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Dana Andrews Overview:

Legendary actor, Dana Andrews, was born Carver Dana Andrews on Jan 1, 1909 in Covington County, MS. Andrews died at the age of 84 on Dec 17, 1992 in Los Alamitos, CA and was cremated and his ashes given to family or friend.

Early Life

Carver Dana Andrews was born on January 1st, 1909 to large Baptist family on a farm just outside Covington County, Mississippi. He was the third of nine children born to Minister Charles Forrest and stay at home mother Annis. His younger brother, Steve Forrest, would also grow to become an actor as well. During his most formative years the Andrews family moved to Louisville, Kentucky before finally settling in Huntsville Texas. It was there that Andrews received his basic education, graduating from Huntsville High School in 1926. He then went on to attend Sam Houston State Teachers College where he studied business administration. During his time in higher education, Andrews also played for the football teams and developed an interest in acting, appearing in many of the school's staged productions. After three years at Sam Houston, he left his studies to take a job as an accountant with the Gulf Corporation in Austin. Although Andrews found he enjoyed acting while in college, he feared pursuing such as career would be considered disrespectful to his fairly traditional Baptist parents. However. He remained at the job while quickly becoming increasingly dissatisfied. Finally, after two years with the company, Andrews decided he had enough, packed his bags and hitchhiked all the Hollywood to pursue a career in entertainment.

Early Career

His first venture into the world of acting was not so successful. Like any aspiring actor, the first thing Andrews did when he got to Hollywood was make a stop at the studios. However, with little experience under his belt and no connections to help him along the way, the studios had no interest in the earnest young actor. He was then turned down for an internship at the Pasadena Playhouse. For the next few years, Andrews made a living by work various manual labor jobs while taking singing and elocution lessons at night. He married his first wife, Janet, in 1932. Sadly, only three years later, she would die of pneumonia. In a bit of cosmic irony, that year he was finally accepted as an intern to the Pasadena Playhouse. He remained at the Playhouse for years, honing his skills and never loosing track of his true dream: the big screen.

Film Career

After years of stage work, Andrews finally got a chance to realize his dream: a contract with a major studio. In 1938 he signed a long-term contract with Samuel Goldwyn. However, no roles were immediately available for the earnest actor and Andrews instead spent the next year back at the playhouse. Thanks to his shiny new contract with Goldwyn, Andrews was now offered the leading parts that had previously escaped him. During this time Goldwyn sold half of Andrew's  contract to 20th Century Fox. In 1940 Goldwyn finally put Andrews in a film with a supporting role in Lucky Cisco Kid.  Later that year he also appeared with Gary Cooper in the William Wyler western aptly titled The Westerner. He worked with Cooper again in 1941, playing gangster Joe Lilac in the Howard Hawks comedy Ball of Fire with Barbara Stanwyck and nn 1943 Andrews starred opposite Henry Fonda in the William Wellman western The Ox-Bow Incident. In the film he played Donald Martin, a young cattle rustler unjustly lynched after being suspected of murdering and stealing from a local rancher. The next year Andrews starred opposite Gene Tierney as the obsessive Detective Mark McPherson in the Otto Preminger noir Laura. The film was great critical hits of the year and didn't do too shabby at the box-office either. That same year, Andrews also starred in the films Up In Arms, The Purple Heart and Wing and a Prayer. The next year he demonstrated his great acting range and appeared in the film that were as different as different cane be: The musical romance State Fair, the noir-thriller Fallen Angel, and the war picture A Walk in the Sun.

In 1946 Andrews co-starred in what has now become one of his most signature roles: The Best Years of Our Lives. The William Wyler film follows three World War II service men, played by Andrews, Fredric March, and Harold Russell, as they try to readjust to civilian life after returning home to their families. Andrews portrayed Fred Derry, a young servicemen whose return to his new-wife and hometown does not go as expected. The film was massive hit, grossing over 23 millions dollars at the box-office as well as becoming one of the best-reviewed films of the year, walking away with nine Academy Awards including the Best Picture, Best Writing, Best Director and Best Editing. Although Andrews was not nominated for his performance, he nonetheless received a great deal of praise for his work in the film.  The next year he would star in three films Boomerang!, Night Song and Daisy Kenyon.

Decline and Recovery

Andrews continued to play relatively good roles for the rest of the 1940s. However, soon his drinking problem would derail his career. In 1950 he reteamed with Tierney and Preminger for Where the Sidewalk Ends, this time playing crooked cop Detective Mark Dixon. In 1952 he began work on a radio series, I was a Communist for the FBI, which he worked on through 1954. By the mid-1950s, however, Andrew's alcoholism took a turn for the worse. He had already lost some higher profile jobs due to his fondness for the drink and by 1955 was relegated to mostly B-films such as Comanche, Spring Reunion and Enchanted Island. Despite his spiraling career, he did mange to star in some critical hits, such as While the City Sleeps and Night of the Demon. He returned to the stage and toured with his second wife in a traveling production of Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie. He then joined the cast of Two for the Seesaw on Broadway after Hnery Fonda's run was over.

By the 1960 Andrews began working mostly on television and on the stage.  He remained on Broadway to star in hit plays such as A Man for All Seasons, The Odd Couple and Plaza Suite. His first TV appearance was on 1958 episode of Playhouse 90. He continued to appear on other high profile television series such as General Electric Theatre, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, The DuPont Theater, The Twilight Zone and The Dick Powell Show. During this time Andrews also began to clean up his act and get help for alcoholism and by the mid-1960s Andrew's had kicked the habit. He regained the respect of Hollywood, evident by his reign as the President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1963 to 1965. Soon after he was seen on the big screen again. In 1965 he made somewhat of a comeback by appearing in a total of eight films, including the Otto Preminger war-time drama In Harms Way with John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, and Patricia Neal and Battle of the Bulge with Henry Fonda and Robert Ryan.

Later Career

Now with his life under control, Andrews would spend the next couple of decades rotating between film and television. He appeared on well-known series such as Family Affair and The Name of the Game, while also appearing in the occasional film, like Airport 1975. In 1972 Andrews became one of the first actors to publically speak out about his alcoholism and against drunk driving, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the rest of the decade Andrews made the occasional stage appearance while remaining on the silver and small screen.  His final TV appearance was on the hit prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest while his final screen appearance was in 1985 with the independent drama Prince Jack. He was then forced into retirement, as he started to develop the Alzheimer's disease. He spent the rest of his retirement in Los Alamitos, California with his wife, Mary. Dana Andrews died of congestive heart failure on December 17th, 1992. He was 83 years old.

 

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).

HONORS and AWARDS:

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Andrews was never nominated for an Academy Award.

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Dana Andrews Quotes:

Dr. Julian Karswell: Ha ha, snakes and ladders. An English game, you wouldn't know it. You see, if you land at the foot of the ladder you climb all the way to the top. But if you land on the head of the snake, you slide all the way down again. Funny thing, I always preferred sliding down the snakes to climbing up the ladders. You're a doctor of psychology, you ought to know the answer to that.
Dr. John Holden: Maybe you're a good loser.
Dr. Julian Karswell: I'm not, you know. Not a bit of it.


Mark McPherson: I suspect no one, and I suspect everyone.


Tom Garrett: [to Spencer] It's a weird, crazy idea, but that's the reason it intrigues me.


read more quotes from Dana Andrews...



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Dana Andrews Facts
Spent the last years of his life in a nursing facility in Los Alamitos, California due to Alzheimer's Disease. Fellow actor and long-time friend Burt Lancaster was visiting Andrews when Lancaster suffered the paralyzing stroke from which he never recovered and lead to his death 2 years later.

Suffered from Alzheimer's Disease in his last years.

Sons: David Andrews (1934-1964) & Stephen Andrews (b. 1944). Daughters: Katharine Andrews (b. 1942) & Susan Andrews (b. 1948).

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