Ann Sheridan

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Ann Sheridan
Ann Sheridan Argentinean Magazine AD.jpg
Sheridan in 1934
Born Clara Lou Sheridan
(1915-02-21)February 21, 1915
Denton, Texas, US
Died January 21, 1967(1967-01-21) (aged 51)
Los Angeles, California, US
Cause of death Esophageal and liver cancer
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1934–1967
Spouse(s) Edward Norris
(1936–1938; divorced)
George Brent
(1942–1943; divorced)
Scott McKay
(1966–1967; her death)

Clara Lou "Ann" Sheridan (February 21, 1915 – January 21, 1967) was an American actress and singer. She worked regularly from 1934 to her death in 1967, first in film and later in television. Notable roles include Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Kings Row (1942), Nora Prentiss (1947) and I Was a Male War Bride (1949).

Life and career[edit]

Born in Denton, Texas on February 21, 1915, Sheridan was the daughter of G. W. Sheridan and Lula Stewart Warren Sheridan. She said that her father was a great-great-nephew of Civil War Union general Philip Sheridan.[1] She had a sister, Pauline.[2] She was active in dramatics at Denison High School and at North Texas State Teachers College. She also sang with the college's stage band.[3]

In 1933, she was a student at North Texas State Teachers College when her sister sent a photograph of her to Paramount Pictures. She subsequently entered and won a beauty contest, with part of her prize being a bit part in a Paramount film, The Search for Beauty.[4] She left college to pursue a career in Hollywood.

After making her film début in 1934, aged 19, in Search for Beauty, she played uncredited bit parts in Paramount films for the next two years. Paramount made little effort to develop Sheridan's talent, so she left, signing a contract with Warner Bros. in 1936, and changing her name to Ann Sheridan.[citation needed] (An Associated Press news story on September 27, 1934, reported that she "had her name bobbed and her career lengthened simultaneously," with her new screen name being Lou Sheridan.[5] Following that, a December 2, 1934, story in The Sandusky Register referred to Ann Sheridan "who is still under contract to Paramount."[6] A December 25, 1934, news story in The Emporia Gazette said, "Born Clara Lou Sheridan, she was 'changed' by studio bosses to plain Lou Sheridan, but ere long they had decided on Ann.")[7]

Sheridan's career prospects began to improve. She received as many as 250 marriage proposals from fans in a single week.[8] Tagged "The Oomph Girl"—a sobriquet which she reportedly loathed[9][10][11]—Sheridan was a popular pin-up girl in the early 1940s. (On the other hand, a February 25, 1940, news story distributed by the Associated Press reported that Sheridan no longer "bemoaned the 'oomph' tag."[12] She continued, "But I'm sorry now. I know if it hadn't been for 'oomph' I'd probably still be in the chorus.")[12]

She was the heroine of a novel, Ann Sheridan and the Sign of the Sphinx, written by Kathryn Heisenfelt, published by Whitman Publishing Company in 1943. While the heroine of the story was identified as a famous actress, the stories were entirely fictitious. The story was probably written for a young teenage audience and is reminiscent of the adventures of Nancy Drew. It is part of a series known as "Whitman Authorized Editions", 16 books published between 1941 and 1947 that always featured a film actress as heroine.[13]

She received substantial roles and positive reaction from critics and moviegoers in such films as Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), opposite James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, Dodge City (1939) with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, Torrid Zone with Cagney and They Drive by Night with George Raft and Bogart (both 1940), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) with Bette Davis, and Kings Row (1942), in which she received top billing playing opposite Ronald Reagan, Robert Cummings, and Betty Field.

She also appeared in such musicals as It All Came True (1940) and Navy Blues (1941). She was also memorable in two of her biggest hits, Nora Prentiss and The Unfaithful, both in 1947.

Despite these successes, her career began to decline. Her role in I Was a Male War Bride (1949), directed by Howard Hawks and co-starring Cary Grant, gave her another success, but by the 1950s she was struggling to find work and her film roles were sporadic. In 1950, she appeared on the ABC musical television series Stop the Music. In 1962, she played the lead in "The Mavis Grant Story" on the Western series Wagon Train. In the middle 1960s, Sheridan appeared on the NBC soap opera Another World. Her final work was a TV series of her own in the mid-1960s, a comedy Western entitled Pistols 'n' Petticoats, which was filmed during the year before her death, and was broadcast on CBS on Saturday nights. The 19th episode of the series, "Beware the Hangman", aired, as scheduled, on the same day that she died.[14] For her contributions to the motion picture industry, Ann Sheridan has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame at 7024 Hollywood Boulevard.


Sheridan married actor Edward Norris August 16, 1936, in Ensenada, Mexico.[15] They separated a year later and divorced in 1939.

On January 5, 1942, she married fellow Warner Brothers star George Brent, who co-starred with her in Honeymoon for Three (1941). They divorced exactly one year later.

On June 5, 1966 she married actor Scott McKay, who was with her when she died.[16]


In 1966, Sheridan began starring in a new television series, a Western themed comedy called Pistols 'n' Petticoats. She became ill during the filming, and died of esophageal and liver cancer at age 51 on January 21, 1967, in Los Angeles. She was cremated, and her ashes were stored at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles until her remains were interred in a niche in the Chapel Columbarium at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in 2005.[17]


Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1943 Screen Guild Players Love Is News[18]
1952 Stars in the Air Good Sam[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ann Sheridan Is Still a Favorite After Years as a Successful Star". Albuquerque Journal. New Mexico, Albuquerque. March 30, 1952. p. 29. Retrieved June 18, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ "Miss Pauline Sheridan Weds in Oklahoma". Denton Record-Chronicle. Texas, Denton. March 27, 1931. p. 5. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ "Miss Sheridan Is Winner in Screen Contest". Denton Record-Chronicle. Texas, Denton. July 19, 1933. p. 8. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "Denton Girl Wins World Contest; to be Given Part in Paramount Movie". Denton Record-Chronicle. Texas, Denton. September 9, 1933. p. 1. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "Texas Girl Is Given Lengthy Film Contract". The Brownsville Herald. Texas, Brownsville. Associated Press. September 27, 1934. p. 9. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "Ann Sheridan Gets First Leading Role". The Sandusky Register. Ohio, Sandusky. December 2, 1934. p. 2. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "Hollywood Notebook". The Emporia Gazette. Kansas, Emporia. December 25, 1934. p. 12. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Everybody Wants to Marry Annie", AP, May 25, 1941. Accessed June 2, 2009.
  9. ^ "Ann Sheridan, Actress, Born Clara Lou Sheridan on Feb. 21, 1915 in Denton, TX, Died Jan. 21, 1967 of cancer in Los Angeles, CA", by Paul Houston, Los Angeles Times, January 22, 1967
  10. ^ "When a Woman Could Be an Oomph Girl", by Art Rogoff, The New York Times, September 12, 1988.
  11. ^ "The Oomph Girl", Classic Cinema Gold, February 21, 2012
  12. ^ a b "'Oomph Girl' Is Happy Now". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. Utah, Ogden. Associated Press. February 25, 1940. p. 11. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  13. ^ Whitman Authorized Editions for Girls
  14. ^ "Pistols and Petticoats", in Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide, by Bob Leszczak (McFarland, 2012) p155
  15. ^ "Ann Sheridan and Edward Norris Wed". Denton Record-Chronicle. Texas, Denton. August 31, 1936. p. 4. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  16. ^ "Ann Sheridan Biography". Remembering Ann Sheridan. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-02-09. Retrieved 2006-02-19. 
  18. ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013. 
  19. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 9, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read

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