Glenda Farrell

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Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell in Havana Widows trailer cropped.jpg
in the trailer for the film Havana Widows (1933)
Born(1904-06-30)June 30, 1904
Enid, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedMay 1, 1971(1971-05-01) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
lung cancer
Years active1928–1969
Spouse(s)Thomas Richards (1921–1929)
Dr. Henry Ross (1941–1971)
ChildrenTommy Farrell
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Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell in Havana Widows trailer cropped.jpg
in the trailer for the film Havana Widows (1933)
Born(1904-06-30)June 30, 1904
Enid, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedMay 1, 1971(1971-05-01) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
lung cancer
Years active1928–1969
Spouse(s)Thomas Richards (1921–1929)
Dr. Henry Ross (1941–1971)
ChildrenTommy Farrell

Glenda Farrell (June 30, 1904 – May 1, 1971) was an American film actress, best known for her role as Torchy Blane in the 1930s film series.


Farrell came to Hollywood towards the end of the silent era. Farrell began her career with a theatrical company at the age of 7. She played the role of Little Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin. She paused at times to continue her education but appeared with a number of theatrical companies and in several Broadway productions.

She was in the cast of Cobra and The Best People with actress Charlotte Treadway, at the Morosco Theater in Los Angeles, California, in 1925.

Farrell was first signed to a long-term contract by First National Pictures in July 1930. She was given the female lead in Little Caesar directed by Mervyn Leroy.

Warner Brothers signed her to re-create on film the role she played in Life Begins on Broadway. Farrell worked on parts in twenty movies in her first year with the studio. She came to personify the wise-cracking, hard-boiled, and somewhat dizzy blonde of the early talkies, along with fellow Warner Brothers brassy blonde, Joan Blondell, with whom she would be frequently paired.

in Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933)

Her brassy persona was used to great effect in Little Caesar (1931) opposite Edward G. Robinson, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) opposite Paul Muni, Havana Widows (1933) with Blondell,"Mary Stevens, M.D." (1933) with Kay Francis, Gambling Ship (1933) opposite Cary Grant, Bureau of Missing Persons (1933) opposite Pat O'Brien, Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) opposite Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray, and The Big Shakedown (1934) with Charles Farrell and Bette Davis.

She became one of Warner Brothers’ most prolific actresses of the 1930s, solidifying her success with her own film series, as Torchy Blane, "Girl Reporter". In this role, Farrell was promoted as being able to speak 400 words in 40 seconds. Farrell would portray Torchy Blane in seven films, from 1937 to 1939. (Lola Lane played the role once in 1938, and Jane Wyman took it over for the final Torchy film, in 1939.)

in the first of the Torchy Blane series, Smart Blonde (1937)

In 1937 she starred opposite Dick Powell and Joan Blondell in the Academy Award nominated Lloyd Bacon and Busby Berkeley directed musical comedy Gold Diggers of 1937.

When her Warner Brothers contact expired in 1939 she opted to focus on her stage career once again. She said that working in plays gave her more of a sense of individuality whereas in films, " get frustrated because you feel you have no power over what you're doing."

Farrell went out of vogue in the 1940s but made a comeback later in life, appearing in Secret of the Incas (1954), the Charlton Heston adventure epic upon which Raiders of the Lost Ark was based a quarter century later,[1] and winning an Emmy Award in 1963, for her work in the television series Ben Casey. She made a guest appearance in a 5th season episode (1964) of the television series Bonanza in the role of Lulabelle 'Looney' Watkins, who helped out the character Hoss. She was appearing on Broadway in Forty Carats in 1969 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She remained with the show until ill health forced her departure in November 1970.

