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Glenda Farrell

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Title: Glenda Farrell  
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Subject: List of American films of 1938, List of American films of 1934, The Personality Kid, Torchy Runs for Mayor, The Law in Her Hands
Collection: 1904 Births, 1971 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Actresses, Actresses from Oklahoma, American Film Actresses, American People of German Descent, American People of Irish Descent, American Stage Actresses, American Television Actresses, Burials at West Point Cemetery, Cancer Deaths in New York, Deaths from Lung Cancer, Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy Award Winners, People from Enid, Oklahoma, Warner Bros. Contract Players
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Glenda Farrell

Glenda Farrell
in the trailer for the film Havana Widows (1933)
Born (1904-06-30)June 30, 1904
Enid, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died May 1, 1971(1971-05-01) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death lung cancer
Occupation Actress
Years active 1928–1969
Spouse(s) Thomas Richards (1921–1929)
Dr. Henry Ross (1941–1971)
Children Tommy Farrell

Glenda Farrell (June 30, 1904 – May 1, 1971) was an American film actress, best known for her role as Torchy Blane in the 1930s film series.


  • Career 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Filmography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Farrell came to Hollywood towards the end of the silent era. She began her career with a theatrical company at the age of 7. She played the role of Little Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin. She paused at times to continue her education but appeared with a number of theatrical companies and in several Broadway productions.

She was in the cast of Cobra and The Best People with actress Charlotte Treadway, at the Morosco Theater in Los Angeles, California, in 1925.

Farrell was first signed to a long-term contract by First National Pictures in July 1930. She was given the female lead in Little Caesar directed by Mervyn Leroy.

Warner Brothers signed her to re-create on film the role she played in Life Begins on Broadway. Farrell worked on parts in twenty movies in her first year with the studio. She came to personify the wise-cracking, hard-boiled, and somewhat dizzy blonde of the early talkies, along with fellow Warner Brothers brassy blonde, Joan Blondell, with whom she would be frequently paired.

in Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933)

Her brassy persona was used to great effect in Little Caesar (1931) opposite Edward G. Robinson, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) opposite Paul Muni, Havana Widows (1933) with Blondell,"Mary Stevens, M.D." (1933) with Kay Francis, Gambling Ship (1933) opposite Cary Grant, Bureau of Missing Persons (1933) opposite Pat O'Brien, Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) opposite Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray, and The Big Shakedown (1934) with Charles Farrell and Bette Davis.

She became one of Warner Brothers’ most prolific actresses of the 1930s, solidifying her success with her own film series, as Torchy Blane, "Girl Reporter". In this role, Farrell was promoted as being able to speak 400 words in 40 seconds. Farrell would portray Torchy Blane in seven films, from 1937 to 1939. (Lola Lane played the role once in 1938, and Jane Wyman took it over for the final Torchy film, in 1939.)

in the first of the Torchy Blane series, Smart Blonde (1937)

In 1937 she starred opposite Dick Powell and Joan Blondell in the Academy Award nominated Lloyd Bacon and Busby Berkeley directed musical comedy Gold Diggers of 1937.

When her Warner Brothers contact expired in 1939 she opted to focus on her stage career once again. She said that working in plays gave her more of a sense of individuality whereas in films, " get frustrated because you feel you have no power over what you're doing."

Farrell went out of vogue in the 1940s but made a comeback later in life, appearing in Secret of the Incas (1954), the Charlton Heston adventure epic upon which Raiders of the Lost Ark was based a quarter century later,[1] and winning an Emmy Award in 1963, for her work in the television series Ben Casey. She made a guest appearance in a 5th season episode (1964) of the television series Bonanza in the role of Lulabelle 'Looney' Watkins, who helped out the character Hoss. She was appearing on Broadway in Forty Carats in 1969 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She remained with the show until ill health forced her departure in November 1970.

Glenda Farrell has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures, at 6524 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life

Farrell was born to Charles and Wilhelmina "Minnie" Farrell of Irish and German descent in Enid, Oklahoma, and she had two brothers named Richard and Gene. Her son with her first husband Thomas Richards was B-Western "sidekick" actor Tommy Farrell. She dated Hollywood film writer Robert Riskin in the early 1930s and married Jack Durant of the Mitchell and Durant vaudeville team in June 1931.[2] In 1941 Farrell became the wife of Dr. Henry Ross,[3] a West Point graduate and Army physician who served on General Eisenhower's staff.[4] In 1971, she died from lung cancer, aged 66, at her home in New York City and was interred in the West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.[5] When Ross, who did not remarry, died in 1991, he was buried with her.[4]


