Remembering Ann Sheridan

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

Ann Sheridan Interview

(This interview is from the John Kobal's excellent book People Will Talk. Click here for information about it on

Ann SheridanShe was born in Denton, Texas on February 21, 1915, and her Christian name was Clara Lou Sheridan. The Ann and the "oomph" were to come later.

Clara Lou
was attending a teachers' college when she went in for local beauty contest sponsored by the Paramount Picture Corporation. The reason they gave was the making of a film to be entitled Search for Beauty (1934) starring Ida Lupino, but their aim was not so much finding new stars in the sticks as in getting free publicity for the company and their product.

Thus the contest was being carried out around the world, wherever there were Paramount branches and Paramount pictures.

The previous year they had sponsored a similar promotion stunt to find "The Panther Girl" for their version of H. G. Wells' Island of Lost Souls (1933). That had proved highly successful and incidentally they found some very nice girls -- like Kathleen Burke (who played the part) as well as Grace Bradley, Gertrude Michael and Gail Patrick, popular leading ladies of the decade.

But lightning failed to strike with the same force the second time. Of the thirty-three young men and women who went from the local "Search for Beauty" contests and won a trip to Hollywood (where the finals to select six of them for studio contracts would be held).

Clara Lou
, whose sister Kitty sent her photo in to the Dallas News without telling her, was the only one to become a star. But this was not overnight and it was not atAnn Sheridan Paramount.

I met her in April of 1966 in New York. That year I discovered TV was made for showing old movies, and that these could be seen all day long and all night too.

And then there were the popular daytime serials everybody was watching and which we called "soapies," a term of derisory endearment for those tear-stained "to be continued" serials.

And everybody was doing them -- Dana Andrews was in one, Gary Merrill in another, Joan Bennett too, and an actress one couldn't help but like, Ann Sheridan, in something called Another World. It was no different from the other soapies, and no better.

What made it a must was Ann Sheridan.

The face had edged where once it curved -- for "oomph" there was "chic" -- but an alertness about her acting made you sit up, and intelligence at work made her role believable, and though she had changed from the glamorous pinup, she looked very handsome.

It was the sort of role in the sort of story she had been fighting against when she was young, as she was the first to admit, but she changed a lot in the years, and one of her attitudes now was that it was better to work than to sit around, that it was up to you to make what you did good. After only a few weeks there came a call from a major TV network to sign her for the lead in a new TV Western comedy series, Pistols and Petticoats.

As it happened, having seen her in the series on TV hadn't really prepared me for her in person. Added to that, I had in my mind an image of fur coats, cigarette-holders and stunning glamour. I wasn't wearing my glasses, and some people behind me were trying to get past.

When I was about to search for a maitre d'hotel for help, a dark, richly resonant voice coming from just below said, "Are you looking for me dear?" I Ann Sheridanlooked down and there was this woman with gaunt face, unfashionable gray in the red hair, tired eyes, and neither wearing fur nor doused in "oomph." I did a double-take, as ungallant as only someone completely surprised can be, and as if by remote control I said, "Miss Sheridan. What a pleasure. You haven't changed."

At that moment she must have wondered whether or not she should tell me to disappear. Then she smiled and looked at me very kindly and said, "I know, darling. I know."

I loved her.

In that voice was everything my eyes remembered. There was unpretentiousness, and a wit and kindness (two things that don't always go together) and an outreaching friendliness that put one at ease.

I kept on and on about Hollywood's glamour.

What was it?

Who had it?

Why was it gone?

Did she miss the old days?

She was a glamour star of the '40s. She had worked with DeMille, Hawks, Cagney and -- to my surprise -- Mae West.

But these were names were like icons to me. My knowledge of movies was barely about the level of the fan magazines -- except that I liked slightly older fan magazines.

But she answered, drank her drink, ordered another, smoked, and in our few and always warm meetings tried to tell me not to take everything at face value nor to feel disillusioned as a result of it.

Her last appearance in a film had been in Metro's musical remake of The Women -- The Opposite Sex (1957). Her part hadn't been in the original and she was the best thing in the remake. She filled in the rest:
Ann Sheridan
Ann Sheridan
: I will not work in anything I don't like. Whether it's films, summer stock, road shows. I did that because Ross (Hunter) wanted me to get some stage experience and then we would do a Broadway musical of a film we'd done together -- Take Me to Town.

