Dana Andrews Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (24)  | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (3)

Born in Covington County, Mississippi, USA
Died in Los Alamitos, California, USA  (pneumonia and congestive heart failure)
Birth NameCarver Dana Andrews

Mini Bio (1)

American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews was born Carver Dana Andrews on New Years Day 1909 on a farmstead outside Collins, Covington County, Mississippi. One of thirteen children, including fellow actor Steve Forrest, he was a son of Annis (Speed) and Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister.

Andrews studied business administration at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Texas, but took a bookkeeping job with Gulf Oil in 1929, aged 20, 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 (1942). 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, aged 83.

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 - 28 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 Steve Forrest, and also had three other brothers, all of whom survived at the time of his death.
Sons: David Andrews (1934-64) and Stephen Andrews (b. 1944). Daughters: Katharine Andrews (b. 1942) and 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, MS, 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".
President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1963-65.
Mentioned in the opening song to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) ("Science Fiction")
Appeared with 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, CA, due to Alzheimer's Disease. Long-time friend Burt Lancaster was visiting him when Lancaster had the paralyzing stroke from which he never recovered and that led to his death two years later.
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 older son, David, became a pianist, organist, composer, and radio announcer, before dying in 1964 due to a cerebral hemorrhage. Janet was from a rather wealthy family in small-town Iowa, and is buried there with their 2nd son, who died shortly after birth.
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 after reading a "how to" book on the subject, and with a friend and business partner, built his first apartment building in Garden Grove, CA.
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.
In mid-summer 1969 he was hired to be the lead in an NBC daytime soap opera to be called Bright Promise (1969). The plot was about how students at the fictional Bancroft College were being trained to be the "bright promise" leaders of the future. Writers/producers Doris Hursley and Frank Hursley developed the show, a co-production of Bing Crosby Productions and Paramount Television (under the name Fandor Productions), with assistance from Cox Broadcasting. The Hursleys, who had previously created the iconic soap opera General Hospital (1963), brought aboard producer/director Gloria Monty. Andrews was to play university president Thomas Boswell, the central character around whom other characters and story lines would be spun. The show premiered in 1969 and shared facilities at the NBC studios in Burbank, CA, with the popular soap Days of Our Lives (1965), and Andrews--who was a trained opera singer--actually got to use his singing skills on the show (something he was seldom allowed to do in his film career). In 1971, after the show had been on for about a year, Andrews was reading the "Los Angeles Times'" entertainment section, called "Calendar", and learned that he had been fired from the show by the network. His character was written out and he was replaced two weeks later by Anne Jeffreys. NBC also fired the show's producer, Dick Dunn, and brought in one of its own people, Jerry Layton, to replace him. The series itself was canceled the next year, replaced by Return to Peyton Place (1972)--like Andrews, the show's cast and crew found out they were out of work by reading about it in the L.A. Times' Calendar section. Ironically, in 1974 Return to Peyton Place (1972) was also canceled and its cast and crew found out about it the same way--by reading about it in the "Times". The series was replaced by a game show.

Initial concept discussions about scenery for Bright Promise (1969) between producer Gloria Monty and production designer Hub Braden concentrated on the series' stage set's wall color related to the series star Andrews (age 60 at the time). The final overall 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 Andrews look younger for "camera." Braden was asked to take over Angela Lansbury's CBS TV series Murder, She Wrote (1984). 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 Lansbury (63 in 1988) appeared in on her series role as "Jessica Fletcher.".
The Bright Promise (1969) Bancroft University interior corridors, classrooms and administrative offices set floor plan was an extensive layout. The "hub" of the set was the University President Tom Boswell's (Andrews) 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 Andrews' set had to be set up. After 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 The Twilight Zone (1959): Andrews in The Twilight Zone: No Time Like the Past (1963) and Forrest in The Twilight Zone: The Parallel (1963).
Sealed Cargo (1951) was the only film that he and his younger brother Steve Forrest made together.
He was important to the "disaster" genre, specializing in "Airliners in Peril". In Zero Hour! (1957) his character was a pilot named named Ted Stryker, the same name used by Robert Hays in Airplane! (1980), which satirized Andrews' film. In The Crowded Sky (1960) he played a pilot who must land a disabled plane. Then in Airport 1975 (1974) he appeared in a small but important role.
On 8/22/18 he was honored with a day of his film work during the TCM Summer Under The Stars.

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".
[on why he couldn't pick one of his films as his favorite] I simply love this business. That's all.
[in 1982, regarding his real-estate investments] [I earn more money] with all my apartment buildings and hotels than I ever did when I was a movie star.
[in 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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