Born Joanne LaCock in Logan, West Virginia, on January 31, 1922, beautiful actress Joanne Dru went to New York as a teenager, following the death of her father. The gorgeous teenager soon found work as a Powers model and showgirl. In 1941 at the age of 19, Dru married crooner Dick Haymes. The newlyweds moved to California soon afterward, as Haymes had signed a film contract with 20th Century-Fox. The couple eventually had two daughters and a son. As Haymes' film career began to ebb in the late 1940s, Joanne Dru's acting career gained momentum.

Joanne Dru

Early 1950s cheesecake photo of Joanne Dru

For her first film, she landed the starring role in Abie's Irish Rose (1946), but the film flopped at the box office and was slaughtered by critics. Her next role, however, was in Howard Hawk's hit western Red River (1948; with John Wayne), in which she costarred with John Ireland. By this time her marriage to Haymes was disintegrating, and in 1949 Dru divorced Haymes and married Ireland. Dru and Ireland made a number of films together, including All the King's Men (1949; with Broderick Crawford), Vengeance Valley (1951; with Burt Lancaster), Hannah Lee (1953; with Macdonald Carey), and Southwest Passage (1954; with Rod Cameron). Although she appeared in a healthy dose of dramas and film noir thrillers, due to her frequent appearances in westerns Dru found herself typecast by the late 1950s.

the films of joanne dru

Abie's Irish Rose (1946)

Poster from Abie's Irish Rose

Poster from Dru's first film, Abie's Irish Rose, released by United Artists

All the King's Men (1950)

Joanne Dru and John Ireland

From the Columbia drama All the King's Men with John Ireland. Dru and Ireland were married from 1949 to 1957

My Pal Gus (1952)

Joanne Dru and Richard Widmark

With Richard Widmark in the 20th Century Fox comedy My Pal Gus

Forbidden (1953)

Joanne Dru and Tony CurtisJoanne Dru and Tony Curtis

With Tony Curtis in Universal-International's film noir release Forbidden

Thunder Bay (1953)

Joanne Dru in Thunder BayJoanne Dru in Thunder Bay

From the Universal-International adventure Thunder Bay

The Ford Television Theatre (1952-1957 NBC/ABC TV Series)

Joanne Dru and Scott Brady

With Scott Brady from a comedic April 1953 episode of The Ford Television Theatre titled Just What the Doctor Ordered

3 Ring Circus (1954)

Joanne Dru, Dean Martin, and Zsa Zsa Gabor

With Dean Martin and Zsa Zsa Gabor in the Martin and Lewis comedy 3 Ring Circus, released by Paramount

Duffy of San Quentin (1954)

Joanne Dru and Louis Hayward

With Louis Hayward in Universal's Duffy of San Quentin

The Light in the Forest (1958)

Joanne Dru and Fess Parker

With Fess Parker in the Disney film The Light in the Forest

The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Joanne Dru, Audie Murphy, and Peter Breck

From the Universal-International western The Wild and the Innocent with Audie Murphy and Peter Breck

September Storm (1960)

Joanne Dru

From the 20th Century Fox adventure September Storm

Sylvia (1965)

George Maharis and Joanne Dru

From the Paramount drama Sylvia with George Maharis

The Long, Hot Summer (1965-66 ABC TV Series)

Joanne Dru and Roy Thinnes

With Roy Thinnes in an episode of the ABC TV series The Long, Hot Summer entitled Nor Hell a Fury, which originally aired December 9, 1965

later years

Beyond 1960, Dru made just two more films. Throughout the 1960s, her acting career flourished on television, where she took guest spots in many shows. Dru's brother, comedian and game show host Peter Marshall, invited her to appear on Hollywood Squares numerous times in the 1960s and 1970s. After Dru's divorce from John Ireland in 1957, she married two more times. Her third husband died in 1972, and and fourth husband left her a widow in 1992. Sadly, by this time Dru's health had begun to deteriorate, and she passed away on September 10, 1996, at the age of 74. She was survived by her three children.