Nothing came of it in the end. Ross and I have been trying to work together every since our Universal days. Then I was in another road show that was dreamed up in New York and was a lot of nonsense because they did nothing about rewriting it.

For five months we toured around in this atrocity -- a period of tryouts and tribulations. I don't' want to do that sort of thing again. I was offered the old Roz Russell role in Wonderful Town, but, honey, you don't walk in where Miss Russell has been. You cannot improve on that.

Ross Hunter
offered me a part in a film he was making, The Art of Love, but I didn't feel right for that. (Ethel Merman later played it. It was a madam in a French brother.)

All I want are parts that are right for my age. Something I can feel I can play -- like the character in this series. But I won't do that anything to have a job.

A long time ago I learned not to take what was thrown at me. Mind you, the old days had compensations. Working on TV is just like the old Paramount days.

As a stock girl I was doing B pictures, working like a fiend. But it was good. I was a "Search for Beauty" girl. They're still searching, mind you. But this was 1933, and Paramount conducted this contest. I was one of those kids.

John Kobal: But they discovered you!

Ann Sheridan
: Well! She draws.

I'm reminded that she comes from Texas. And she is looking very wry.

John Kobal: Didn't they?

Ann SheridanAnn Sheridan
: I don't know. Did they? (She is laughing.) They fired me. I know that. I don't know if they discovered me or not.

But they gave ma an opportunity to go to Hollywood. I worked from 1933 to mid-'35 at Paramount. Then I was fired. I didn't suffer -- but it can get very dark before things begin to look up.

But I'm a Texan, dear, and we Texans are proud. We don't give up without a fight, and I wasn't going to go home and admit I was licked. It's the Indian blood in me -- Cherokee! That kept me fighting.

But those beauty contests were hideous for us kids. Just awful.

Sheridan was also part Scotch and part Irish. I don't recall that Scottish bit, but you heard the Irish bit every time she called you "darling" -- dropping the "g" at the end.

Ann Sheridan
: That gave a contract to about six of us out of the thirty or so they brought out, and the rest were broken-hearted. You know -- they left their home towns -- big fan fares, Hollywood, becoming starts -- and now here they were, having to go back.

I felt hideous when I won -- I forget now who the other were, one was a South African, there was a man from Dallas, Texas, another one from Wisconsin and a girl from Scotland -- two girls and four boys.

Well, we were up till 2:00 a.m. in the studio gallery doing stills, and we walked back to the Roosevelt Hotel, where we were all lodged as part of the prize, and as we walked into the lobby, there were all the other kids. All of them losers.

It was an awful feeling. Well, they didn't want to go home, honey, and the agreement the studio signed with the winners in each town was that they would get a trip to Hollywood and if they weren't picked, they were to be sent home. That was the contract. They dragged them to the train stations and put them on the trains, but then the kids would just get off in Podunk or somewhere and take another train back to Los Angeles and be outside the studio gate the next morning.

had a dreadful time trying to get them to go back because it was their responsibility to ensure that they got back, but what could they do if they didn't want to go?

Finally they paid a lot of the ones who wouldn't go home to sign a paper releasing the studio from any legal responsibility, and saying they had gone home and come back on their own initiative.

Well, that put an end to those awful contests, I can tell you. The studios noAnn Sheridan longer took any responsibility for making sure that the losers got home -- just a return ticket and you could do what you want. That was such a terrible experience for them.

They worked us very hard then -- I didn't mind that. All those bits and extra work that I was shoved into taught me something. And of course this was the middle of the Depression and, though I didn't know it at the time, I was damn lucky to be making $50 a week. I was used doubling hands, somebody else's legs in close-ups, their fee -- you name it -- as long as it wasn't somebody's face, I was used to double everything on the lot.

I got a few bit parts, a few lines here and there, not much -- mind you. I did have a dreadful Texas accent. It was awful, just like syrup. It took me a long time, but I finally got rid of it. Once in a while it creeps back.

I remember I had a terrible experience with Mr. DeMille because of it.

She throws back her drink and her head and roars with laughter that makes the people at the other tables stop what they're doing, and look, and then return to their conversation.

