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Ann Sheridan was born Clara Lou Sheridan in Denton, Texas in 1915. While in college, she won a beauty pageant where the first prize was a walk-on in a movie, Search for Beauty, and she went to Hollywood to claim her prize, and she never returned! She was just 19, and Paramount wisely signed her to a two year contract, and they put her in bit parts in 27 movies during those two years, but they could not see her as more than another pretty face, and after the two years they stupidly released her! After one movie for Universal, she signed with Warner Bros in 1937, and they changed her first name to Ann (at Paramount, she was billed as "Clara Lou") and they put her in 7 movies that year, and she finally got some leading roles, but it was her supporting role as Laury Ferguson opposite James Cagney in the classic Angels with Dirty Faces that really got her noticed, and she next co-starred with John Garfield in They Made Me a Criminal. She had an under-the-surface sexiness combined with a "girl next door" quality that many men found irresistible, and she was dubbed the "Oomph Girl", a nickname she hated. Even in the present day, there is no doubt that lots of young men continue to "discover" her, and fall in love with her onscreen image! Two of the movies that capitalized on her image were Naughty But Nice ("The 'OOMPH' Girls Greatest Tri'oomph'!") and Juke Girl ("She makes her living the hard way!"; "Sure she's easy to meet... but try and forget her!"). She remained quite popular during World War II, and was one of the top pin-ups of G.I.s. In Juke Girl she starred opposite Ronald Reagan, and she also co-starred with him in the serious (and uber-depressing) King's Row, but as the war ended her career began to wind down. She had one more memorable role, opposite Cary Grant in I Was a Male War Bride in 1949. Like many stars in a similar situation, she turned to television to revive her career, and she took a role on the soap opera, Another World, and got her own series, Pistols 'n' Petticoats, in 1966, but sadly she died of cancer before the first season was finished. She was one month shy of her 52nd birthday. Ann Sheridan had three very brief marriages, and no children. She was a private person who made no headlines, far different than the image Warner Bros tried to create for her during her glamour years. I wonder if she wouldn't have been happier if she had never entered that beauty contest when she was a teenager, and had stayed in Texas her entire life!
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