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Super Fuzz (1980) with Terence Hill and Ernest Borgnine
Sylvia (1965) with Carroll Baker, George Maharis, Peter Lawford, and Nancy Kovack
September Storm (1960) with Mark Stevens
The Wild and the Innocent (1959) with Audie Murphy, Gilbert Roland, Sandra Dee, Peter Breck, and Jim Backus
The Light in the Forest (1958) with Fess Parker, Wendell Corey, and Carol Lynley
Drango (1957) with Jeff Chandler, Julie London, John Lupton, and Morris Ankrum
Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) with Alan Ladd, Edward G. Robinson, and Fay Wray
Sincerely Yours (1955) with Liberace, Dorothy Malone, Guy Williams, and Lori Nelson
The Warriors (1955) with Errol Flynn and Christopher Lee
Day of Triumph (1954) with Lee J. Cobb and Mike Connors
Duffy of San Quentin (1954) with Louis Hayward and Maureen O'Sullivan
The Siege at Red River (1954) with Van Johnson, Richard Boone, and Jeff Morrow
Three Ring Circus (1954) with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Zsa Zsa Gabor
Southwest Passage (1954) with John Ireland and Rod Cameron
City of Bad Men (1953) with Jeanne Crain, Dale Robertson, Lloyd Bridges, and Carl Betz
Forbidden (1953) with Tony Curtis
Hannah Lee (1953) with John Ireland and Macdonald Carey; directed by John Ireland and originally released in 3-D
Thunder Bay (1953) with James Stewart and Gilbert Roland
The Pride of St. Louis (1952) with Dan Dailey
Return of the Texan (1952) with Dale Robertson, Richard Boone, and Robert Horton
My Pal Gus (1952) with Richard Widmark
Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951) with Clifton Webb and Hugh Marlowe
Vengeance Valley (1951) with Burt Lancaster, John Ireland, Sally Forrest, and Hugh O'Brian
711 Ocean Drive (1950) with Edmond O'Brien
Wagon Master (1950) with Ben Johnson
All the King's Men (1949) with John Ireland, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, and John Derek
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) with John Wayne, John Agar, George O'Brien, and Tom Tyler
Red River (1948) with John Wayne, John Ireland, and Coleen Gray
Abie's Irish Rose (1946)

Guestward Ho!, 1960-1961 ABC TV series. Dru portrayed Babs Hooton

Marcus Welby, M.D., episode Dark Corridors, originally aired March 4, 1975
The Smith Family, episode Remember Lisa, originally aired March 31, 1971
The Governor & J.J., episode P.S. I Don't Love You, originally aired December 16, 1970
The Governor & J.J., episode Bye, George, originally aired February 17, 1970
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, episode To Sleep, Perchance to Scream, originally aired May 10, 1967
The Green Hornet, episode Corpse of the Year: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired January 13 and 20, 1967
The Long, Hot Summer, episode Nor Hell a Fury, originally aired December 9, 1965
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed the Eleventh Best Dressed Woman in the World?, originally aired April 24, 1964
Goodyear Theatre, episode Capital Gains, originally aired February 1, 1960
The David Niven Show, episode The Lady from Winnetka, originally aired May 26, 1959
The Red Skelton Hour, episode Valentine Day's Double Date, originally aired December 2, 1958
Colgate Theatre, episode Adventures of a Model, originally aired August 19, 1958
G.E. True Theater, episode All I Survey, originally aired February 2, 1958
Studio One in Hollywood, episode The Brotherhood of the Bell, originally aired January 6, 1958
Wagon Train, episode The Nels Stack Story, originally aired October 23, 1957
Lux Video Theatre, episode Paris Calling, originally aired May 30, 1957
Playhouse 90, episode The Blackwell Story, originally aired February 28, 1957
Climax!, episode Night Shriek, originally aired November 15, 1956
Studio 57, episode Palm Springs Incident, originally aired October 21, 1956
Lux Video Theatre, episode Flamingo Road, originally aired October 18, 1956
Celebrity Playhouse, episode Shadow of a Thief, originally aired March 20, 1956
Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, episode The Mirror, originally aired February 28, 1956
Schlitz Playhouse, episode The Gentle Stranger, originally aired February 3, 1956
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Passage to Yesterday, originally aired November 24, 1955
The Loretta Young Show, episode The Waiting Game, originally aired October 9, 1955
Climax!, episode The Darkest Hour, originally aired March 24, 1955
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Celebrity, originally aired March 17, 1955
The Star and the Story, episode Brief Affair, originally aired February 12, 1955
Four Star Playhouse, episode A Kiss for Mr. Lincoln, originally aired February 3, 1955
Lux Video Theatre, episode An Angel Went AWOL, originally aired October 21, 1954
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Yours for a Dream, originally aired April 8, 1954
Lux Video Theatre, episode Call Off the Wedding, originally aired January 7, 1954
The Revlon Mirror Theater, episode Heads or Tails, originally aired September 26, 1953
Schlitz Playhouse, episode Richard and the Lion, originally aired July 3, 1953
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Just What the Doctor Ordered, originally aired April 9, 1953
Robert Montgomery Presents, episode Betrayed, originally aired March 2, 1953
Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, episode The Silver Cord, originally aired January 26, 1951

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Watch Joanne Dru's 1951 film Vengeance Valley

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