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Luana Walters as Jane Forbes in Misbehaving Husbands (1940)
July 22, 1912|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||May 19, 1963
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Liver failure due to alcoholism|
|Known for||Western movies|
|Spouse(s)||Max Hoffman Jr. (1936–1945; his death)|
Walters was an expert horsewoman which led to her discovery as an actress at a rodeo in Palm Springs, California. She won a woman's bucking contest which was being watched by a movie scout, who noticed her.
Her film career began when she visited a friend on a United Artists lot. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was excited about her screen possibilities and arranged for a film test. However, only three days later Fairbanks went to Europe, and the test was never completed. Not long afterwards Joe Schenck saw Walters on the dance floor at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, California. After viewing the abbreviated test made by Fairbanks, Schenck offered her a contract with United Artists. The studio did not make a movie in the next six months so Walters' option was not taken up.
Walters' screen credits start with an uncredited role in Reaching for the Moon (1930). Her skill as an equestrian helped her in parts in westerns like Ride 'Em Cowboy (1936), Where the West Begins (1938), Mexicali Rose (1939), and Law of the Wolf (1939). On several occasions Walters made films in which her work was left in the cutting room, from the final edit. This began when she made Reaching for the Moon with Fairbanks. Her parts were also deleted from Spawn of the North (1938) and Souls at Sea (1937). The former was a Henry Fonda feature and the latter paired Walters with Robert Cummings.
Walters was the first actress to portray Superman's biological mother Lara in a live-action format. She appeared in "Superman Comes to Earth", the first chapter of the 1948 Superman movie serial starring Kirk Alyn as Superman. Portions of this depiction appear in flashback in "At the Mercy of Atom Man!", the seventh chapter of the 1950 serial Atom Man vs. Superman. She worked in a number of movie serials and B-Movies, especially in Westerns, featuring her riding skills, and sci-fi or horror genres. She played a female reporter on the trail of a fiend's story in The Corpse Vanishes (1942), with Bela Lugosi. She appears as a cellblock guard in Girls in Prison (1956). Her final role came in The She Creature (1956).
Luana Walters died of liver failure due to alcoholism in Los Angeles in 1963.
- The Helena Independent, Harrison In Hollywood, December 23, 1938, Page 11.
- Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe, In Hollywood, December 8, 1936, Page 6.
- Mansfield, Ohio News Journal, Theaters, June 29, 1942, Page 13.
- Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, At The Theaters, March 3, 1938, Page 13.