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Photolife Of Alan Ladd

The story of Alan Ladd is a drama of one battle after another, of a buffeting, tough climb up the stairway to fame. There were many small and valuable successes—more failures. Alan had a brutal time of it—until a really brutal role catapulted him into the Olympian heights of success. When Paramount needed a handsome young killer to play opposite Veronica Lake in “This Gun For Hire,” they gave him the role and made a long term deal. This first picture starring Alan Ladd made movie history. It also made Ladd. Alan Ladd and movie audiences can never forget the scene on the stairs in “This Gun For Hire” when he found a child playing after he had killed a man. You will remember the terrible, tense moment when Alan seemed to hang between killing the child . . . and returning her ball.

Back in 1932 when Alan was a senior at North Hollywood High School he won the above acclaim. Significantly, he played the role of Koko, Lord High Executioner!

Though a good beginning toward his preferred goal, the “Mikado” did not lead to immediate acting. . Alan went to work on the Sun Record as a cub reporter. He was then twenty years old. He has always had a yen to play the part of a newspaper man in pictures. When the newspaper changed management, Alan left it.

. . . and concentrated on the cafe which he had run on the side. The restaurant was Alan’s baby. He owned it. He operated it and worked behind its counter, too. This was wonderful experience but it wasn’t getting him anywhere—in his consuming ambition.

Then followed a job selling cash registers, a brief and unsuccessful period of picture training for Universal. Finally he landed at Warners as a grip. Because he had been a high diver Alan got high work. Then he fell twenty feet from a scaffold.

Luckily he wasn’t hurt, but that did it. He quit and enrolled at Ben Bard School For Acting. He had little money and what he had was soon gone so his sole diet became doughnuts and coffee. Today he can’t even look at a doughnut.

Radio brought him a wide range of roles, but not much money. One weekly program which shared revenue among the cast netted him fifty cents a week. When things looked blackest a local Los Angeles station gave him a spot as a one-man show.

The experience was invaluable. Came the angel of his life. Sue Carol, an actor’s agent and former star, heard him and was so impressed she sent for him. She signed him immediately. Two weeks later be made his screen debut at Paramount.

Success was fast coming and so was happiness. On March 15, 1942, Alan married Sue Carol. He went into the Army Air Corps and won his corporal’s chevrons. However, his fan mail kept right on flooding in, reaching record proportions.

His greatest disappointment came when he was medically discharged. Back to pictures, still acting as his own double, he dived from a bridge, played with real fire. Asked how he practiced for such scenes he said, “I just go ahead and do it.”

The Ladd career continued to skyrocket. His home in Los Feliz Hills was a place of warmth, understanding and comfort. His faithful partner. Sue, whose unflagging effort and unshakable belief in her husband brought him stardom, stood squarely behind Alan in all that he did. On April 21, 1943, a junior partner was added to the Ladd-Carol team—a little daughter that they named Alana. It is symbolic of the marriage that the name Alana is the Celtic for beloved. So now the circle is complete.



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