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Joan Blondell : Classic Movie Hub (CMH)
Classic Movie Hub (CMH)

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

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.


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]).


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).


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). .



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:

On DVD: and Glenda Farrell in Kansas City Princess (1934)

By KC on Jun 19, 2018 From Classic Movies

Throughout decades of movie fandom I’ve seen astonishing sights and transcendent works of art, and yet, if you asked me what I want to see at any given moment, I would probably ask to watch Glenda Farrell and doing stuff. Whatever production they are in, they never let you down, ... Read full article

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 Brothers? 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

See all articles

Joan Blondell Quotes:

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

[behind the lunch counter at the railroad yard, gum-chewing waitress Marie hears a train whistle - her cue to get ready to meet her boyfriend, Bill]
Marie: [taking off her apron] Anything else you guys want?
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: Yeah, gimme a big slice a' you on toast, and some French-fried potatoes on the side.
Marie: [taking out her compact and powdering her face] Listen, baby, I'm A.P.O.
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: [to the other railroad worker] What does she mean, A.P.O.?
Marie: Ain't Puttin' Out! Besides, I'm Bill White's girl, and I'm a one-man woman.
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: That's a hot one, Marie.
Marie: Whattaya mean "that's a hot one"?
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: Didn't I see you down ta Fishbeck's Dance Hall with Elmer Brown?
Marie: Oh yeah. Elmer's a kind of a cousin of mine.
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: Oh! Some cousins are sure affectionate.
Marie: Nevertheless, he's my distant cousin.
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: That's her story, and she's gonna stick to it.
Marie: It's the story Bill's gonna hear unless you guys do some broadcasting of your own.
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: Well, don't worry. Not me. I ain't gonna get in no trouble.
Marie: [walking toward the door] Then stop shootin' off your big mouth.
Railroad worker at Lunch Counter: Hey Marie. Wouldja gimme a flock a' donuts with small holes?
Marie: [at the door, hand on hip] If there're any small holes around here, I'll eat 'em myself.
[the men laugh as she leaves the diner]

Peg Costello: The traditional Thanksgiving song? One of them is "Over the River and Through the Woods"!

read more quotes from Joan Blondell...

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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 the UK sitcom "Dad's Army" (1968), Private Pike has a crush on her and has dozens of pictures of her on his bedroom walls.

Attended the Professional Children's School in New York City.

According to the July 24, 1944, issue of Time Magazine, Blondell divorced Dick Powell on the grounds of cruelty alleging that "when she objected to the incessant coming and going of guests, Powell crooned: 'If you don't like it, you can get the hell out.'".

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