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Dana Andrews

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Brooding, sensitive and emotionally vulnerable before such characteristics were prized among Hollywood's leading men, Dana Andrews was never nominated for any Academy Awards but nevertheless became famous for his average-Joe characters of the 1940s.

Andrews began his career playing a variety of supporting roles -- from a gangster in Howard Hawks' comedy BALL OF FIRE (1941), to a falsely accused cattle thief facing a lynch mob in William Wellman's THE OX-BOW INCIDENT (1943).   Although independent producer Samuel Goldwyn originally signed Andrews to a long-term contract in the late 1930s, Goldwyn was unable to keep Andrews sufficiently busy with his own studio's output and eventually sold half of Andrews' contract to 20th Century-Fox where he would eventually make the majority (if not always the best) of his films of the 1940s.

One of Andrews' first opportunities to play the leading man came in Otto Preminger's film noir masterpiece LAURA (1944), co-starring Gene Tierney. Andrews plays Mark McPherson, a detective trying to solve what he believes is the murder of a beautiful woman.

See the Original Trailer for LAURA (1944) (a .MOV file courtesy AMC).

(For help opening the multimedia files, visit the plug-ins page.)

Less successful was FALLEN ANGEL (1945), another Otto Preminger mystery movie in which Andrews marries a rich girl (Alice Faye) to procure the money he needs to woo the true object of his affections -- a waitress played by Linda Darnell. Murder soon enters the picture however, and Andrews becomes the prime suspect. This adaptation of Marty Holland's novel also features fine supporting character actors like Charles Bickford, Anne Revere and John Carradine, but it was a picture Andrews never wanted to make and proved to be Alice Faye's final screen appearance.

In a change of pace from his mostly tough-guy roles, 20th Century-Fox cast Andrews as an easy-going reporter charmed by wide-eyed country girl Jeanne Crain in Rodgers & Hammerstein's STATE FAIR (1945), the only musical the legendary Broadway composer and lyricist team wrote directly for the silver screen.  Although both Andrews and Crain's singing voices were dubbed by trained vocalists for the film, their musical co-stars Dick Haymes and Vivian Blaine carried their own tunes, including such classics as "It's a Grand Night for Singing" and "All I Owe Ioway."

In A WALK IN THE SUN (1945), Andrews plays a sergeant who takes over command of his American infantry platoon in Italy after the commanding lieutenant is killed.

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Last updated: October 19, 2010.
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