Ann Sheridan
: Sheer heaven! I adored him! He was a bastard, of course (she adds in a mock-faced aside). Forgive me. Shouldn't I have said that? A lot of people said after he died, "Oh, but I hated him." Now, I absolutely adored him.

And I'll tell you why. He was making The Crusades (1935) -- I was this little Christian, and I had to wear this awful long brown wig -- which I thought was going to make me look glamorous, a wonderful, like Dietrich.

Well, I looked horrible. Like you always do with a wig. And I was a very pudgy kid, and this wig made me look even pudgier. So I felt very self-conscious.

I was playing this Christian captured by the Saracens, and I was to be auctioned off wearing one of those dresses, just like a lot of chiffon draped so they wouldn't think you were completely naked -- and there's J. Carroll Naish playing the auctioneer with a whip in his hand and looking very oily, and he comes and pulls me by the wrist and yanks me to the buyer, and I have this one line to say to this nun, who is also being sold, "The cross, the cross. Let me kiss the cross."

Very dramatic. Well! Honey! I had this Texas accents, and i said: "The cwouse, the cwouse. Let me kiss the cwouse."

Mr. DeMille
turned absolutely red with hysterics. He said, "Cut." This was a rehearsal.

He says to me, "Young lady, where are you from?"

I said, "Denton, Texas."

And he said, "What's your name?"

Ann SheridanAnd I said, "Clara Lou Sheridan, sir."

And he said, and he's trying very hard not to laugh, "How do you say c-r-o-s-s?"

And I said, "Cwouse." "Do you want to say that again?"

I couldn't hear anything wrong and felt just terrible. So I said, "Cwouse" again. He was gurgling. Absolutely gurgling at this.

And he said, "Miss Sheridan. We're going to take a little respite now and have lunch, and you go with the drama coach here and she will coach you on this line."

He couldn't stop giggling. I worked on that line for half an hour. It really didn't come out right in the end, but finally it was permissible for me to say, "The cross, the cross."

Seventeen years later, at a St. Patrick's dinner in Omaha, Nebraska, where Mr. DeMille and I were guests, he stood up and told this story. I had forgotten all about it. I almost fell under the table. I never worked with him again, but he was absolutely dear to me that that time.

It was hard -- long hours. I didn't mind the hard work then. I don't mind it now. That's what working and living is. That's the interest. You have to have interest in what you're doing and be willing to work hard.

I get up at 4:00 in the morning to get ready and be in Brooklyn at 8:00 a.m. to do soapies. These things I love. A discipline. It was the same on the coast. The calls at the studio were for 5:30 -- when you were working -- so you had to be up at 4:00 to get there, and have your breakfast.

John Kobal: What were some of the films you did at Paramount?

Ann Sheridan
: You wouldn't know them, dear -- and I wasn't in them, just my hands were or my feet. What year was Diamond Lil?

She meant Belle of the Nineties, which uses the same character Mae West had played in She Done Him Wrong.

John Kobal: Were you in Diamond Lil?

Ann Sheridan
: It was not in it at all, darling; I was on the set, sitting on the sidelines. None of us girls were in her films. When they were casting for one of Miss West's films, all of us stock girls were lined up in front of Miss West, and she'd saunter down the line and say, "Yes dear. You look lovely. Now go over there and sit down."

You never worked in a scene with here. She just wouldn't allow it. The directors had very little to do with her films, you know. Miss West said exactly what she wanted done. She got exactly what she wanted. I remember her very distinctly, being escorted across the lot with her arm being held by this big guy who was her manager. She needed him for support because she was a tiny woman. Oh, very tiny, but she wore these platform shoes built up way high.

She knew exactly what she was doing. There was always an entourageAnn Sheridanaround her. After all, she was queen of all she surveyed.

John Kobal: It must have been very difficult for you young girls to get ahead with the big star ladies keeping you down like that.

Ann Sheridan
: Oh, Carole (Lombard) didn't have that thing at all. She was really a down-to-earth person. Very special. We all loved her. And Dietrich -- I don't know her. I wasn't on any of her films, but I shouldn't think that Miss Dietrich ever said, "Don't put so-and-so in a scene with me," or "I don't want her in my film." Dietrich didn't have to worry about hat. She didn't have to. You didn't look at anybody else in a scene she was in anyway.

