Dana Andrews: American film actor (n/a - 1992) | Biography
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Dana Andrews
American film actor

Dana Andrews

Dana Andrews
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American film actor
Is Activist Actor Film actor Television actor Trade unionist
From United States of America
Field Activism Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth Covington County
Death 17 December 1992, Los Alamitos
Siblings: Steve Forrest
The details (from wikipedia)


Carver Dana Andrews (January 1, 1909 – December 17, 1992), better known as Dana Andrews, was an American film actor. He was one of Hollywood's major stars of the 1940s, and continued acting, though generally in less prestigious roles, into the 1980s. One of his best-known roles, and the one for which he received the most praise, was as war veteran Fred Derry in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

Early life

Andrews was born on a farmstead near Collins, Mississippi, the third of 13 children of Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister, and his wife Annis (née Speed). The family subsequently moved to Huntsville, Texas, the birthplace of his younger siblings, including future Hollywood actor Steve Forrest.

Andrews attended college at Sam Houston State University and studied business administration in Houston, Texas. In 1931, he traveled to Los Angeles, California, seeking opportunities as a singer. He worked various jobs, such as working at a gas station in Van Nuys. To help Andrews study music at night, "The station owners stepped in ... with a deal: $50 a week for full-time study, in exchange for a five-year share of possible later earnings."


Andrews signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn and nine years after arriving in Los Angeles was offered his first movie role in William Wyler's The Westerner (1940), starring Gary Cooper. He was also memorable as the gangster in the 1941 comedy Ball of Fire, again teaming with Cooper. In the 1943 movie adaptation of The Ox-Bow Incident with Henry Fonda, often cited as one of his best films, he played a lynching victim. His signature roles came as an obsessed detective in Laura (1944) opposite Gene Tierney, and as a U.S. Army Air Force officer returning home from the war in the Oscar-winning 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives. Both films became classics. In 1945, he co-starred with Jeanne Crain in the musical State Fair. In 1947, he was voted the 23rd most popular star in the U.S.

He played a brutal cop in Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), also with Tierney. Around this time, alcoholism began to derail Andrews' career, and on a couple of occasions it nearly cost him his life on the highway. By the middle 1950s, Andrews was acting almost exclusively in B-movies. A handful of films he starred in during the late 1950s, however, contain memorable work. Two movies for Fritz Lang in 1956, While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and two for Jacques Tourneur, Night of the Demon (1957) and The Fearmakers (1958), are well regarded.

From 1952 to 1954, Andrews starred in the radio series I Was a Communist for the FBI about the experiences of Matt Cvetic, an FBI informer who infiltrated the Communist Party. In 1963, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. Andrews later appeared in a leading role as college president Tom Boswell on the NBC daytime soap opera Bright Promise from its premiere on September 29, 1969 until March 1971. In 1960 he and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. starred in The Crowded Sky. Fifteen years later, Andrews and Zimbalist appeared in Airport 1975, Andrews playing a businessman pilot who has a heart attack and crashes his plane into a 747 that Zimbalist is flying.

In the 1970s, Andrews was active in real estate, telling a newspaper reporter that he had "one hotel that brings [him] in $200,000 a year."

Personal life

Andrews married Janet Murray on December 31, 1932. Their son, David (1933–1964), was a musician and composer who died from a cerebral hemorrhage. Murray died in 1935 of pneumonia. On November 17, 1939, Andrews married actress Mary Todd, by whom he had three children: Katharine, Stephen, and Susan. For two decades, the family lived in Toluca Lake, California.

Andrews eventually brought his alcoholism under control and worked actively with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. In 1972, he appeared in a television public service advertisement on the subject.

He spent his final years living at the John Douglas French Center for Alzheimer's Disease in Los Alamitos, California.


In the last years of his life, Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease. In 1992, two weeks before his 84th birthday, he died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. His wife died in 2003 aged 86.

