Alan Ladd was a short (5' 5"), unexpressive lead actor with icy good looks and a resonant voice. He worked a variety of odd jobs -- in addition to radio and in local theater -- before entering films in his late teens as a bit player and grip. In the mid-'30s, he began appearing regularly in minor screen roles. Hollywood agent Sue Carol discovered him and began trumpeting him as star material, and the actor eventually landed a major role in This Gun for Hire (1942) opposite Veronica Lake. He quickly became a major star, and was teamed with Lake in other films -- all hits. Ladd and Carol married in 1942, and she remained his agent for the rest of his life. On the Top Ten box-office attractions list in 1947, 1953, and 1954, he continued to star in films throughout the '50s, but -- with the exception of Shane (1953) -- few of his films were noteworthy; most were entertaining adventures featuring Ladd bare-chested and in fistfights, but, by the late '50s, their appeal was waning. Ladd was the father of actors Alan Ladd Jr. and David Ladd, and former child actress Alana Ladd. He died in 1964.