But, you see, Mae came from the stage, and she knew what she wanted. She wrote her own things. It's not that somebody was going to take a scene away from her, because who notices an extra walking in the background anyway?

It's merely that she wanted older women around her. She had a tremendous, tough, wonderful quality. I saw her the last time she was here, doing her act at Ciro's in the mid-50s. Cary Grant said to go see her. He said everybody must see this woman because she's the only one of her kind. And he's right.

When she quits, there will never be another Mae West, and we'll be poorer for it. I called together some friends to see her. It was typical Mae. And nobody else can do that. They haven't got it today. She looked like $10 million. And when you realized her age of that woman! It was absolutely incredible.

Nobody took any interest in me at Paramount -- certainly not in the front office. They changed my name to Ann at some stage because they said my name was too long for the marquee. There were some exceptions. Mitch Leisen was a directory there and he gave me a bit in Murder at the Vanities -- I did a sneeze in that and wore nothing, but they must have liked me because I got a small part in a movie he was directing which starred Sylvia Sidney -- Behold My Wife (1935).

I was the society girl in love with Gene Raymond who commits suicide when he leaves her and married the Indian girl. Mitch was responsible for going to the front office and saying, "Look, this kid has got something. Give her a chance."

Committing suicide was the great thing, you know. Makes everybody look at you and think you're serious about your career. They always wanted you to be seen to be serious at Paramount. When they caught you laughing, the front office would say you weren't serious.

Oh, dear! But nothing happened after that, dear. Nothing. As a matter of fact, I got fired.

Miss Sidney
had also mentioned this film and her part in getting Ann Sheridan the role and had said that the best thing about Behold My Wife was a "kid named Ann Sheridan."

Ann SheridanAnn Sheridan: Those were very glamorous days then. I remember I was tremendously impressed with these people. Lombard! Cooper! George Raft! Marlene Dietrich. The Queen. The Glamour Queen. Unapproachable. I never got to meet her at Paramount.

Later on I met her socially, but I was never close to her at Paramount. She was a legend. Like Garbo. People had a certain look then. I know that in many instances the people were wrong for the parts they were playing, they weren't cast for acting. But it was accepted by the public. There was a certain fantasy, a certain imagination that is not accepted now. The world is too small.

Those were glamorous days. They were trying to build up those legends like Dietrich and Garbo then. And that's what they became. Dietrich still is a legend. To me she is absolutely fascinating.

John Kobal: Even though you yourself were later exposed to this glamour processing.

Ann Sheridan
: I guess so. I guess so. I never paid much attention to the glamour bit. You see, Dietrich is glamour! Like Garbo was, still is, glamour. There is a mystery to them -- and I never had that, dear. I don't think any American personality or, for that matter, any British actress either had the glamour that is Dietrich and was Garbo.

I certainly didn't have it. That was just a publicity stunt with me.

John Kobal: How about Turner?

Ann Sheridan
: No. Never. That was a sweater you're talking about darling -- that's not glamour. None us girls, Lana, Rita, Dorothy Lamour -- we couldn't possibly touch it. We were all well-dressed, well-made-up motion-picture actresses. But we never had the mystery, the touch, these other women had. And never would.

had a kind of glamour, I suppose. She's not...maybe the accent part of it, because she's certainly not like the other two. I don't think anybody had quite their touch.

The closest we got to it was somebody like Joan Crawford. She still creates it. She works at it, and she looks like a million bucks when she goes out. She's a star, and don't you ever forget it! That's the only thing I ever wanted to be. A good actress. But I suppose I can't get away from that Ann Sheridan Oomph thing. I wish I could.

But most people still come put to me and ask about that dumb--ohh, it's horrible.

John Kobal: How'd it come about?

Ann Sheridan
: Oh, it was built by the head of the publicity department when I was over at Warner Brothers. That was sometime in 1939. He hadAnn Sheridanpicked it up from a squib in Walter Winchell's column. Winchell had seen me in something or other, on of those four-line cleavage jobs -- God knows what -- and anyway he wrote, "There is this young Ann Sheridan and she's got an 'umphy' quality."

