Carver Dana Andrews (January 1, 1909 – December 17, 1992), better known as Dana Andrews, was an American film actor. He was one of Hollywood's major stars of the 1940s, and continued acting, though generally in less prestigious roles, into the 1980s. One of his best-known roles, and the one for which he received the most praise, was as war veteran Fred Derry in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).
Andrews was born on a farmstead near Collins, Mississippi, the third of 13 children of Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister, and his wife Annis (née Speed). The family subsequently moved to Huntsville, Texas, the birthplace of his younger siblings, including future Hollywood actor Steve Forrest.
Andrews attended college at Sam Houston State University and studied business administration in Houston, Texas. In 1931, he traveled to Los Angeles, California, seeking opportunities as a singer. He worked various jobs, such as working at a gas station in Van Nuys. To help Andrews study music at night, "The station owners stepped in ... with a deal: $50 a week for full-time study, in exchange for a five-year share of possible later earnings."
Andrews signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn and nine years after arriving in Los Angeles was offered his first movie role in William Wyler's The Westerner (1940), starring Gary Cooper. He was also memorable as the gangster in the 1941 comedy Ball of Fire, again teaming with Cooper. In the 1943 movie adaptation of The Ox-Bow Incident with Henry Fonda, often cited as one of his best films, he played a lynching victim. His signature roles came as an obsessed detective in Laura (1944) opposite Gene Tierney, and as a U.S. Army Air Force officer returning home from the war in the Oscar-winning 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives. Both films became classics. In 1945, he co-starred with Jeanne Crain in the musical State Fair. In 1947, he was voted the 23rd most popular star in the U.S.
He played a brutal cop in Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), also with Tierney. Around this time, alcoholism began to derail Andrews' career, and on a couple of occasions it nearly cost him his life on the highway. By the middle 1950s, Andrews was acting almost exclusively in B-movies. A handful of films he starred in during the late 1950s, however, contain memorable work. Two movies for Fritz Lang in 1956, While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and two for Jacques Tourneur, Night of the Demon (1957) and The Fearmakers (1958), are well regarded.
From 1952 to 1954, Andrews starred in the radio series I Was a Communist for the FBI about the experiences of Matt Cvetic, an FBI informer who infiltrated the Communist Party. In 1963, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. Andrews later appeared in a leading role as college president Tom Boswell on the NBC daytime soap opera Bright Promise from its premiere on September 29, 1969 until March 1971. In 1960 he and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. starred in The Crowded Sky. Fifteen years later, Andrews and Zimbalist appeared in Airport 1975, Andrews playing a businessman pilot who has a heart attack and crashes his plane into a 747 that Zimbalist is flying.
In the 1970s, Andrews was active in real estate, telling a newspaper reporter that he had "one hotel that brings [him] in $200,000 a year."
Andrews married Janet Murray on December 31, 1932. Their son, David (1933–1964), was a musician and composer who died from a cerebral hemorrhage. Murray died in 1935 of pneumonia. On November 17, 1939, Andrews married actress Mary Todd, by whom he had three children: Katharine, Stephen, and Susan. For two decades, the family lived in Toluca Lake, California.
Andrews eventually brought his alcoholism under control and worked actively with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. In 1972, he appeared in a television public service advertisement on the subject.
He spent his final years living at the John Douglas French Center for Alzheimer's Disease in Los Alamitos, California.
In the last years of his life, Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease. In 1992, two weeks before his 84th birthday, he died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. His wife died in 2003 aged 86.
