Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on September 3, 1913, Alan Ladd had a difficult start in life. His impoverished family suffered many setbacks, most notably the death of his father in 1918. As a youth he worked many odd jobs while his family worked its way west, and he excelled at sports in high school. At age 22 Ladd married his first wife and welcomed a son the following year. Tragically, Ladd's mother committed suicide at about this time.

In the 1930s Ladd entered films but had little luck in the business; his roles were usually small and the movies lacked production values. However, he had some success in radio. His film fortunes improved in the late 1930s when he met actress-turned-agent Sue Carol, who took on Ladd as a client. Carol aggressively promoted the young actor and soon his film career picked up; he landed respectable roles at RKO and Republic and also appeared in an early 'Soundie.' In 1941 Ladd's marriage tanked, and the following year Ladd married Carol, with whom he had two more children. Carol's efforts eventually netted him a contract with Paramount Pictures, where Ladd was cast in a meaty role in the film noir release This Gun for Hire (1942; with Veronica Lake). The film was tailored for Ladd's acting style and proved such a smash that Paramount used Ladd and costar Veronica Lake in several films throughout the 1940s. By the early 1950s Ladd left Paramount and freelanced for the remainder of his career; his production companies Warwick and Jaguar produced a number of his 1950s films, often released through Warner Bros.

the films of alan ladd

Lucky Jordan (1942)

Alan Ladd and Helen WalkerHelen Walker, Alan Ladd, and Marie McDonald

LEFT: With Helen Walker in Paramount's noir comedy Lucky Jordan. RIGHT: With Helen Walker and Marie McDonald

The Glass Key (1942)

Brian Donlevy, Veronica Lake, and Alan Ladd

With Brian Donlevy and Veronica Lake in The Glass Key

Salty O'Rourke (1945)

Alan Ladd

Ladd as the title character in Paramount's film noir drama Salty O'Rourke

The Blue Dahlia (1946)

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake

With frequent co-star Veronica Lake in the film noir thriller The Blue Dahlia

O.S.S. (1946)

Alan Ladd and Geraldine Fitzgerald

From the Paramount war drama O.S.S. with Geraldine Fitzgerald

Two Years Before the Mast (1946)

Barry Fitzgerald, Brian Donlevy, and Alan Ladd

With Barry Fitzgerald and Brian Donlevy in the excellent Paramount sea adventure Two Years Before the Mast

Wild Harvest (1947)

Alan Ladd and Robert PrestonAlan Ladd and Dorothy Lamour

From the Paramount drama Wild Harvest. LEFT: Fighting Robert Preston. RIGHT: Romancing Dorothy Lamour

Beyond Glory (1948)

Alan Ladd

From the Paramount drama Beyond Glory

Saigon (1948)

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake

From the Paramount drama Saigon, the final film in which Ladd costarred with Veronica Lake

Chicago Deadline (1949)

Alan Ladd

From the Paramount film noir drama Chicago Deadline

Red Mountain (1952)

Alan Ladd and Lizabeth Scott

From Paramount's Civil War drama Red Mountain with Lizabeth Scott

Shane (1953)

Alan Ladd, Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, and Brandon De Wilde

Shane is probably Alan Ladd's most famous film and definitely his best. Also pictured are Van Helfin, Jean Arthur, and Brandon De Wilde. This Paramount release was Arthur's last film

The McConnell Story (1955)

Alan Ladd and June Allyson

With June Allyson in the Warner Bros. drama The McConnell Story

Santiago (1956)

Rossana Podesta, Alan Ladd, Lloyd Nolan and Paul Fix

With Rossana Podesta, Lloyd Nolan, and Paul Fix in the Warner Bros. release Santiago

The Deep Six (1958)

Alan Ladd and Dianne Foster

With Dianne Foster in the Warner Bros. war flick The Deep Six

The Man in the Net (1959)

Alan Ladd

In the film noir thriller The Man in the Net, Alan Ladd is set up for a crime he didn't commit; the children of the town assist him in finding the real killer

13 West Street (1962)

Chris Robinson, Rod Steiger, Alan Ladd, Arnold Merritt, and Jeanne CooperMichael Callan, Rod Steiger, and Alan Ladd

From the Columbia drama 13 West Street. LEFT: With Chris Robinson, Rod Steiger, Arnold Merritt, and Jeanne Cooper. RIGHT: With Michael Callan and Rod Steiger

later years

While shooting The McConnell Story (1956; with June Allyson), Ladd began an affair with co-star June Allyson. He was ready to divorce his wife, but Allyson called a halt to the affair, leaving Ladd depressed and despondent. His career slowed considerably with the onset of the 1960s, as the film noir and western genres began to wane. A heavy drinker, his consumption of alcohol took its took on his good looks and career ambitions. On January 29, 1964, Ladd died at his Palm Springs home as a result of mixing alcohol and sedatives; he was just 50 years old. His final film was released posthumously, which was the steamy drama The Carpetbaggers (1964; with Martha Hyer), making its debut only two months after his death. He was survived by his wife, Sue Carol, a daughter, and two sons. Carol passed away in 1982 at age 75. Ladd's son, actor and producer David Ladd, was the first husband of actress Cheryl Ladd.

