As a dad, Alan Ladd walked tall 5

Read this story on The Huffington Post.

a the blue dahlia THE_BLUE_DAHLIA-5“He got pegged as being short, 5’2″. But he was actually 5’6″ or 5’7″,” said actor/producer David Ladd, himself a very tall man and one of actor Alan Ladd‘s four offspring to work in the film industry.

Ladd spoke about his father following the absolutely fantastic screening of “The Blue Dahlia” at the Academy’s summer film noir series curated by Randy Haberkamp.

The George Marshall-directed Los title blue dahliaAngeles crime whodunit, dating from 1946, has at its gritty core a tough-guy screenplay by crime writer Raymond Chandler. It was Chandler’s only original screenplay, his follow-up to a successful collaboration with Billy Wilder on “Double Indemnity.” There’s urban legend about Chandler finishing the script at home on a bruising, round-the-clock bender, dispatching pages to the studio by courier.

Watching “Dahlia’s” close-knit ensemble of character actors hurl Chandler’s hard-boiled lines at each other gives tingling pleasure. The director burns time and space around the words so you can take them in.

dahlia“Dahlia” is one of seven films Ladd made with co-star Veronica Lake. Ladd, junior, noted: “My parents loved each other. Veronica and my Dad did not have a real relationship outside their films,” adding, “One of his dearest friends, a life long friend, was [actor] William Bendix [who plays Buzz, a key role in “Dahlia.”].”

“”Shane,” of course, was my father’s favorite film. But “The Great Gatsby,” he was most proud of. It was not successful. They [Paramount] knew they would re-do it and so they held it back [from distribution.] Howard DeSilva [also in “The Blue Dahlia”] was in it. It was set in the 1940s.”

“My father came from humble beginnings. His family came to California during the Depression; they were in Oklahoma for awhile. It was like “The Grapes of Wrath.” They lived in a tent city in Pasadena. He was malnourished. [Initially] he failed as an actor; they told him he was too short and too blond. Then he worked as a grip. So when he finally became a star, it was hard for him to believe. In Hollywood, the dreams are hard to hold onto. It’s hard to sustain.”

“When he eventually left Paramount, it was for financial gain, but it was like leaving his family.”

Alan Ladd died young, at age 51. Booze and pills were involved: “He was a tremendous athlete, he was a great diver and swimmer. But he didn’t take care of himself like people do today. He had depression problems. He had a tough time,” said his son David, with compassion.

5 thoughts on “As a dad, Alan Ladd walked tall

  1. Pauline Kirkham Apr 6,2018 3:51 pm

    I loved and still love Alan Ladd. He was s great actor, his eyes said it all, so expressive. He was the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, so charismatic. I wish so much he hadn’t gone so soon, it upsets me still. I watch his films over and over. I wish I’d known him, he was also a kind, decent, clever sensitive man. I adore him still.

  2. Sandy Jul 24,2016 11:46 am

    Linda Beth…I hope you are doing better, and that you will win your battle with cancer. I enjoyed your comments about Mr Ladd.My husband & I watched “Proud Rebel” last night (for the first time I think….at age 78 I tend to forget many things 🙂 We were curious about his son David who played the mute in the film….what wonderful acting by him, his Dad of course, and Olivia de Haviland!! So I am on this site today to read about David’s life. God bless you & keep you well. Sandy

  3. ssoldie Jul 23,2015 4:14 pm

    I agree totally.

  4. linda beth thompson Oct 1,2011 11:07 am

    i always loved alan ladd, and i am so saddened to read how truly young he was when he died. my god — he died way too young !! i have probably seen all of his movies, at least 4-5 times each, and it didn’t matter to me how tall or short he was. when i watched him, i was mesmerized by his charm and humor. i wish i had known him personally, but, i am just a lowly citizen. i am struggling getting over stage 4 cancer treatments, and watching old movies has become a wonderful distraction for me, and i sure need distractions!! when watching classic movies, i always fantasize knowing the stars personally, and i want to say i have had many fantasizing moments involving mr. ladd. he was so handsome, and i certainly can appreciate his talent as an actor as well as his classic good looks. i am sure i am not alone in my admiration of him as an actor, and as a person. his sons certainly have a lot of movies they can see their dad in, and they are lucky indeed. thank you so much for allowing me to write this. love, linda beth thompson santa cruz, california

  5. Della Cole Aug 2,2011 1:36 pm

    Alan Ladd was and always will be my favorite actor. I don’t care how tall or short he was, he was good to look at.

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