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Biography of Alan Ladd
Not since the arrival of Marlene Dietrich a decade ago has a Para mount player received a more en thusiastic reception in an introduc tory lead than ,that afforded Alan Ladd upon the showing of his first Paramount film, "This Gun for-Hire." He is the only member of the bad boy fraternity who can claim outstanding good looks.
Ladd's story is. ithat . of a "home town" Hollywood * boy who became screen-struck by accident and. there
after battled along, accumulating a, string of boosters > through hi? work, but failing to get a role'in which he
could show his stuff until Paramount i needed a handsome, young killer, to I appear opposite Veronica Lake in
"This Gun for Hire," found him ideal ] in a , test and gave him, not only'the role, but a long 'term contract even before the picture was released. .
Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Ark., one September 3, the son oi^a public
accountant of the same name. When he was seven, his' parents moved to Alhambra, Calif., and later to North Hollywood which was "away out in >ho country" in ' the San Fernando Valley, which in recent years has be come the home of so many screen stars. The boy went to North Holly wood High School, where he became a track'star, he was even a greater awimming star'and still holds the FO yard free-stvle intersoholastic record. Besides swimming','for his high school.
competed in,!&m&tciir.meets for the> Hollvwood Athletic Club, becomirT Wept Coast diving champion; Ladd went to work on. the Sari .Fernando Vallev Sun-Record and. at the end of a year, was the advertising manager. (He quit his newspaper job and applied
for studio work. ' , Wanting to be close enough to ob serve how established stars worked and how directors functioned, he sought work on actual productions. Unskilled, he "became a .labourer. His boss? put Lac]d-itoi work ringing up scaffoldings in the rafters for lights. All his duties were in advance of a company's work--preparations. For two vears he worked on sound stages all right but never while a company was shooting1 on that stage. Those two years of steady work did, how ever. not him ample sa,vings to enroll, at the Ben Bard school, where he studied for a vear. Coming out of the school, the*;"youth practically <?tarvnd to death looking for a chance, to act. '
About tlio time when he had hit. the bottom and was about to give up his acting intentions, he got a chance on a radio programme at KFWB, local Los Angeles station, The result was that he worked there two years as the onlv stock actor ainder salary tothe °tat*on. He appeared on from 15 to 20 show? a week, playing, all sorts of roles. "? It was valuable experience, nermltting him to develop a. fine sppaking voice.
On one programme, after two years o? constant work, Ladd played a man of 60 and the latter's son as a dual
ro1©, Sue Carol, forme^ semen star
who had turned actor's agent, heard him. was impressed and sent for the ictov. she was, astounded when a handsome young men turned up. 'Shel ilgned him immediately. The rest of the Rt.orv is, how Miss Carol plugged *nv Tnfld.for two solid vears. certain fhat was starriner material,, trvin* to talk nroducers $nd, directors into divine Vijm a chnnce ' He continued to .nlav b^s and do radio work. And AJ's"' Carpi wonk^pn, plugging and -Ladd went on.acttpg in whatever she cpt fo" him. Thep suddenly. h* won a n-nod role. iri' i".Toan nf P«rW p,t RKO. The same week, Meiklejohn', at T>ava'v"Hmt, cniled him for a .test for thn role in "This Gun for Hire." H* ,,rns to bo the'first of manv tested. Diroo.tor Frank Tuttlo spent two days on the test"-and when executives saw it, thev called off a,ny further tests. Alan Lnrid was the youth for the role.
A significant chanter was annended to the history of Ladd's relationship with his discoverer and aeont. Misp Carol, soon after the completion of "This Gun- for Hire." Thev flew to Yurpa-*,bat romantic Gretna Green of the Hollywood set-and were mar ried. .
His debut at the studio having lived up to all exnectations, Ladd isolated for some of, the best roles on the Paramount schedule. He will play in two Dashiell Hammett mystery stories -"The Glass Key," also onposite Miss Lake, and "Red. Harvest"-and then in thio ;projected . screen version of Barre -Lvndon's London play. "The Man in Half Moon Street."
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