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The Carpetbaggers (1964) with George Peppard, Robert Cummings, Martha Hyer, Martin Balsam, Lew Ayres, Carroll Baker, Ralph Taeger, Leif Erickson, and Arthur Franz
13 West Street (1962) with Rod Steiger, Michael Callan, Chris Robinson, and Jeanne Cooper
Duel of the Champions (1961) with Jacques Sernas and Alana Ladd
One Foot in Hell (1960) with Don Murray, Dan O'Herlihy, and Barry Coe
All the Young Men (1960) with Sidney Poitier, James Darren, Glenn Corbett, Mort Sahl, Richard Davalos, and Lee Kinsolving
Guns of the Timberland (1959) with Jeanne Crain, Gilbert Roland, Frankie Avalon, Lyle Bettger, and Noah Beery Jr.
The Man in the Net (1959) with Carolyn Jones, Diane Brewster, John Lupton, Charles McGraw, and Susan Gordon
The Badlanders (1958) with Ernest Borgnine and Katy Jurado
The Proud Rebel (1958) with Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger, Cecil Kellaway, John Carradine, and Harry Dean Stanton
The Deep Six (1958) with Dianne Foster, William Bendix, Keenan Wynn, James Whitmore, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and Joey Bishop
Boy on a Dolphin (1957) with Clifton Webb and Sophia Loren
The Big Land (1957) with Virginia Mayo and Edmond O'Brien
Santiago (1956) with Rossana Podesta, Lloyd Nolan, and Chill Wills
Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) with Edward G. Robinson, Joanne Dru, William Demarest, and Fay Wray
The McConnell Story (1955) with June Allyson, James Whitmore, Frank Faylen, Gregory Walcott, Dabbs Greer, and Edward Platt
Drum Beat (1954) with Audrey Dalton, Robert Keith, Charles Bronson, and Elisha Cook Jr.
The Black Knight (1954) with Patricia Medina and Peter Cushing
Saskatchewan (1954) with Shelley Winters, J. Carrol Naish, Hugh O'Brian, Richard Long, Jay Silverheels, and Antonio Moreno
Hell Below Zero (1954)
The Red Beret (1953)
Shane (1953) with Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Jack Palance, Edgar Buchanan, and Elisha Cook Jr.
Desert Legion (1953) with Richard Conte and Arlene Dahl
Botany Bay (1953) with James Mason, Patricia Medina, and Cedric Hardwicke
Thunder in the East (1952) with Deborah Kerr, Charles Boyer, Corinne Calvet, and Cecil Kellaway
The Iron Mistress (1952) with Virginia Mayo and Phyllis Kirk
Red Mountain (1951) with Lizabeth Scott, Arthur Kennedy, John Ireland, Neville Brand, Whit Bissell, and Jay Silverheels
Appointment with Danger (1951) with Phyllis Calvert, Jan Sterling, and Jack Webb
Branded (1950) with Mona Freeman, Charles Bickford, Selena Royle, and Tom Tully
Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950) with Wanda Hendrix, Francis Lederer, and Russ Tamblyn
Chicago Deadline (1949) with Donna Reed, June Havoc, Irene Hervey, and Arthur Kennedy
The Great Gatsby (1949) with Betty Field, Macdonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, Barry Sullivan, Shelley Winters, and Elisha Cook Jr.
Whispering Smith (1948) with Robert Preston, Donald Crisp, and William Demarest
Beyond Glory (1948) with Donna Reed, George Macready, Tom Neal, Audie Murphy, Conrad Janis, and Margaret Field
Saigon (1948) with Veronica Lake
Wild Harvest (1947) with Dorothy Lamour, Robert Preston, and Lloyd Nolan
Calcutta (1947) with Gail Russell and William Bendix
Two Years Before the Mast (1946) with Brian Donlevy, William Bendix, Barry Fitzgerald, and Albert Dekker
O.S.S. (1946) with Geraldine Fitzgerald, Patric Knowles, and John Hoyt
The Blue Dahlia (1946) with Veronica Lake, William Bendix, Howard Da Silva, and Hugh Beaumont
Salty O'Rourke (1945) with Gail Russell, William Demarest, Bruce Cabot, and Spring Byington
And Now Tomorrow (1944) with Loretta Young, Susan Hayward, Barry Sullivan, Beulah Bondi, and Cecil Kellaway
China (1943) with Loretta Young and William Bendix
Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Fred MacMurray, Franchot Tone, and Ray Milland
Lucky Jordan (1942) with Helen Walker, Sheldon Leonard, and Marie McDonald
The Glass Key (1942) with Brian Donlevy, Veronica Lake, Bonita Granville, Richard Denning, William Bendix, and Frances Gifford
This Gun for Hire (1942) with Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, and Laird Cregar
Joan of Paris (1942) with Michele Morgan, Paul Henreid, and Laird Cregar
Gangs Inc. (1941) with Joan Woodbury, Jack La Rue, and John Archer
The Black Cat (1941) with Basil Rathbone, Hugh Herbert, Broderick Crawford, Bela Lugosi, Gale Sondergaard, and Anne Gwynne
Petticoat Politics (1941) with Roscoe Karns
American Portrait (1940)
Meat and Romance (1940)
Unfinished Rainbows (1940)
Her First Romance (1940) with Julie Bishop
Victory (1940) with Fredric March
Meet the Missus (1940) with Roscoe Karns
Wildcat Bus (1940) with Fay Wray
Those Were the Days (1940) with William Holden, Bonita Granville, Richard Denning, and Phillip Terry
In Old Missouri (1940)
The Light of Western Stars (1940) with Victor Jory, Russell Hayden, Morris Ankrum, Noah Beery Jr., and Tom Tyler
Rulers of the Sea (1939) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Saturday's Millions (1933) with Robert Young, Andy Devine, and Johnny Mack Brown
Tom Brown of Culver (1932) with Ben Alexander, Andy Devine, and Eugene Pallette

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Watch Alan Ladd's 1953 war drama The Red Beret
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This page premiered March 16, 2004.
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