Modern Screen magazine, Sept 1944    cont'd

Mary and Dana got warm on this love stuff when he was making his first movie, "The Westerner", with Gary Cooper. He didn't have much to do besides say "They went that-a-way!" but he took it seriously. And when the casting director told him to let his hair and beard grow, Dana looked like a Canadian beaver with his winter coat. Right about then Mary said "Yes," and invited Dana to meet her friends. She didn't tell the chums that Dana was a struggling movie actor, so when he showed up with his wavy locks and with whiskers sprouting from all angles, some of them wondered if Mary had lost her mind.

Another locksmith for love to laugh at with Mary and Dana was Sam Goldwyn's hopes of building Dana up as a romantic threat. That meant no marriage.  Sam, however, didn't reckon on that stubborn Andrews personality. When Dana tackled him about mating up, Sam asked him to wait until he'd whizzed around Hollywood with a few glamour girls and got himself gossipped to greatness in the columns.

Weeks went by and months, with Dana pestering Sam to sanction the wedding, and Sam pestering Dana to get out and get himself a little glamour.
Finally, one day Sam met his protege on the lot.
"Mr. Goldwyn," Dana began as usual. "Are you going up to your office? I want to beard the lion in his den!"
"Beard me now," said Sam. "What is it -- that girl you want to marry?"
"Oh, go ahead," signed Goldwyn. "You're no good for glamour anyway. You might as well be married."
Dana could've told him that in the first place.

Mary and Dana Andrews live in a modern-colonial house on a tidy dead-end street in Sherman Oaks that's already too small. You see, they'd been married almost 3 years and as soon as they'd built the house, the stork started flapping his wings around the place. Daughter Kathy arrived, with no nursery and what with a war on, no building allowed. But the Andrews take life in stride and are perfectly relaxed about everything, so they're happy as larks.

Being an actress herself (although she thinks being a wife and mother is her top priority job now), Mary is a perfect mate for Dana. Besides having a non-participating actress wife's slant on a movie star husband's temperament, Dana thinks she's the best critic he's ever run up against. Mary's also the perfect partner to talk over a new part. But they seldom do any rehearsing around the house. Dana happens to have one of those memories that can learn a complete script after a few glances.

When he was shooting "The Purple Heart," Sam Levene was having double trouble with a particular speech, a long one that strung itself out over a couple days' shooting. Dana started kidding Sam about it, and as Levene takes his art pretty seriously, he got sore.
"Okay," he barked, "how would you like to learn it?"
"A cinch," scoffed Dana. "I could do it in 5 minutes."
"Fifty bucks you can't," Sam challenged. So they clocked him and Dana strolled outside. In five minutes he was back, to spout off the long tricky dialogue without one fluff.

Dana is just as easy and relaxed on a set as he is lounging around in his den. He can actually snooze right in front of a camera, and has.
The morning after baby Kathy arrived, Dana was knocked out from pacing the floor at the hospital. He dragged into the studio about noon and found the director waiting for him with a scene where Dana was supposed to be asleep as a posse surprises him. The cameraman marked off the spot where he was to feign sleep, and Dana plopped down. He went right off to dreamland, they burned lights on him and filmed takes all afternoon. He never woke up until 5:00 when it was time to go home.
"The most realistic performance I've ever seen," chuckled his director.
"Especially the sound effects."

He answered an offer to rename Dana Point, Calif.,
to Dana Andrews, Calif. with,
"It might have been different a year ago -- for $1000 I'd have changed MY name to Dana Point!"



Title of "highest paid nurse in H'wood" came when,
after once minding neighbor Jimmy Kerns' child,
Hal Wallis offered to up contract by $50,000 if
Dana'd agree to be his baby watcher!

on the domestic front...

Around the house Dana is a pretty ideal husband and father, except for a tendency to stay up all hours of the night. He got in the night reading habit years ago when he had plenty of time but no money. Dana doesn't mind making with the night life -- if it's in his own home. He has a cozy den and bar that's usually the center of things when his pals show up. Victor Jory, Moroni Olsen, Dorothy Adams, Bob Preston and Victor Mature (before they went away to war) were regulars. Sometimes Dana actually shows up at a cocktail party, but not often. His wife Mary is just as happy to be home too, what with the sitter problem what it is now.

Don't get the idea Dana's a lazybones, 'cause when he does go out, he admits his wife has to hire a team of mules to drag him home. Once on a bond-selling tour Dana got a balled-up billing as a comedian and found out just before he was to face a mob of about ten thousand.  Panicked, he asked Charlie Ruggles what in the world a comedian did.

"It's easy," cracked Charlie, "tell jokes."
"What jokes?" Dana wanted to know.
"I'll tell you some," said Charlie, whereupon he rattled off a sackful.
Dana went on and told the jokes and they rolled in the aisle. Finally they had to drag the guy off the platform, he liked it so much.

And about this industry business: Dana's pretty handy around the house, especially in the garden where he grew prize camellias before he got so busy he'd have to garden by flashlight. He makes kites and toys for the kids. He hates money matters, gets along with 15 bucks a week in his pocket, has a weakness for buying loud Argyle socks and never wearing them, hates to shave, and is nutty about dogs, although not necessarily the pedigreed kind. The Andrews family pooch, Michael, is a cocker of undetermined lineage.

Above all, Dana's a confessed family man. He'd like two or three more kids at least. With cooks and maids as scarce as old Bourbon, he still pitches in to help Mary in those departments. He warbles at his work -- about the only time these days that Dana sings, after all those lessons. What Dana wants to do with himself (he's 35) is simple, and he expresses it pronto when you ask him.
"I want to be an actor other actors respect," he says, "and I want to raise my family right. That's all."

Dana's dedication to family life springs from his own father, who died when Dana was just getting started in Hollywood. That's always been one of his big regrets, and he concentrates with unusual energy on being a good father himself, especially with his son David, whose own mother died so young.
David is a pretty good testimonial to Dana's paternal success. He's ten now, and a sturdy little gent, smart as a whip. He does occasionally make them blush when he casually mentions something that happened "before my mother and dad were married." It sounds funny, but it proves that as a stepmother Mary has been a big success.

David takes all Dana's movie roles straight - he walked off of "Swamp Water" when Walter Huston beat the blazes out of Dana, and he couldn't take what happened to his dad in "The Ox-Bow Incident" either. He was all puffed though, when his pop played a real hero for Uncle Sam in "The Purple Heart." For awhile Dana was certain that whether the rest of the fickle world knew him from Adam or not, he'd always be the favorite movie star of at least one fan - his son.
Then one night he made the mistake of taking David to a movie house playing "Crash Dive," the last picture Tyrone Power made before joining the Marines. Dana had a part in it and he thought David would like that.

Coming out after the picture, he casually asked him how he liked it.  David seemed torn by some kind of violent emotion, but finally spoke right out. "Well, Dad," he said, "you were pretty good and all.  But that Tyrone Power - wow! What a man!"

So maybe all Dana Andrews can do about this glamour-hero stuff is just keep hoping.


home  |  articles menu  |  next article