Remembering Ann Sheridan

Putting the "Oomph" back in "The Oomph Girl"

Ann Sheridan
in Hollywood with Louella O. Parsons

circa. 1944

Annie Prefers Entertaining Overseas to Marriage, Career

By Louella O. Parsons
Motion Picture Editor International News Service

"When are you and Steve Hannagan going to take the big step?" 

I asked Ann Sheridan while we sat and talked in her dressing room.  "You might as well 'give,'" I told her, "because you and that demon press agent have all your friends guessing -- even the date."

Annie laughed as only she can laugh when something strikes her as being funny.

"Suppose I tell you he was never asked me to marry him, and ladies are not supposed to name their wedding day until they receive a proposal," said Ann.

"I'd say," I told her, "that you are sidestepping the issue because all his friends know he is crazy about you, and -- well -- that you are not indifferent to him."

"Steve is grand," she told me.  "I have more fun with him than any man I know, and I am not denying to you that I like him better than anyone else.  But say, for heaven sakes, you're not trying to get me married -- isn't twice enough?"

I have an idea that Ann and Steve will have to settle the question of what do with their lives before they marry.  Her work is here in Hollywood and his is definitely in New York, where he is regarded as one of the best public relations men in America.

At the moment, Ann is determined that nothing, not even a marriage or movie, will keep her from going overseas.  She is determined to let the men in the armed services know that she is with them and when that redhead makes up her mind, no one changes it.  I've know people to grow gray-haired trying it.

"Every Hollywood actor and actress should visit our boys on the fighting front," Ann said.  "We don't have to put on a great big show, just so we can give them something to make them laugh.  They need to see a friendly face from home to know we're with them."

Ann looked as if she had stepped out of Harper's Bazaar, in her white tailored suit with a purple blouse and huge amethyst pins surrounded with green stones.

"Aren't these lovely?" she asked.  "The small stones are rhinestones colored green.  They look like emeralds and I would love to own them, only I'm afraid the dye might come off."

I watched her play a scene in which Hope Manning, the heavy, walks in and tell her that she isn't married.  Alexis Smith, as her girl friend, stood by her while the movie battle went on.

I marvel at the way Ann has improved since I first saw her on the Warner lot.  She has poise and ease, and seemed to enjoy her part.

"You didn't like 'Doughgirls' at the start, did you?" I asked her.

"Now look here.  I never said I didn't want to do it." Ann said.  "I wanted to go overseas and my quarrel was with the studio because they wouldn't let me go until after I made the picture.  I have such a feeling that every one of us should be over there, that I just won't make another picture until I get my way.  Suppose I don't get a bath for a week -- live in a fox hole -- or get myself all muddy and my hair all messed up.  If the boys can take it, so can I," she said.

"What does Steve think about your going so far away?" I asked her.

"He is all for it and feels it's my duty, just as I do," she answered, "I will regret it all my days if I don't have a part in helping lick Hitler and put Japan in its place."

I never heard Ann so serious about anything.  Usually she and I laugh and tell stores, but the biggest thing in her life today is her wartime stint.

"I want to get an act together," she said.  "Of course, if Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson and I could go together, it would be wonderful because we have a routine we have played at many canteens."

Jane Wyman, who is one of Ann's closest friends, was excused for the day from "Doughgirls" because she had a bad case of laryngitis.  But, in spite of her croaking voice, she came to the studio.  Her dressing room is next door to Ann's and I spent part of the afternoon with her. 

When I asked Jan about Steve, she laughed and said:

"I don't think Ann is marrying him today or tomorrow, but what happens later is anybody's guess.

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