Lucky Cisco Kid (film debut, 1940) as Sergeant Dunn
Sailor's Lady (1940) as Scrappy Wilson
Kit Carson (1940) as Captain John C. Fremont
The Westerner (1940) as Sergeant Dunn
Tobacco Road (1941) as Captain Tim
Belle Starr (1941) as Maj. Thomas Crail
Swamp Water (1941) as Ben
Ball of Fire (1941) as Joe Lilac
Berlin Correspondent (1942) as Bill Roberts
Crash Dive (1943) as Lt. Cmdr. Dewey Connors
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) as Donald Martin
The North Star (1943) as Kolya Simonov
December 7th (1943) as Ghost of US Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor
Up in Arms (1944) as Joe
The Purple Heart (1944) as Capt. Harvey Ross
Wing and a Prayer (1944) as Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton
Laura (1944) as Det. Lt. Mark McPherson
State Fair (1945) as Pat Gilbert
Fallen Angel (1945) as Eric Stanton
A Walk in the Sun (1945) as Sgt. Bill Tyne
Canyon Passage (1946) as Logan Stuart
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) as Fred Derry
Boomerang (1947) as State's Atty. Henry L. Harvey
Night Song (1947) as Dan
Daisy Kenyon (1947) as Dan O'Mara
The Iron Curtain (1948) as Igor Gouzenko
Deep Waters (1948) as Hod Stillwell
No Minor Vices (1948) as Perry Ashwell
The Forbidden Street (1949) as Henry Lambert / Gilbert Lauderdale
Sword in the Desert (1949) as Mike Dillon
My Foolish Heart (1949) as Walt Dreiser
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) as Det. Mark Dixon
Edge of Doom (1950) as Father Thomas Roth
Sealed Cargo (1951) as Pat Bannon
The Frogmen (1951) as Jake Flannigan
I Want You (1951) as Martin Greer
Assignment – Paris! (1952) as Jimmy Race
Elephant Walk (1954) as Dick Carver
Duel in the Jungle (1954) as Scott Walters
Three Hours to Kill (1954) as Jim Guthrie
Smoke Signal (1955) as Brett Halliday
Strange Lady in Town (1955) as Dr. Rourke O'Brien
Comanche (1956) as Jim Read
While the City Sleeps (1956) as Edward Mobley
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) as Tom Garrett
Spring Reunion (1957) as Fred Davis
Zero Hour! (1957) as Lt. Ted Stryker
Night of the Demon (1957) as John Holden
The Fearmakers (1958) as Alan Eaton
Enchanted Island (1958) as Abner 'Ab' Bedford
The Crowded Sky (1960) as Dick Barnett
Madison Avenue (1961) as Clint Lorimer
The Satan Bug (1965) as Gen. Williams
In Harm's Way (1965) as Admiral Broderick
Crack in the World (1965) as Dr. Stephen Sorenson
Brainstorm (1965) as Cort Benson
Town Tamer (1965) as Tom Rosser
Berlin, Appointment for the Spies (1965) as Col. Lancaster
The Loved One (1965) as Gen. Buck Brinkman
Battle of the Bulge (1965) as Col. Pritchard
Johnny Reno (1966) as Johnny Reno
The Frozen Dead (1966) as Dr. Norberg
Hot Rods to Hell (1967) as Tom Phillips
Supercolpo da 7 miliardi (1967) as George Kimmins
The Cobra (1967) as Capt. Kelly
I diamanti che nessuno voleva rubare (1967) as Il gioielliere
The Devil's Brigade (1968) as Brig. Gen. Walter Naylor
The Failing of Raymond (1971) as Allan McDonald
Innocent Bystanders (1972) as Blake
Airport 1975 (1974) as Scott Freeman
Take a Hard Ride (1975) as Morgan
The Last Tycoon (1976) as Red Ridingwood
Good Guys Wear Black (1978) as Edgar Harolds
Born Again (1978) as Tom Phillips
The Pilot (1980) as Randolph Evers
Prince Jack (1985) as The Cardinal (final film role)
The Twilight Zone: "No Time Like the Past" (1963) as Paul Driscoll
Night Gallery: "The Different Ones" (1971) as Paul Koch
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: "Assault on the Tower" (1978) as Townley
Falcon Crest (TV series, two episodes) (1982/1983) as Elliot McKay