Classic Movie Hub (CMH)
 
 

Job Actress
Years active 1927-1979
Known for Sexy wisecracking blondes, gold diggers, Warner Bros' pre-Code staple
Top Roles Aunt Sissy, Zeena Krumbein, Lady Fingers, Crystal St. Clair, Helen 'Duckie' Childers
Top GenresComedy, Drama, Romance, Film Adaptation, Musical, Crime
Top TopicsPre-Code Cinema, Book-Based, Based on Play
Top Collaborators , , , (Producer)
Shares birthday with Raymond Massey, Shirley Booth, Fred MacMurray  see more..

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Joan Blondell Overview:

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.

BIO:

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:

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Although Blondell was nominated for one Oscar, she never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1951Best Supporting ActressThe Blue Veil (1951)Annie RawlinsNominated
.

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.

BlogHub Articles:

BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD starring Shirley Booth, and special guest star Katharine Hepburn

By Caftan Woman on Jul 25, 2016 From Caftan Woman

Two actresses born on August 30th share a career and two roles. Both were born in New York City and started Broadway careers in the 1920s. One was whisked away to Hollywood in 1930 and appeared in over 90 films. The other only made a handful of movies, the first one in 1952. Shirley Booth ... Read full article


Blondie Johnson (1933) with and Chester Morris

By Orson De Welles on Oct 1, 2015 From Classic Film Freak

Share This! Here she is…Miss Public Enemy No. 1! Though acclaimed by most at the film that catapulted star to the national scene, Blondie Johnson is at best an average movie. Though billed as the next entry in Warner BrothersÂ’ long line of gangster classics and containing hints a... Read full article


Smarty (1934) with

By Orson De Welles on Aug 6, 2015 From Classic Film Freak

Share This! What well-known lawyer just secured a divorce for a well-known woman – just married that well-known wife? was one of the stalwart stars of the 1930s, especially the pre-code years. Never one to cause a scene (at least at the studio) she often times did over a dozen fi... Read full article


Smarty (1934) with

By Orson De Welles on Aug 6, 2015 From Classic Film Freak

Share This! What well-known lawyer just secured a divorce for a well-known woman – just married that well-known wife? was one of the stalwart stars of the 1930s, especially the pre-code years. Never one to cause a scene (at least at the studio) she often times did over a dozen fi... Read full article


The Amazing Mr. Williams (1939) with Melvyn Douglas and

By Orson De Welles on Jun 11, 2015 From Classic Film Freak

Share This! 1939 is often lauded as HollywoodÂ’s greatest year, and in a year highlighted by such films as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, it is not surprising that a rather smallish film like The Amazing Mr. Williams escapes attention. One of three ... Read full article


See all articles

Joan Blondell Quotes:

Alice Hughes: People don't marry crooners. They only divorce them.


Schatzi: Look, she doesn't have a man - you'd think she'd be afraid of catching cold.


Bunny Watson: [as she is about to go meet Mike] How do I look?
Peg Costello: Too good for him.


read more quotes from Joan Blondell...



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Featuring
(1941)
Fri. 22 Sep. 04:45 PM EST

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Best Supporting Actress Oscar 1951






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Grauman's Imprints

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Joan Blondell on the
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Joan Blondell Facts
In 1927, while closing the library she worked at, she was raped by a police officer. He told her he would kill her if she told anyone. She kept her silence for decades, until finally telling her grown daughter. She went public with this in her memoirs.

Her granddaughter Stephanie Powell is married to Sean Murphy, owner of a surf travel company.

She has a grandson Scott from son Norman. Scott has a step-son, David, and two grandchildren, Zander and Dakota.

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