Our target of this truth versus fiction exercise is known for being a Hollywood hunk, but that was not always the case. Who is our subject? It is Alan Ladd. Alan Walbridge Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the only child of an actress and a freelance accountant. His father died when he was four and that left his mother in a bit of a pickle. How to raise a son when you have no income?
Q1 – While playing with matches he burnt down his apartment?
True – While playing with matches as a child, he burned down the apartment where he and his mother lived. By the time he was eight he had jobs picking fruit, delivering newspapers and sweeping floors. Their poverty also led to his suffering from malnutrition-related stomach ailments.
Q2 – With few opportunities available to him, Ladd opened his own restaurant?
True – Ladd opened a hamburger shop after graduating high school called Tiny’s Patio; “Tiny” had been a nickname given to him while in school due to his height.
Q3 – Ladd’s army career was cut short?
True – He was drafted in January 1943 and discharged in November with an ulcer and double hernia.
Q3 – Hollywood recognized his greatness right away and immediately gave him starring roles!
False – His introduction to the entertainment industry included working as a grip for Warner Brothers and as a faceless reporter in the Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane. Throughout the 1940s his tough-guy roles packed audiences into theaters and he was one of the very few males whose cover photos sold movie magazines. After making a name for himself as a screen bad guy, he took on what proved to be his best-remembered role in the 1953 classic Shane.
Q4 – Despite his success, Alan Ladd was never considered one of the Hollywood Elite.
False – Ladd was among the top money-making stars in 1947, 1953 and 1954. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and two golden globe awards. I think that qualifies him for Hollywood elite.
Q4 – Alan Ladd died in 1964 from suicide.
False – In November 1962 he was found unconscious lying down with a bullet wound near his heart, a probable suicide attempt. In January 1964 he was found dead, apparently due to an accidental combination of alcohol and sedatives.
This Week’s Podcast:
On the show, we have a Suspense story starring Alan Ladd. We also, debut a brand new segment called, Is it true? You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer radio? We are heard every Saturday night at 6:00 pm (EST). Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.