Wow! She was known as “the oomph girl” and she certainly had it in abundance. But who knew Ann Sheridan could sing too?
Obviously the producers at Warner Bros., the studio which had Sheridan under contract for several years, knew at least a little since they threw in a few songs with her signature roles as a steamy, fast-talking “dame.”
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here today to rhapsodize about one of our favorite actresses whose onscreen talents were more extensive than you may have realized.
Born Clara Lou Sheridan in Texas in 1915, she was a tomboy as a girl. Ann trained as a teacher before a beauty contest win — which came with a screen test at Paramount –intervened. (She made her movie debut at the studio with 1934’s Search For Beauty.)
Sheridan was far more than a sex symbol, as worthy as that is. She was an actress of impressive versatility costarring in hard boiled crime dramas — check her out in director Raoul Walsh’s 1940 gem, They Drive By Night opposite Humphrey Bogart and George Raft. She excelled as well in “womens’ pictures” and, as we have learned, in musicals.
She played a sassy secretary in 1941’s Honeymoon For Three opposite dapper George Brent (Bette Davis’ favorite leading man and one-time lover). Whatever Brent had Sheridan liked since the two married in 1942 (it lasted a year).
Although not a musical star, per se, Ann was allowed to sing in several films and had a damned good voice.
Catch a sleeper called It All Came True. The film was released in April 1940, when Sheridan was big box office. She got top billing ahead of Jeffrey Lynn, her love interest and then, Humphrey Bogart, who plays a crook hiding out in Lynn’s mother’s boarding house. Bogart turns the house into a nightclub where Ann and Lynn perform.
A few years later she co-starred with Dennis Morgan in Shine on Harvest Moon.
Most movie fans, if they remember Sheridan singing at all, remember her production number in one particular movie — Thank Your Lucky Stars, Warner’s all star vehicle about entertaining at the Hollywood Canteen. Ann in a negligee, in a bedroom setting belted out the provocative tune, “Love isn’t born, It’s made!”
Her most memorable film role remains opposite future president Ronald Reagan in Kings Row.
Sheridan’s career extended into the late Fifties, about a decade before her death from cancer at age 51 in 1967. We will always remember her as the classic screen knockout who could also sing.