Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dana Andrews biography due September 2012

The Enigma of Dana Andrews
The first definitive biography of Dana Andrews is set for publication in September. Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews was written by Carl Rollyson who has biographies of Marilyn Monroe and poet Sylvia Plath (February 2013), among others, to his credit.

Understated and Underrated
Like many of Andrews’s fans know, the actor was terribly underrated even when he was at his peak in the late 1940s to early 1950s. For this new biography, Rollyson had access to journals, home movies, the Andrews family, and studio records.

Noir Legend
According to the author a study of film noir would not be complete without a review of Andrews’s work. The films Laura, Fallen Angel, and Where the Sidewalk Ends immediately come to mind when one considers some of Andrews’s best noir films.

The Man Under the Fedora 
As well as Andrews wore a fedora, he was incredibly versatile and could hold his own when cast alongside other major stars like Joan Crawford and Henry Fonda in Daisy Kenyon. It’s this critic’s opinion that Andrews gives the best performance in that film. Under Otto Preminger’s tight direction, Andrews’s Dan O’Mara is a multidimensional character who is neither hero nor villain.

Dana Andrews Blogathon Coming Soon
In July I’ll be hosting a Dana Andrews blogathon. More information about that event will be forthcoming. In the meantime, you may preorder Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews from


  1. Thanks for calling attention to my book. You may well be right about Daisy Kenyon. The role shows that Andrews had quite a range as an actor. One of the things my book reveals is that he wanted to play Henry Fonda's part, but Preminger and the studio insisted that Andrews play Dan O'Mara, a seemingly glib character who develops into a figure of some complexity. I see you have a shot of the dvd that includes Canyon Passage. This western is often overlooked. It contains stunning performances from Andrews and Susan Hayward. They made a great team, and I regret that other than My Foolish Heart they made no other pictures together.

    1. I think his daughter, Susan said in an interview he didn't like it that he didn't get the girl at the end. But O'Mara is much more interesting than the Fonda character, I think. And it does show Andrews's great range. His scenes with his daughters, Ruth Warick, her father, and Crawford are all great bits of acting. I love Canyon Passage and My Foolish Heart (when is it coming out on DVD?!). I just watched MFH on Netflix and it's really a nicely put together film. I know Salinger hated it. I did my senior seminar paper on Salinger and I used some old Life magazine ads of Andrews and Hayward promoting the film via product endorsements. Salinger thought all that Hollywood stuff was "phony." But I think MFH holds together rather well. It was the "Love Story" of the day.

  2. I had the biggest crush on Dana Andrews when I was younger - I grew up in a classic movie-loving household, so all my schoolgirl crushes were 1930s-1940s actors. Heh. I'm glad to see a book coming out about him. He definitely deserves more attention than he's gotten. And I'll be on the lookout for blogathon info!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Jandy! I'm a huge Dana Andrews fan and am glad he's finally getting his due. The author, Carl Rollyson says Andrews is one of his favorite subjects. Apart from his talent, he says he was very well liked by his peers in the acting profession.

  3. Just wanted to mention that I'm putting excerpts from my biography of Dana Andrews on twitter. My hashtag is #Hollywood Enigma. I've also included an essay, "What's in a Title?," on the page for my book, which is available both in hardcover and as an ebook (it can be downloaded now, although the pub date is September 1)


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