He used to make up those words, you know. But there it was in print, and Bob Tapliner, who was head of the publicity department, was looking for something that would get the studio into the papers -- to give it a little more publicity.

Mr. Warner
had probably been sitting in his barbershop chair reading a paper and not finding his name in it, and told the publicity department to get the studio some space. That was how these things worked, darling. So Bob changes the spelling to "Oomph" and organizes this dinner for the "Oomph Girl."

They got George Hurrell to make sexy-looking photos of me -- he didn't know what "oomph" was either, so he had me sit on a leopard-skin rug -- and they had twelve photographs blown up and hung all around the dining room. I believe Hedy Lamarr was one -- the back of her head, of course. I can't remember the others that were in the photographs, but in all of them the girl was standing this way (she covers her face with her hands; pulls her hat over her face; screws it up).

They got photographs of women hiding behind yashmaks. God, you wouldn't believe it -- it was all so funny, and there was this photo of me in the middle, sitting on a leopard skin. I was the only one whose face you would see in the photo.

It was nothing but a setup. These thirteen had-picked judges picked me as the most glamorous of all. Bob picked the men who were guests at the Oomph dinner -- all Warner contract people like Orry-Kelly, Rudy Vallee, Early Carroll and Busby Berkeley, who couldn't get out of it, and a free dinner for some journalists.

But it snowballed on them. Me too. They didn't realize at the studio what was happening at all, because the next day Jack Kelly, a friend of mine working in the publicity department, caught Jack Warner on his way to lunch and said, "What do you think of this, Mr. Warner?" showing him the paper that said "OOMPH GIRL, OOMPH DINNER" and had used a picture of me and a list of who was there and so forth. Warner looked at it and said, "She'll be dead in six months."

Ann SheridanHe didn't even know I was on the lot. But at least all the silly fuss gave me a chance to fight for better parts like the one in Kings Row (1941). Before then I had no parts worth remembering. Molls and nurses: just feminine leads, reactions. I did almost every B picture they made at Warner Brothers.

I did some things on loan-out to Universal that were a bit better and were I said something besides "He went that-a-way." Angels with Dirty Faces was the first "A" picture I had on the Warner Brothers lot.

You had to fight terribly hard to get a good part there. Even after. That Oomph thing snowballed -- but it gave me a tiny foot in the door.

When people asked me what it meant. I told them that it always reminded me of a fat man bending down to tie his shoelaces. The studio hated me saying that.

But at least it got me out of playing Sarah Keats in the Mignon Eberhart series. I thought I was going to spend my life in that. Haven't you ever read those, darlin'? They were murder mysteries, and I played this nurse. That's all I'd been doing. Whenever I tried to go for a part, they'd say, "Oh, but you're not an actress."

I had to fight for everything at Warners. From the casting director up to Jack Warner. Of course, at Warners everybody seemed to have to fight. Cagney and Davis. That's the only way it was done. A knock-down, drag-out fight. You didn't always win, but it let them know you were alive.

walked out of the studio on several occasions. Once refusing the role in Strawberry Blonde (1941) because she'd played too many like that already. It went to Rita Hayworth.

Another of
Sheridan's walkouts was over a salary dispute -- she was earning $700 a week and, being one of the studio's top assets, she felt she should get $2000. In the war years she was one of the handful of stars who traveled to the faraway corners of the global conflicts to entertain the troops almost on the line of fire.

The absence from the screen did not harm her popularity, and she got some of her best dramatic roles --
Nora Prentiss (1947) and The Unfaithful (1947) -- as well as her raise in salary after the war.

Ann Sheridan
: I would never have gotten the role of Randy Monaghan inAnn Sheridan Kings Row (1941) if I hadn't fought for it, and that was one of the best parts I ever had at the studio. I was very pleased having done that.

Actually, it was Bogie who told me about the book in the first place and told me to go and fight for it. We rehearsed three weeks before a shot was made.

I was happy with my role in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941), which I did simultaneously with the other film. They couldn't make you do that now. They'd have to pay you for two pictures. But at the time they'd often cast me in two films simultaneously, and I'd be running from one set to the other.

Mind you, for every good part I got, they would put me into two turkeys like Navy Blues and Honeymoon for Three. Then there'd be the scripts I turned down -- like Mildred Pierce! That's my fault! Nobody else to blame there.

