Friday, January 23, 2009
Alan Ladd's Westerns
Alan Walbridge Ladd (September 3, 1913 – January 29, 1964) was an American film actor.
Clinical depression, which Ladd had inherited from his mother, combined with age and aggravated by alcoholism, began to affect both his appearance and his personal life. In 1962, he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound that was explained in various ways at various times. In 1963, Ladd co-starred in one of the biggest film productions of his career, The Carpetbaggers, not as a leading man but as a supporting actor. He would not live to see its release.
In 1964, Ladd died in Palm Springs, California, of an acute overdose of alcohol and sedatives at the age of 50, a probable suicide. He was entombed in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
He was famous for his emotionless demeanor and small stature. Reports of his height vary from 5'5" to 5'6" (1.65 to 1.68 m), with 5'5" (1.65 m) being the most generally accepted today.
He was in 92 films starting out in 1932, but for the first dozen, including CITIZEN KANE (1940), his roles were uncredited walk ons. His most famous Western role was that of the drifter gunslinger, Shane; perhaps his best work. But he did appear in 14 westerns during his career:
1) THE LIGHT OF THE WESTERN STARS (1948) as Danny, the ranch hand.
2) WHISPERING SMITH (1948) as Luke "Whispering" Smith.
3) BRANDED (1950) as Choyo.
4) RED MOUNTAIN (1951) as Capt. Brett Sherwood.
5) THE IRON MISTRESS (1952) as Jim Bowie.
6. SHANE (1953) as Shane.
7. SASKATCHEWAN (1954) as Thomas O'Rourke.
8. DRUM BEAT (1954) as Johnny MacKay.
9. SANTIAGO (1956) as Caleb Adams
10. THE BIG LAND (1957) as Chad Morgan.
11. THE PROUD REBEL (1958) as Peter Van Hoek.
12. GUNS OF THE TIMBERLAND (1966) as Jim Hadley.
13. ONE FOOT IN HELL (1960) as Mitch Garrett.
14. THE CARPETBAGGERS (1964) as Nevada Smith.