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Dana Andrews (January 1, 1909 – December 17, 1992) was an Americanmarker film actor.

Early life

He was born Carver Dana Andrews on a farm just outside Collinsmarker, Covington Countymarker, Mississippimarker, the third of nine children of Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister, and his wife Annis (née Speed). The family subsequently moved to Huntsville, Texasmarker, where his younger siblings (including actor Steve Forrest) were born.

Andrews attended college there and also studied business administration in Houstonmarker, working briefly as an accountant for Gulf & Western. In 1931, he travelled to Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker seeking opportunities as a singer. He worked at various jobs to earn a living, including pumping gas at a filling station in Van Nuysmarker. One of his employers believed in him and paid for his studies in opera and also at the Pasadena Playhousemarker, a theater and acting school.


Andrews signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn and nine years after arriving in Los Angeles was offered his first movie role in William Wyler's The Westerner (1940), starring Gary Cooper. He was also memorable as the gangster in the 1941 comedy Ball of Fire. In the 1943 movie adaptation of The Ox-Bow Incident with Henry Fonda, often cited as one of his best films, he played a lynching victim.

Andrews' two signature roles came as an obsessed detective in Laura (1944) opposite Gene Tierney, and as a soldier returning home from the war in the Oscar-winning 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives. He also played a crooked cop in Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), but soon after alcoholism began to derail Andrews' career, and on a couple of occasions nearly cost him his life on the highway.

By the middle 1950's, Andrews was acting almost exclusively in B movies which did little to advance his career. A handful of films Andrews starred in during his late 50s, however, contain memorable work. Two movies for Fritz Lang in 1956, While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and two for Jacques Tourneur, Night of the Demon (1957) and The Fearmakers (1958), are particularly noteworthy. These four dark exercises in minimalist film-making benefit greatly from Andrews' presence; their noir atmosphere is greatly enhanced by his ravaged face and hard eyes.

In 1963, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. Between 1969 and 1972, he appeared in a leading role as college president Tom Boswell on the NBC daytime soap opera, Bright Promise. There was an interesting coincidence in two of Andrew's films. In 1960 he and Efram Zimbalist Jr. starred in The Crowded Sky. Zimbalist played the part of a military jet pilot who crashes into a large passenger airliner that Andrews is flying. Fifteen years later, Andrews and Zimbalist appeared in Airport 1975. Andrews plays a businessman who has a heart attack while flying his aeroplane and crashes into a 747 that Zimbalist is flying.

Personal life

Andrews married Janet Murray on New Year's Eve, 1932. She died in 1935, not long after the birth of their son, David (a musician and composer who died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1964). On November 17, 1939, he married actress Mary Todd. They had three children, Katharine (born in 1942), Stephen (born in 1944), and Susan (born in 1948).

For 20 years Dana Andrews family lived in Toluca Lakemarker in the home now owned by Jonathan Winters. After his children were grown, Andrews lived out his later years with his wife Mary in the Studio Citymarker home bought from his friend, film director Jacques Tourneur (director of Canyon Passage and Night of the Demon, in which Andrews appeared).

Andrews suffered from alcoholism, which he eventually brought under control. In 1972 he appeared in a television public service advertisement on the subject.[24144]

In the last years of his life, Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease and in 1992, just a month shy of his 84th birthday, he died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia.



  1. Dana Andrews, Film Actor of 40's, Is Dead at 83 - New York Times

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