The good thing about working at Warner Brothers was the spirit at the studio. It was a very good group. An absolute family. It was just incredible. I miss that. I was driving in there one day, this was several years after I'd left the studio, and Cary (Grant) and Betsy (Drake) were making a film there, and they asked a group of us over for lunch.

I was driving onto the lot, wondering if they'd let me on it even because I hadn't been there in so long I didn't know if the cop still knew me. Well -- you could have shot a cannon down the street.

There was nobody. No crew. None of the people I knew.

They're all in TV now. In the commissary it was incredible.

All the waitresses were gone. We sat at this table, and the group of us, and the rest of the room, that used to be so packed with people, was almost empty. It was like an old friend dying.

I'm terribly, terribly emotional about the old days at Warners and Paramount. The crews then and all the people were so wonderful to work with.

John Kobal: Did this include the front office?

Ann Sheridan
: No. No. It never includes the front office staff; these are the crews we worked with. The actors go along well together then; no dissension, no knock-down, drag-out struggles or feuds like you read about big stars in pictures now, were they say that so-and-so don't get along, and you know it means they hate each other. That never occurred, to my knowledge.

Ann SheridanJohn Kobal
: How about Miriam Hopkins and Bette Davis, or Davis and Crawford?

Ann Sheridan
: Ohh! Well, that. They...Those were love scenes, darling!

John Kobal
: Did you have any troubles with Davis when you worked together in Man Who Came to Dinner?

Ann Sheridan
: Oh, no. Very, very little. She wasn't happy about a lot of things. I suppose you're referring to that. But this had nothing to do with me. I adored her. Wouldn't dream of fighting her at all -- so she got very nice. She was just -- temperamental. Who isn't now and then? She probably hated her role.

John Kobal: There was always something about you that came across, a forthright, honest quality which made your work such a joy. How much did the directors like Curtiz or Walsh give you a free rein, or how much were they bound to studio's idea of projecting the image -- like, in your case, "Oomph"?

Ann Sheridan
: Well, actually, they just turned you loose to do what you wanted. They were perfectly willing to take an actor who is successful or established and let him do what he wants to do with the part. Now, nobody could tell Cary Grant how to do a scene.

No, there directors we had were brain-pickers. The know what they've got on the set -- and they're perfectly willing to abide by what the actor more or less decides he's going to do with a scene. I don't think anybody could fault Grant with playing comedy. He'd be the first to know if he did something that was wrong.

And no more could you fault Jimmy Cagney in his playing a scene. A tough guy. Or Bogart. No, dear, these people know what they're doing, and they (directors) knew that we knew ours.

Now only Ross Hunter and Cary Grant are making the sort of movies we made anymore. But it's passé now. They had to find something else, and eventually they will have to find something else again to replace whatever is popular now.

John Kobal: One of the first movies you made after buying your way out of your Warner Brothers' film contact was a film with Cary Grant directed by Howard Hawks --I Was a Male War Bride (1949). Ann Sheridan
Ann Sheridan
: I loved it. Ten months. I got pneumonia in England, where we went to shoot the film. I was the first one to collapse. And then, just after I had gotten back to working six hours a day, Cary came down with jaundice, hepatitis. Lord! The things we went through. We were doing a scene in the haystack -- you know, the scene where his motorcycle crashes into it and we have this love scene.

It's 4:00 in the afternoon, the fog is coming in under the door and I'm sitting there praying, "Oh, God, I hope he doesn't get my cold or pneumonia," because I could barely breathe as it was, loaded down with penicillin and all that nonsense, when suddenly Cary, who has just rewritten this scene with Howard, says, "You know Howard, I don't like this scene." And Howard said, "But Cary, you just wrote it." And Cary said, "I don't care, it's bloody awful. I don't like it."

And this isn't like him at all, and I looked at him and felt his forehead and it was awfully hot. Very dry. But I thought it was the haystack, you know, because it's in a tunnel, with the cameras, and we couldn't' smoke because the hay we treated with some sort of non-inflammable stuff. It was very warm in there, very uncomfortable.

sensed that something was wrong," "Well, all right, Cary, the fog is coming in anyway and interfering with the show. Why don't you go back to het hotel and rest? We'll shoot it tomorrow." At 2:00 that morning we called a doctor for Cary. He took a look and said, "This man has a very bad case of hepatitis. He can't work, he's gotta go to the hospital."

