January 1: Happy Birthday, Dana Andrews
Dana Andrews is appropriately called “The Face of Noir.” Born on January 1st, 1909, Dana traveled as a young man to Los Angeles in 1931 to try to make it as a singer. The next nine years of his life were spent working numerous different jobs while he studied opera and acting. He was sometimes best known for his radio role in I Was a Communist for the FBI.
Finally, Andrews was offered a contract by Sam Goldwyn in 1940. His first roles included The Westerner, Ball of Fire, and The Ox-Bow Incident. One of his most famous roles was an obsessed detective in the movie Laura, a part he would reprise on radio on both Lux Radio Theater and Screen Guild Players. He also starred as a crooked cop in Where the Sidewalk Ends and as a soldier returning home in The Best Years of Our Lives, a part he played again on the radio program Screen Directors' Playhouse.
Alcoholism took hold of Dana and his career in the 1950’s, He was relegated to mostly B-movies. Andrews would make several more guest appearances on radio, and even star in the program I Was a Communist for the FBI for over 70 episodes.
Andrews was finally able to get his alcoholism under control thanks to the discipline of fellow actor Ronald Reagan.