Glenda Farrell has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures, at 6524 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life[edit]

Farrell was born to Charles and Wilhelmina "Minnie" Farrell of Irish and German descent in Enid, Oklahoma, and she had two brothers named Richard and Gene. Her son with her first husband Thomas Richards was B-Western "sidekick" actor Tommy Farrell. She dated Hollywood film writer Robert Riskin in the early 1930s and married Jack Durant of the Mitchell and Durant vaudeville team in June 1931.[2] In 1941 Farrell became the wife of Dr. Henry Ross,[3] a West Point graduate and Army physician who served on General Eisenhower's staff.[4] In 1971, she died from lung cancer, aged 66, at her home in New York City and was interred in the West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.[5] When Ross, who did not remarry, died in 1991, he was buried with her.[4]


1928Lucky BoyBit Partuncredited
1931Little CaesarOlga Stassoff
1932Scandal for SaleStella
Life BeginsFlorette Darien
Three on a MatchMrs. Black, Prisoner at Checkers Tableuncredited
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain GangMarie
The Match KingBabe
1933Mystery of the Wax MuseumFlorence Dempsey
Grand SlamBlondie
Girl MissingKay Curtis
The KeyholeDot
How to Break 90#2: Position and Back SwingGolfer's Wifeuncredited
Gambling ShipJeanne Sands
Mary Stevens, M.D.Glenda Carroll
Lady for a DayMissouri Martin
Bureau of Missing PersonsBelle Howard Saunders
Man's CastleFay La Rue
Havana WidowsSadie Appleby
1934The Big ShakedownLily 'Lil' Duran
Hi, Nellie!Gerry Krale
I've Got Your NumberBonnie, aka Madame Francis
Dark HazardValerie 'Val' Wilson
Heat LightningMrs. 'Feathers' Tifton
Merry Wives of RenoBunny Fitch
The Personality KidJoan McCarty
Kansas City PrincessMarie Callahan
The Secret BrideHazel Normandie
1935Gold Diggers of 1935Betty Hawes
Traveling SalesladyClaudette Ruggles
Go Into Your DanceMolly Howard, aka Lucille Thompson
In CalienteMis Clara Thorne
We're in the MoneyDixie Tilton
Little Big ShotJean
Miss Pacific FleetMae O'Brien
1936Snowed UnderDaisy Lowell, Wife #2
The Law in Her HandsDorothy 'Dot' Davis
Nobody's FoolRuby Miller
High TensionEdith McNeil
Here Comes CarterVerna Kennedy
Gold Diggers of 1937Genevieve 'Gen' Larkin
1937Smart BlondeTorchy Blane
Fly-Away BabyTorchy Blane
Dance Charlie DanceFanny Morgan
You Live and LearnMamie Wallis
Breakfast for TwoCarol Wallace
The Adventurous BlondeTorchy Blane
Hollywood HotelJonesie
1938Blondes at WorkTorchy Blane
Stolen HeavenRita
Prison BreakJean Fenderson
The Road to RenoSylvia Shane
Exposed'Click' Stewart
Torchy Gets Her ManTorchy Blane
1939Torchy Blane in ChinatownTorchy Blane
Torchy Runs for MayorTorchy Blane
1942Johnny EagerMae Blythe Agridowski
Twin BedsSonya Cherupin
The Talk of the TownRegina Bush
1943City Without MenBilly LaRue
A Night for CrimeSusan
Klondike KateMolly
1944Ever Since VenusBabs Cartwright
1947Heading for HeavenNora Elkins
1948I Love TroubleHazel Bixby
Mary LouWinnie Winford
Lulu BelleMolly Benson
1952Apache War SmokeFanny Webson
1953Girls in the NightAlice Haynes
1954Secret of the IncasMrs. Winston
Susan Slept HereMaude Snodgrass
1955The Girl in the Red Velvet SwingMrs. Nesbit
1959Middle of the NightMrs. Mueller
1964Bonanza-The Pure TruthLulabelle 'Looney' Watkins
Kissin' CousinsMa Tatum
The Disorderly OrderlyDr. Jean Howard
1968Tiger by the TailSarah Harvey


  1. ^ Mike French & Gilles Verschuere (2005-09-14). "Debora Nadoolman interview". Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Actress To Wed In June, March 11, 1931, Page 11.
  3. ^ Valparaiso, Indiana. Vidette-Messenger, Glenda To Wed, February 6, 1941, Page 5.
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Henry Ross, 89, Eisenhower's Chief Of Health in War". New York Times. June 28, 1991. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  5. ^ European Stars and Stripes, Actress Glenda Farrell Dies in N.Y. at Age 67, May 3, 1971, Page 6.
  6. ^

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