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Dana Andrews 1909-1992

Country : Covington County, MS
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1909-01-01
Date of death : 1992-12-17
Cause of Death : Pneumonia

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Laura Dana Andrews earnest bw

Dana Andrews (1, Jan, 1909 – 17, Dec, 1992)

Early life

He was born Carver Dana Andrews on a farm just outside of Collins, Covington County, Mississippi, the third of nine children of Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister, and his wife Annis (née Speed). The family subsequently moved to Huntsville, Texas, where his younger siblings (including actor Steve Forrest) were born.

Andrews attended college there and also studied business administration in Houston, working briefly as an accountant for Gulf & Western. In 1931, he travelled to Los Angeles, California seeking opportunities as a singer. He worked at various jobs to earn a living, including pumping gas at a filling station in Van Nuys. One of his employers believed in him and paid for his studies in opera and also at the Pasadena Playhouse, a prestigious theater and acting school.


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. 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.

Andrews' two signature roles came as an obsessed detective in Laura (1944) opposite Gene Tierney, and as a soldier returning home from the war in the Oscar-winning 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives. He gave a finely calibrated performance in Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), but by the 1950s, alcoholism had derailed Andrews' career, and on a couple of occasions nearly cost him his life on the highway. He was forced into supporting roles and character parts in B-movies, albeit good ones (he once said that he'd made more money in real estate than he'd ever made as an actor), an aspect of a varied career mentioned in the lyrics of "Science Fiction, Double Feature" in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1963, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. Between 1969 and 1972, he appeared in a leading role as college president Tom Boswell on the NBC daytime soap opera, Bright Promise. In 1972, after four years of sobriety, he became one of the first celebrities to appear in a public service announcement for AA.

Personal life

Andrews married Janet Murray on New Year's Eve, 1932. She died in 1935, not long after the birth of their son, David (a musician and composer who died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1964). On November 17, 1939, he married actress Mary Todd. They had three children, Katharine (born in 1942), Stephen (born in 1944), and Susan (born in 1948). For 20 years the family lived in Toluca Lake in the home now owned by Jonathan Winters. After his children were grown, Andrews lived out his later years with his wife Mary in the Studio City home bought from his friend, film director Jacques Tourneur (director of Canyon Passage and Curse of the Demon, in which Andrews appeared).

Andrews suffered from alcoholism, which he eventually brought under control. In 1972 he appeared in a television public service advertisement on the subject.

In the last years of his life, Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease and in 1992, just a month shy of his 84th birthday, he died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia at the age of 83.


  • The Westerner (film debut, 1940)
  • Lucky Cisco Kid (1940)
  • Sailor's Lady (1940)
  • Kit Carson (1940)
  • Tobacco Road (1941)
  • Belle Starr (1941)
  • Ball of Fire (1941)
  • Swamp Water (1941)
  • Berlin Correspondent (1942)
  • Crash Dive (1943)
  • The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
  • The North Star (1943 film)
  • December 7 (1943)
  • Up in Arms (1944)
  • The Purple Heart (1944)
  • Wing and a Prayer (1944)
  • Laura (1944)
  • State Fair (1945)
  • Fallen Angel (1945)
  • A Walk in the Sun (1945)
  • Canyon Passage (1946)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  • Daisy Kenyon (1947)
  • Boomerang (1947)
  • Night Song (1948)
  • The Iron Curtain (1948)
  • No Minor Vices (1948)
  • Deep Waters (1948)
  • Britannia Mews (1949)
  • My Foolish Heart (1949)
  • Sword in the Desert (1949)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
  • Edge of Doom (1950)
  • Sealed Cargo (1951)
  • The Frogmen (1951)
  • I Want You (1951)
  • Assignment: Paris (1952)
  • Elephant Walk (1954)
  • Three Hours to Kill (1954)
  • Duel in the Jungle (1954)
  • Strange Lady in Town (1955)
  • Smoke Signal (film) (1955)
  • While the City Sleeps (1956)
  • Comanche (1956)
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)
  • Zero Hour! (1957)
  • Spring Reunion (1957)
  • Night of the Demon (1957)
  • Enchanted Island (1958)
  • The Crowded Sky (1960)
  • Madison Avenue (1962)
  • In Harm's Way (1965)
  • The Satan Bug (1965)
  • Brainstorm (1965)
  • Crack in the World (1965)
  • Town Tamer (1965)
  • Battle of the Bulge (1965)
  • The Loved One (film) (1965)
  • Johnny Reno (1966)
  • Hot Rods to Hell(1967)
  • Cobra II (1967)
  • The Devil's Brigade (1968)
  • Innocent Bystanders (1972)
  • Airport 1975 (1974)
  • Take a Hard Ride (1976)
  • The Last Tycoon (1976)
  • Good Guys Wear Black (1978)
  • A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud (1978)
  • Born Again (1978)
  • The Pilot (1979)
  • Prince Jack (1984)


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