The Andrews Sisters were famous in the 1940s and 50s, but did you know about the Andrews Brothers?
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, back with answers to those fraternal questions we posed last Friday.
Carver Dana Andrews and William Forrest Andrews were both film stars in Hollywood’s Golden era.
Dana (named after two of his father’s favorite professors , was the third of 9 children (some sources say 13!) of a Baptist minister and his wife in the rural south. He was born on New Year’s Day, 1909. When he was finishing high school, in 1924, one of his 6 brothers, William, was born.
Stories vary on how Dana got from Texas to Hollywood. One version says he hitchhiked seeking his fortune in films. Another version says the entire family moved to Southern California in the early 30s when Rev. Andrews took a job there. However the Reverend and his family soon returned to Texas and Dana, over 21, decided to stay.
In any event Dana Andrews was in Hollywood, trying for a singing career and taking classes at the Pasadena Playhouse. After years of struggling he was finally signed to a film contract by Samuel Goldwyn.
The producer had no immediate work for him so sold half Andrews contract to Twentieth Century Fox. There he made a few B films to gain experience. Then Goldwyn used him in a supporting role in The Westerner. Actually Goldwyn only used Andrews to good advantage twice. As Barbara Stanwyck’s gangster boyfriend in the comedy Ball of Fire and as one of the 3 returning servicemen profiled in The Best Years of Our Lives.
For most of his career he toiled at Fox. After a great role in The Ox Bow Incident he hit his stride with Laura, (opposite Gene Tierney — we ran a shot of them together last Friday), A Walk in the Sun and another, less commercially successful film at the time, but nonetheless a fascinating picture, Fallen Angel.
In conjunction with the publication of a new biography of him, we’ve written about Dana in two previous blogs: Dana Andrews ‘ Battle With The Bottle, (Dec. 27, 2012); and Was Dana Andrews Ever Better? (Dec. 26, 2012), which drew the following response from regular reader Rockfish:
Dana Andrews is due for a re-examination by classic film fans, as his work has a timelessness about it. I have the book (the recently published Carl Rollyson biography, “Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews”) and look forward to reading about him. So many of his films have an underlying potency, due to DA’s talents. Thanks for sharing.
Dana’s younger brother came to Hollywood in the early 40s and was a bit player under his own name, William Forrest Andrews. He appears in a small part in 1943’s Crash Dive, a war film which starred Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter and Dana.
William served in World War II, and on his return changed his name to Steve Forrest and tried his luck in Hollywood again.
He didn’t hit his stride until the 50s when he scored in So Big, opposite Jane Wyman, and Bedeviled, (pictured Friday) opposite Anne Baxter.
Dana Andrews battled alcoholism, finally conquering it, and serving as president of the The Screen Actor’s Guild for two years. He even did public service announcements about beating alcohol addiction. He died a few weeks shy of his 84th birthday in December 1992.
Steve Forrest is 88. His last film appearance was a cameo as a truck driver in Columbia’s 2003’s S.W.A.T. a crime thriller based on the TV series. That film grossed over $207 million worldwide. Nice to end on a high.