Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell
A.L. Schafer / Columbia Pictures

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Joan Blondell
Film: North side of the 6300 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Actress
Born Aug. 30, 1906 in New York, NY
Died Dec. 25, 1979 of leukemia in St. John's Hospital, CA

Actress Joan Blondell's vaudeville, stage, movie and television careers nearly equaled the span of her life.

In a career including performances in more than 90 movies, Blondell appeared with such stars as James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn.

She often was cast as a direct, brassy but warm-hearted blonde in those movies of the 1930s, but her characterizations deepened in the '40s as Aunt Cissy in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and as a carnival queen in "Nightmare Alley."

She was playing opposite James Cagney on Broadway when Warner Bros. talent scouts spotted and signed both of them to come to Hollywood.

The pretty blond and the whispery-voiced Cagney starred together nine times. Blondell appeared almost as many times with Humphrey Bogart.

After a voluntary absence for 10 years, Blondell began a comeback in 1965, trying again for stardom. She took minor parts like those she played at the beginning of her career.

In 1978, she won a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in John Cassavetes' "Opening Night."

For two seasons, Blondell played Lottie on ABC's "Here Comes the Brides" and had a featured role in NBC's "Banyon" series.

"My family is the only reason I stay out here and do some these guest shots," she told an interviewer in 1978. "Otherwise, I'd rather work in Macy's basement; there's more dignity to that. As we all know, it's tough being a lady—a female—in this business, and when you're an old female, well, you're damn near sunk. They don't think there's a story about an old gal."

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1951 Best Supporting Actress The Blue Veil Nomination

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