Joan Wheeler

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Joan Wheeler Ankrum
Born Joan Natalia Wheeler
(1913-01-08)January 8, 1913
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
Died December 20, 2001(2001-12-20) (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, art gallery owner
Years active 1933–1937
Spouse(s) Morris Ankrum (1935–1964; his death)
William Challee (1984–1989; his death)

Joan Wheeler Ankrum (January 8, 1913 Palo Alto, California – December 20, 2001 Los Angeles, California) was an American film actress of the 1930s and founder of the Ankrum Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles. She was the wife of actor Morris Ankrum.

Early life and career[edit]

Ankrum was born Joan Natalia Wheeler on January 8, 1913 in Palo Alto, California to Raymond Bert (1888–1980) and Margaret Lucille (Ozier) Wheeler (1888–1956), who had met and eloped while attending Stanford University. Ankrum was one of four siblings. She had one older sister and two younger brothers.

She got her start in acting with Pasadena Playhouse, where she met her husband Morris. They were married on August 16, 1935 in Benbow, California, and had 2 sons, David and Cary. David Ankrum, best known as Adam from Tabitha. David Ankrum eventually became a Hollywood agent.[1]

Joan Wheeler (married aka Joan Ankrum))[1] from 1960-1990 was a prominant Los Angeles art dealer.

Ankrum Gallery[2] [3] was located on La Cienega Boulevard right next to the Mekler Gallery, owned by Adam Mekler[4][5]. Ankrum Gallery handled the artwork of prominate and rising California artists Morris Gaylord Broderson, Helen Lundeberg, Richard Bauer, Melvin Schuler, Barbara Barrett[6], Hans Burkhard, Lorser Fitelson and many more[7]. One of her biggest patrons was, Joseph H. Hirshhorn and Olga Hirshhorn of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Joan Ankrum was an active member of Art Dealers Association of America and the gallery archives including an oral history[8] are held with the Archives of American Art[9]

Broadway roles[edit]

  • Growing Pains (1933) as Prudence
  • Strangers at Home (1934) as Jean Crosby
  • Western Waters (1937) as Penelope

Selected filmography[edit]

Later life[edit]

She later founded the Ankrum Gallery, an art gallery for Morris Ankrum's deaf nephew, Morris Broderson. She was also married to actor William Challee later in life, in 1984. She lived out most of her later life in the Los Angeles, California area where she died on December 20, 2001.


External links[edit]