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Anne Shirley

Anne Shirley

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Also Known As: Dawn Evelyeen Paris, Dawn O'Day, Dawn O'Day Died: July 4, 1993
Born: April 17, 1918 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Already performing as a toddler barely out of diapers, Anne Shirley toiled in the entertainment world for approximately 25 years. That in itself was not so unusual, but few actors or actresses with that sort of longevity could say that they retired before their 27th birthday. After years of minor appearances in largely unremarkable projects, Shirley had her big break when cast as Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved "Anne of Green Gables" (1934). While not all of her subsequent movies were memorable, Shirley was sometimes able to play more involved and interesting characters in fare like the classic "Stella Dallas" (1937), where her turn as star Barbara Stanwyck's daughter earned Shirley an Oscar nomination. In spite of that notoriety, RKO seemed content to mostly use the New York City native as sweet, uncomplicated nice girls in equally basic pictures, but the actress was able to revisit her most famous part in "Anne of Windy Poplars" (1940); "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1941) and the film noir thriller "Murder, My Sweet" (1944) also proved to be well above average. Tired of the industry and everything it entailed, she eventually decided to leave and remained mostly unheard from until her passing in...

Already performing as a toddler barely out of diapers, Anne Shirley toiled in the entertainment world for approximately 25 years. That in itself was not so unusual, but few actors or actresses with that sort of longevity could say that they retired before their 27th birthday. After years of minor appearances in largely unremarkable projects, Shirley had her big break when cast as Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved "Anne of Green Gables" (1934). While not all of her subsequent movies were memorable, Shirley was sometimes able to play more involved and interesting characters in fare like the classic "Stella Dallas" (1937), where her turn as star Barbara Stanwyck's daughter earned Shirley an Oscar nomination. In spite of that notoriety, RKO seemed content to mostly use the New York City native as sweet, uncomplicated nice girls in equally basic pictures, but the actress was able to revisit her most famous part in "Anne of Windy Poplars" (1940); "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1941) and the film noir thriller "Murder, My Sweet" (1944) also proved to be well above average. Tired of the industry and everything it entailed, she eventually decided to leave and remained mostly unheard from until her passing in 1993. Although she never really stretched herself much as an actress, Shirley was very good at pulling off the assignments for which she gained notice and her interpretation of Anne of Green Gables was able to stand the test of time.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Make Mine Laughs (1949)
3.
 Murder, My Sweet (1944) Ann Grayle
4.
 Music in Manhattan (1944) Frankie Foster
5.
 Man from Frisco (1944) Diana Kennedy
6.
 Government Girl (1944) May
7.
 Bombardier (1943) Burton "Burt" Hughes
8.
 The Powers Girl (1943) Ellen Evans
9.
 Lady Bodyguard (1943) A. C. Baker
10.
 The Mayor of 44th Street (1942) Jessie Lee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1921:
Began acting career at the age of 3, using the name Dawn O'Day (date approximate)
:
Earliest films include "Moonshine Valley" (1922) and "The Spanish Dancer" (1923)
1932:
Played the real-life Anastasia, heir to the throne, in "Rasputin and the Empress", a fictional film based on the lives of the mad monk and the declining Russian aristocracy
1934:
Changed her name to Anne Shirley when she played a role by that name in the popular RKO adaptation of the children's classic, "Anne of Green Gables"
1937:
Received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her best-remembered film, "Stella Dallas"
1944:
Last film, "Murder, My Sweet"; retired
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
John Payne. Actor. Married in 1937; divorced in 1943; born on May 23, 1912; died on December 6, 1989.
husband:
Adrian Scott. Producer. Married in 1945; divorced in 1949; born on February 6, 1912; died on December 25, 1972; was one of the "Hollywood Ten", a group of mostly screenwriters who were called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the late 1940s and refused to answer whether or not they had affiliations with the American Communist Party; subsequently served time in prison and was blacklisted.
husband:
Charles Lederer. Screenwriter. Married c. 1949; born on December 31, 1910; died on March 5, 1976; frequently collaborated with Ben Hecht.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Julie Anne Towne. Father, John Payne; survived her.
son:
Daniel Davies Lederer. Father, Charles Lederer; survived her.

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