considered for the female lead in Mildred Pierce (1945).

Personal Quotes (4)

I used to go to Grauman's Chinese or Pantages and sit there waiting to see my faceless body on the screen. Texas began to look awfully near and awfully good, and "Clara Lou" had a sweet sound to my ears.
I can whistle through my fingers, bulldog a steer, light a fire with two sticks, shoot a pistol with fair accuracy, set type, and teach school . . .
They nicknamed me "The Oomph Girl", and I loathe that nickname! Just being known by a nickname indicates that you're not thought of as a true actress . . . It's just crap! If you call an actress by her looks or a reaction, then that's all she'll ever be thought of as.
[on Errol Flynn] He was one of the wild characters of the world, but he had a strange, quiet side. He camouflaged himself completely. In all the years I knew him, I never really knew what lay underneath and I doubt if many people did.

Salary (2)

Sing Me a Love Song (1936) $75/week
Navy Blues (1941) $600/week

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