Alan Ladd


Alan Ladd

Original Name Alan Walbridge Ladd
Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas, USA
Death 29 Jan 1964 (aged 50)
Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Freedom Mausoleum, Faith of Our Fathers Terrace (upper floor), Faith of Our Fathers Corridor, Sanctuary of Heritage (right/south side wall), Companion Mausoleum Crypt #20358 (2 columns in, 3 rows up)
Memorial ID 595 View Source
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Actor. He is best known as an American actor in the role of “Shane” in the 1953 western movie of the same name. A handsome man of few words, he was considered short in statue being five-feet-seven-inches according to his army records. He was the only child of an accountant father, Alan Ladd, Sr, and a petite, blond English mother. After his father died suddenly from a heart attack in 1920, his mother experienced the hardships of being a single mother. He and his mother left Arkansas for Oklahoma with only the clothes on their backs after he caught their apartment building on fire while playing with matches. When he was eight years old, his mother married a house painter, and looking for employment, the family moved to California living out of a car for years. As a child during the Great Depression, he was malnourished, undersized, and nicknamed “Tiny.” He failed several grade levels in school with his family moving, and to help provide for the family, he picked fruit, delivered newspapers, and swept stores. When he reached high school, he participated in track and swimming. After receiving several awards for his athletic talents, he wanted to participate in the 1932 Olympics, but a head injury during a high dive accident in 1931 changed his plans. He left sports and took acting classes. At the age of twenty and measuring five-feet-four-inches tall, he graduated from high school. He opened a hamburger stand, Tiny's Patio, and a year later, the business failed. He landed a job as a set builder for Warner Brothers Studio. In 1936, he married his high school sweetheart, Marjorie "Midge" Harrold. The couple had a son named Alan Ladd, Jr. Within a few months, the couple moved into an apartment with friends, where soon his destitute alcoholic mother joined them. A few months later, Ladd had to watch his mother die a slow agonizing death from suicide after swallowing ant poison. Eventually, he landed a job doing radio performances, which followed with bit parts in the 1932 Warner Brothers films “Once in a Lifetime” and “Tom Brown of Culver.” In 1939, talent scout Sue Carol discovered him and guided him to better acting roles. His short statue, fair complexion and blond hair held him back from leading roles requiring a tall, dark and handsome male actor. He had a number of bit parts in films before he was given the role of Raven, the psychotic killer, in "This Gun for Hire" in 1942, which was a very successful movie for him. In 1941, he divorced his wife and a year later, married Sue Carol. In January of 1943 during World War II, he was drafted into the United States Army, but was discharged in November of 1943 with an ulcer and a double hernia. Throughout the rest of the 1940s and into the 1950s, his tough-guy roles in numerous westerns, private detective, and war films gave him a star billing. He co-starred with Veronica Lake in “The Blue Dahlia” in 1946 and “Saigon” in 1948. In 1953, he was cast in "Shane", perhaps his most famous role. By the end of the 1950s, his career hit the skids after he left Paramount Studios. He had a string of mediocre movies, failure to get the scripts he wanted, and drinking alcohol all began to take their toll on him. In November of 1962, he obtained a serious self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest. He stated it was an accident while others thought it was an attempted suicide. However, he recovered, and appeared to most people to return to a normal life, but in January of 1964, he died from cerebral edema, which was a complication of a drug overdose. Although the autopsy ruled out suicide, many believe his death was a suicide from an overdose of alcohol and sedatives. Ironically, in his last film in 1964, "The Carpetbaggers,” he played an aging, washed-up movie star. Released posthumously, the film was among the highest-grossing pictures of the year. His son with his first wife, Alan Ladd Jr, became former president of 20th Century Fox and currently president of The Ladd Company. His two children with Carol were a daughter, Alana Ladd, and youngest son, David Ladd; both had a film career. David's wife, Cheryl Ladd, is remembered for her role on the television series, “Charlie's Angels.” In 1953 he received the “Photoplay” Gold Medal for his performance in “Shane,” and ranked 4th in the top 25 male actors.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 595
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Alan Ladd (3 Sep 1913–29 Jan 1964), Find a Grave Memorial ID 595, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .