Legendary actress, Joan Blondell, was born Rose Joan Blondell on Aug 30, 1906 in New York City, NY. Blondell appeared in over 150 films and tv shows during the course of her 50+ year screen career. Her best known films include The Public Enemy (1931), Blonde Crazy (1931), Union Depot (1932), Footlight Parade (1933), Topper Returns (1941), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), The Blue Veil (Academy Award nomination, 1951), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971) and Grease (1978). On television, she made guest appearances on popular shows including The Lucy Show, My Three Sons and The Twilight Zone, and she co-starred on the ABC western series Here Come the Brides opposite singer Bobby Sherman and actor/singer David Soul. Blondell died at the age of 73 on Dec 25, 1979 in Santa Monica, CA from leukemia and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Glendale) Cemetery in Glendale, CA.
In the glittering prosperity that preceded the Wall Street crash of 1929, Joan Blondell almost despaired of a permanent career on stage or screen and took such unlikely jobs as that of clerk in a New York bookshop. Less than two years later, as the world depression deepened, she appeared in a long string of Hollywood films, and freely admitted she was "Warner Brothers' work horse."
Christened Rosebud Blondell by a somewhat sentimental mother, she came from a family of vaudevillians and appeared on stage with them in her early years. Bit parts in Broadway plays were few and far between and it wasn't until she landed a lead role in Penny Arcade (1930) that a Warner scout noticed her and offered her a Hollywood tryout, along with another youngster in the same cast, a stocky little actor named James Cagney. Her feature film debut was in 1930 in Office Wife and, while she did little but look saucy and waggle her 'rear end' attractively as she crossed the screen, it proved enough to elicit whistles and other signs of approval from audiences and to convince Warners that they had something pretty good on their hands.
While she never became a huge Hollywood star, Blondell remained among moviedom's most popular featured players for a good 12 years. A complete professional, she almost always played loyal, breezy, fast-talking and slightly cynical blondes in films that ranged from The Public Enemy (1931) to Cry Havoc (1943). It was said that she never once gave a bad performance.
After marriages to three husbands -- cinematographer/photographer George Scott Barnes (1933-1936, one child), singer/actor Dick Powell (1936-1944, one child) and producer/entrepreneur Mike Todd (1947-1950) -- she found herself penniless, her looks gone and her services no longer in demand. With great courage she fought back via television, off-Broadway stage productions and small parts in movies like The Cincinnati Kid (as a card-dealer, 1965) and The Phynx (1970).
Her first novel, "Center Door Fancy" which was highly praised, was published in 1973.(Source: available at Amazon The Movie Makers [please note: the book has some data errors which have been corrected in this article by CMH]).
BLONDELL / CAGNEY FILMS:
Joan Blondell and James Cagney starred in seven films together: Sinners' Holiday (1930), Other Men's Women (1931), The Public Enemy (1931), Blonde Crazy (1931), The Crowd Roars (1932), Footlight Parade (1933), and He was Her Man (1934).
BLONDELL / FARRELL FILMS:
Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell starred in eight films together: Three on a Match (1932), Havana Widows (1933), I've Got Your Number (1934), Kansas City Princess (1934), Traveling Saleslady (1935), We're in the Money (1935), Miss Pacific Fleet (1935), and Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936). .
HONORS and AWARDS:.
Although Blondell was nominated for one Oscar, she never won a competitive Academy Award.
|1951||Best Supporting Actress||The Blue Veil (1951)||Annie Rawlins||Nominated|
She was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Joan Blondell's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #34 on Feb 10, 1937.
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All film fans have their cinematic version of comfort food and mine is the musicals of choreographer Busby Berkeley. These busy, bubbly productions full of wit, beauty and excitement are pleasant to have on in the background, but deserving of the most devoted attention. I’m especially fond of ... Read full article
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Mary Keaton, aka Mary Bernard: [Musingly] I wonder.
Ann Nelson: Oh, Michael! I thought I was going to lose you because you were a rich man and now you haven't got a quarter! Isn't it wonderful?
Myrtle: I'll be seein' ya around. Don't do anything while I'm gone that you couldn't do on a bicycle.
read more quotes from Joan Blondell...