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Joan Blondell –

Blondell in WE'RE IN THE MONEY.

About Joan Blondell (1906 – 1979)

A lovable star with an energetic personality and big blue eyes, Rose Joan Blondell, the daughter of stage comic Eddie Blondell (one of the original Katzenjammer Kids), spent her childhood touring the world with her vaudevillian parents and was on the stage when she was three years old. For years, she toured the circuit with her parents.

Under the name Rosebud Blondell she won the 1926 Miss Dallas pageant and placed fourth for Miss America in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in September of that same year.

Born August 30, 1906 in New York City, New York, her acting career was strong in the 1930s-1970s.

Early in her career she appeared in several Broadway productions and in the Ziegfeld Follies before being paired with another unknown, actor James Cagney, in the stage musical Penny Arcade; a year later this became the film SINNERS HOLIDAY (1930), propelling her to stardom.

Joan Blondell spent eight years under contract with Warner Brothers, where she was cast as dizzy blondes and wisecracking gold-diggers. She generally appeared in comedies and musicals and was paired ten times on the screen with actor Dick Powell, to whom she was married from 1936-45. In the '50s she left films for the stage but later returned to films doing more mature character parts.

By the end of the decade, Joan had made nearly fifty films, despite having left Warners in 1939. Continuing to work regularly for the rest of her life, Blondell was well received in her later films.

Joan received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in THE BLUE VEIL (1951).

She was also featured prominently in A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945), NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947), DESK SET (1957), WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? (1957) and THE CINCINNATI KID (1965). Blondell was widely seen in two films released not long before her death, GREASE (1978) and the remake of THE CHAMP  (1979). In addition, John Cassavetes cast her as a cynical, aging playwright in his film OPENING NIGHT (1977).

Blondell appeared in various television programs too, including the episode "You're All Right, Ivy" of Jack Palance's circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth, which aired on ABC in the 1963—1964 television season. She co-starred in the ABC western series Here Come the Brides set in the Pacific Northwest of the 19th century. Her co-stars included singer Bobby Sherman.

Joan Blondell first married cinematographer George Barnes January 4, 1933. They had one child – Norman S. Powell who became an accomplished producer, director, and television executive – and divorced in 1936. On 19 September 1936, she married her second husband, actor, director, and singer Dick Powell. They had a daughter, Ellen Powell, who became a studio hair stylist, and Powell adopted her son by her previous marriage. Blondell and Powell were divorced on 14 July 1944.

On 5 July 1947, Blondell married her third husband, producer Mike Todd, whom she divorced in 1950. Their marriage was considered by many an emotional and financial disaster. An irresponsible, heavy spender, it did not take Todd long to run through Blondell's savings. It was rumored that Mike Todd dumped Joan Blondell for Elizabeth Taylor when in actuality Blondell left Todd of her own accord two years before he met Taylor.

Joan wrote a roman à clef novel entitled Center Door Fancy (New York: Delacorte Press, 1972), a thinly disguised autobiography.

She died of leukemia in Santa Monica, California at the age of 73 with her children and her sister at her bedside.

Blondell has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures, at 6309 Hollywood Boulevard.



Joan Blondell in TOPPER RETURNS (1941).




Joan Blondell in SUPPORT




Blondell in Burkes Law (TV show 1963-1965).