A lovable star with a vivacious personality, mesmerizing smile, and big blue eyes, Joan Blondell, the daughter of stage comic Eddie Blondell (one of the original Katzenjammer Kids), spent her childhood touring the world with her vaudevillian parents and appearing with them in shows. She joined a stock company at age 17, then came to New York after winning a Miss Dallas beauty contest. She then appeared in several Broadway productions and in the Ziegfield Follies before being paired with another unknown, actor James Cagney, in the stage musical Penny Arcade; a year later this became the film Sinners Holiday, propelling her to stardom. Blondell spent eight years under contract with Warner Bros., where she was cast as dizzy blondes and wisecracking gold-diggers. She generally appeared in comedies and musicals and was paired ten times on the screen with actor Dick Powell, to whom she was married from 1936-45. Through the '30s and '40s she continued to play cynical, wisecracking girls with hearts of gold appearing in as many as ten films a year during the '30s. In the '50s she left films for the stage, but then came back to do more mature character parts. Blondell is the author of a roman a clef novel titled Center Door Fancy (1972) and was also married to producer Mike Todd (1947-50).