Well, I don't know how long we laid off, but I went to Paris, to Rome, then I came to California. I think it was three months before he could work. And all that time I was on full salary. The insurance company had to pay. Mind you, I cannot get insurance from Lloyds of London now unless there is a special rider on my insurance policy about respiratory ailments.

I had it three more times, once while making a film in Africa in 1957 -- Woman and the Hunter, they called it. Ugghhh. Don't see it, if you haven't. I'd rather you remembered me for something else, like Come Next Spring (1956). That was a good little picture.

It was a sleeper. If it had been sold properly, it could have done well. But, unfortunately, it was part of Steve Cochran's package for Republic, and Herbert Yates (the president of the studio) didn't care whether it sold or not. It was supposed to have A bookings all over the place. Well, it didn't. No point in crying over it, but it could have done well. But they had this personal feud going on between Steve and Yates, and the film paid for it. But I never got better word of mouth and reviews than for that. It was a sleeper that was never allowed to wake up. Republic was really a cowboy studio, you see.
Ann Sheridan
You know something? All the cowboy actors are far better off financially than any other actors in Hollywood. Randolph Scott is one of the richest actors in the business.

Gene Autry, Roy Rogers
. They all made fortunes. Dear Bill Boyd - he was absolutely broke when Hopalong Cassidy came out on TV -- he had lost his big ranch, magnificent place, and hadn't been working for a long time, but they had bought these Hopalong Cassidy films from Paramount and Bill had had a clever agent when he made them who got a clause in his contract so he would get money if they were ever sold on TV -- something like that.

This was a stroke of genius because I don't think many people were thinking about TV ever happening back then. This was while I was still at Paramount.

All of a sudden the TV network asks Bill to play the role in a new TV series as well, and he made an absolute fortune out of it. More than that, Clarence E. Mulford, who wrote the books and had never seen a cowboy in his life -- a dear little man, I had met him when I was in some of them at Paramount -- he gave Bill his TV rights. He said, "My needs are very simple. I don't' want any more money. If you play this part, that's all I ask."

had been one of his favorite actors, as he'd been mine. I first saw him in The Volga Boatman (1926). You never saw that. You're much too young. So, like in a good cowboy story, Bill got his ranch back, and he's retired and rich, and he doesn't have to work anymore. Now that's a happy ending.

I only realized much later that she must have been great pain all this time, as she was even than wasting away from incurable cancer. This was a known to her closest friends when she signed for the TV series.

It was a mark of the great and lasting affection she inspired in the people she knew and who had worked with her, who knew she was ill and that she needed work to take her mind off her illness, that they signed her for a TV series when they couldn't be certain she would be able to do more than a couple of shows.

But she had completed more than half the series and these episodes wereAnn Sheridan successful when shown.

I read in the paper that was flying to Los Angeles to Universal Studios to being work. Not having seen her for a couple of weeks, I wanted to her her to say goodbye.

Then I got a message that Miss Sheridan had called, and could I meet her at our usual rendezvous for lunch? It was a quarter to one when I got t he message and the lunch was for 1:00 p.m., so I flew out of the building and, for once in my life, arrived on the dot. I waited in the entrance leading into the dining room to catch my breath.

On the far side a group of waiters and customers stood around a table. I was wearing my glasses. At the center sat Ann.

What stopped me in my tracks this time was that here was the Ann Sheridan I remembered from her films. Her hair had been done; she was subtly but expertly made up. She radiated vitality and that brand of glamour you don't get anymore, as she signed napkins, check books and the odd slips of paper dug up for her to autograph.

She gave me a conspiratorial wink and pointed to the place beside her for me to sit. I was very pleased to be there and it must have showed. In a throaty aside that felt of laughter, she said "You prefer it like this, don't you darlin'?"

Our lunch was short because she had her plane to catch and other things to do before.

She said how happy she was to be going back to the Coast to work, and that her part was a good one.

She must have known she wouldn't be coming back. She looked sensational.

Then, before we said goodbye, she added, "You know darlin' I did this for you."

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