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Creator / Alan Ladd

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Alan Walbridge Ladd Sr. (September 3, 1913 – January 29, 1964) was an American actor during The Golden Age of Hollywood. He is primarily associated with Film Noir, but actually appeared in a variety of different film genres; his filmography has been calculated to over 90 appearances.

Ladd's film career had a rocky start. He wasn't seen as "leading man" material by Hollywood because they didn't believe he was conventionally attractive enough, but he was also held back because of his height, note  a shortcoming which had made him a Butt-Monkey when he was a child. However, he began his acting career in the 1930s with several uncredited film roles, as well as many appearances on the radio.

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Through Retroactive Recognition in a small part in Citizen Kane and an emotional death scene in Joan of Paris, the studios noticed the potential of Ladd and offered him contracts and bigger roles. He starred in This Gun for Hire in 1942, which was said to have been in the making for almost ten years, and soon followed with Lucky Jordan and other parts, mostly playing gangsters (for which he was often compared to James Cagney). During World War II he put acting on hold to serve in the Army but was sent home with a medical discharge; he demanded a pay rise from Paramount in 1948, getting suspended in response. When he returned, he appeared in the wartime movie O.S.S. and the image-shifting lead role in The Great Gatsby, which met with a reluctant studio's expectations when it was a critical failure.

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Ladd had a varied acting career. He could portray a gangster in one film and a detective in another. Commonly, he was considered for roles (and even announced as the final pick), but then rejected for the talents of someone else. He turned to Westerns in the 1950s, most notably Shane with Jean Arthur, and then jumped between many studios in Hollywood and around the world. He created the production company Jaguar Productions in 1954 which soon defunct in the early 1960s and Ladd's career began to fail, reportedly retiring from acting in 1960. His personal life appeared to be dipping too: he was found unconscious with a bullet wound in his chest in 1962 which didn't actually kill him, leading to assumptions that it was a failed suicide attempt, but he later died in 1964 from a variety of alcohol and drug-related reactions. He'd intended to make a career comeback in The Carpetbaggers, which was a success when it was released posthumously.

He appeared in four films with Veronica Lake because they had good chemistry together, but also because Lake, who was reportedly only 4'11'', matched well with the vertically challenged Ladd.


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