Year Film Role Notes
1928 Lucky Boy Bit Part uncredited
1931 Little Caesar Olga Stassoff
1932 Scandal for Sale Stella
Life Begins Florette Darien
Three on a Match Mrs. Black, Prisoner at Checkers Table uncredited
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang Marie
The Match King Babe
1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum Florence Dempsey
Grand Slam Blondie
Girl Missing Kay Curtis
The Keyhole Dot
How to Break 90#2: Position and Back Swing Golfer's Wife uncredited
Gambling Ship Jeanne Sands
Mary Stevens, M.D. Glenda Carroll
Lady for a Day Missouri Martin
Bureau of Missing Persons Belle Howard Saunders
Man's Castle Fay La Rue
Havana Widows Sadie Appleby
1934 The Big Shakedown Lily 'Lil' Duran
Hi, Nellie! Gerry Krale
I've Got Your Number Bonnie, aka Madame Francis
Dark Hazard Valerie 'Val' Wilson
Heat Lightning Mrs. 'Feathers' Tifton
Merry Wives of Reno Bunny Fitch
The Personality Kid Joan McCarty
Kansas City Princess Marie Callahan
The Secret Bride Hazel Normandie
1935 Gold Diggers of 1935 Betty Hawes
Traveling Saleslady Claudette Ruggles
Go Into Your Dance Molly Howard, aka Lucille Thompson
In Caliente Mis Clara Thorne
We're in the Money Dixie Tilton
Little Big Shot Jean
Miss Pacific Fleet Mae O'Brien
1936 Snowed Under Daisy Lowell, Wife #2
The Law in Her Hands Dorothy 'Dot' Davis
Nobody's Fool Ruby Miller
High Tension Edith McNeil
Here Comes Carter Verna Kennedy
Gold Diggers of 1937 Genevieve 'Gen' Larkin
1937 Smart Blonde Torchy Blane
Fly-Away Baby Torchy Blane
Dance Charlie Dance Fanny Morgan
You Live and Learn Mamie Wallis
Breakfast for Two Carol Wallace
The Adventurous Blonde Torchy Blane
Hollywood Hotel Jonesie
1938 Blondes at Work Torchy Blane
Stolen Heaven Rita
Prison Break Jean Fenderson
The Road to Reno Sylvia Shane
Exposed 'Click' Stewart
Torchy Gets Her Man Torchy Blane
1939 Torchy Blane in Chinatown Torchy Blane
Torchy Runs for Mayor Torchy Blane
1942 Johnny Eager Mae Blythe Agridowski
Twin Beds Sonya Cherupin
The Talk of the Town Regina Bush
1943 City Without Men Billy LaRue
A Night for Crime Susan
Klondike Kate Molly
1944 Ever Since Venus Babs Cartwright
1947 Heading for Heaven Nora Elkins
1948 I Love Trouble Hazel Bixby
Mary Lou Winnie Winford
Lulu Belle Molly Benson
1952 Apache War Smoke Fanny Webson
1953 Girls in the Night Alice Haynes
1954 Secret of the Incas Mrs. Winston
Susan Slept Here Maude Snodgrass
1955 The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing Mrs. Nesbit
1959 Middle of the Night Mrs. Mueller
1964 Bonanza-The Pure Truth Lulabelle 'Looney' Watkins
Kissin' Cousins Ma Tatum
The Disorderly Orderly Dr. Jean Howard
1968 Tiger by the Tail Sarah Harvey


  • Burlington, North Carolina Daily Times-News, Hollywood Gossip, March 29, 1934, Page 8.
  • Long Beach, California Press-Telegram, Film and Drama, June 22, 1952, Page 31.
  • Los Angeles Times, Studio and Stage, May 29, 1925, Page A7.
  • Los Angeles Times, Glenda Farrell Praised for Art in Best People, October 4, 1925, Page 23.
  • Los Angeles Times, Stage Star To Play In Films, July 9, 1930, Page A12.
  • Van Neste, Dan. Glenda Farrell, Diamond in the Rough Classic Images May, 1998.[6]
  • 1930 United States Federal Census, April 15, 1930, Enumeration District 19-30, Sheet 15-A.
  1. ^ Mike French & Gilles Verschuere (2005-09-14). "Debora Nadoolman interview". Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Actress To Wed In June, March 11, 1931, Page 11.
  3. ^ Valparaiso, Indiana. Vidette-Messenger, Glenda To Wed, February 6, 1941, Page 5.
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Henry Ross, 89, Eisenhower's Chief Of Health in War". New York Times. June 28, 1991. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  5. ^ European Stars and Stripes, Actress Glenda Farrell Dies in N.Y. at Age 67, May 3, 1971, Page 6.
  6. ^

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