Partial filmography

  • Lucky Cisco Kid (film debut, 1940) as Sergeant Dunn
  • Sailor's Lady (1940) as Scrappy Wilson
  • Kit Carson (1940) as Captain John C. Fremont
  • The Westerner (1940) as Sergeant Dunn
  • Tobacco Road (1941) as Captain Tim
  • Belle Starr (1941) as Maj. Thomas Crail
  • Swamp Water (1941) as Ben
  • Ball of Fire (1941) as Joe Lilac
  • Berlin Correspondent (1942) as Bill Roberts
  • Crash Dive (1943) as Lt. Cmdr. Dewey Connors
  • The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) as Donald Martin
  • The North Star (1943) as Kolya Simonov
  • December 7th (1943) as Ghost of US Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor
  • Up in Arms (1944) as Joe
  • The Purple Heart (1944) as Capt. Harvey Ross
  • Wing and a Prayer (1944) as Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton
  • Laura (1944) as Det. Lt. Mark McPherson
  • State Fair (1945) as Pat Gilbert
  • Fallen Angel (1945) as Eric Stanton
  • A Walk in the Sun (1945) as Sgt. Bill Tyne
  • Canyon Passage (1946) as Logan Stuart
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) as Fred Derry
  • Boomerang (1947) as State's Atty. Henry L. Harvey
  • Night Song (1947) as Dan
  • Daisy Kenyon (1947) as Dan O'Mara
  • The Iron Curtain (1948) as Igor Gouzenko
  • Deep Waters (1948) as Hod Stillwell
  • No Minor Vices (1948) as Perry Ashwell
  • The Forbidden Street (1949) as Henry Lambert / Gilbert Lauderdale
  • Sword in the Desert (1949) as Mike Dillon
  • My Foolish Heart (1949) as Walt Dreiser
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) as Det. Mark Dixon
  • Edge of Doom (1950) as Father Thomas Roth
  • Sealed Cargo (1951) as Pat Bannon
  • The Frogmen (1951) as Jake Flannigan
  • I Want You (1951) as Martin Greer
  • Assignment – Paris! (1952) as Jimmy Race
  • Elephant Walk (1954) as Dick Carver
  • Duel in the Jungle (1954) as Scott Walters
  • Three Hours to Kill (1954) as Jim Guthrie
  • Smoke Signal (1955) as Brett Halliday
  • Strange Lady in Town (1955) as Dr. Rourke O'Brien
  • Comanche (1956) as Jim Read
  • While the City Sleeps (1956) as Edward Mobley
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) as Tom Garrett
  • Spring Reunion (1957) as Fred Davis
  • Zero Hour! (1957) as Lt. Ted Stryker
  • Night of the Demon (1957) as John Holden
  • The Fearmakers (1958) as Alan Eaton
  • Enchanted Island (1958) as Abner 'Ab' Bedford
  • The Crowded Sky (1960) as Dick Barnett
  • Madison Avenue (1961) as Clint Lorimer
  • The Satan Bug (1965) as Gen. Williams
  • In Harm's Way (1965) as Admiral Broderick
  • Crack in the World (1965) as Dr. Stephen Sorenson
  • Brainstorm (1965) as Cort Benson
  • Town Tamer (1965) as Tom Rosser
  • Berlin, Appointment for the Spies (1965) as Col. Lancaster
  • The Loved One (1965) as Gen. Buck Brinkman
  • Battle of the Bulge (1965) as Col. Pritchard
  • Johnny Reno (1966) as Johnny Reno
  • The Frozen Dead (1966) as Dr. Norberg
  • Hot Rods to Hell (1967) as Tom Phillips
  • Supercolpo da 7 miliardi (1967) as George Kimmins
  • The Cobra (1967) as Capt. Kelly
  • I diamanti che nessuno voleva rubare (1967) as Il gioielliere
  • The Devil's Brigade (1968) as Brig. Gen. Walter Naylor
  • The Failing of Raymond (1971) as Allan McDonald
  • Innocent Bystanders (1972) as Blake
  • Airport 1975 (1974) as Scott Freeman
  • Take a Hard Ride (1975) as Morgan
  • The Last Tycoon (1976) as Red Ridingwood
  • Good Guys Wear Black (1978) as Edgar Harolds
  • Born Again (1978) as Tom Phillips
  • The Pilot (1980) as Randolph Evers
  • Prince Jack (1985) as The Cardinal (final film role)

Television credits

  • The Twilight Zone: "No Time Like the Past" (1963) as Paul Driscoll
  • Night Gallery: "The Different Ones" (1971) as Paul Koch
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: "Assault on the Tower" (1978) as Townley
  • Falcon Crest (TV series, two episodes) (1982/1983) as Elliot McKay

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1948 Lux Radio Theatre The Luck of the Irish
1952 Hallmark Playhouse The Secret Road
1953 Theater of Stars The Token

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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