The former Joanne LaCock, the belle of Logan, West Virginia, started out as a model in New York in 1940, appeared as a showgirl in an Al Jolson Broadway show, married in 1941 (when she was all of 19) one of her two famous husbands and then migrated with him to Hollywood.
It took a bit of time but by the late 1940’s Joanne Dru had carved out her niche there. She always was a looker who added a desperately needed feminine touch to some of the best western movies ever made. No softie, she most often got her way because she was tough and looked so damned good. Frank counts her as one of his adolescent crushes (unrequited, of course).
Dru went on to a 34-year-career heavily skewed to television. But what sticks in Frank’s memory is her deft performance in 1952’s The Pride of St. Louis opposite Dan Dailey as St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean.
Dru personified (she died in 1996 at 74) the kind of gutsy, good-looking Forties dame in movies that we’ve come to treasure. Ok, let’s see how much you know about her. As usual questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Drew married four different husbands, two of which were famous. Which of the following did she NOT marry? a) Victor Mature; b) Dick Haymes; c) Dan Duryea; or d) John Ireland.
2) Question: Dru is perhaps best remembered by classic movie fans for her feminine additions to some of classic Hollywood’s best westerns. Which one of the following Westerns did she NOT star in? a) 1946’s Red River; b) 1950’s Wagon Master; c) 1949’s She Wore A Yellow Ribbon; or d) 1946’s Duel in the Sun.
3) Question: Fully a third of Dru’s big screen movies were westerns. What made it especially hard for her to perform in them? a) She hated John Wayne; b) She disliked working with guns; c) She feared horses; or d) She felt the genre favored male actors.
4) Question: Dru’s star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame was NOT awarded on the basis of her movie career? What was it awarded for? a) Dru’s charitable works; b) Dru’s work on behalf of handicapped children; c) Dru’s work on tv; or d) Dru’s personal popularity with her costars.
5) Question: One of Dru’s close relatives turned into one of the most popular quiz masters in television history. Who is this person?