Joan Blondell, unknown date
 
Joan Blondell on Wikipedia
Joan Blondell on the Internet Movie Database
 
 
 
 
Joan Blondell with Dick Powell
Forecourt Ceremony held on Wednesday, February 10, 1937
 
Born: Rose Joan Blondell, August 30, 1906, in New York City, New York
Age at the time of the ceremony: 31
Died: December 25, 1979, In Santa Monica, California, age 73
 
Cute, vivacious, and funny, Joan Blondell sang and tapdanced her way into the hearts of America in the early sound period, then had a consideable career afterwards. She came to define what it meant to be "a trouper."

She had every reason to be — her parents were both vaudevillians of French / Irish ancestry. Cradled backstage in a property trunk, she made her debut as Peggy Astaire's daughter at the age of four months. When Rose Joan and her younger sister Gloria joined the act, the family were known as "The Bouncing Blondells."

Between the ages of eight and nine, the Blondells played in Honolulu, Hawaii, then, they spent the next six years in Australia. When Joan was fifteen, the family relocated to Dallas, Texas, where she won the 1929 Miss Dallas Beauty Pageant, then placed fourth in the Miss America Pageant in September 1926. In 1927, Joan headed for New York, where she joined a stock company.

She made her Broadway debut as a "replacement" in The Trial of Mary Dugan starring Ann Harding, in September 1929. In October of that year, she was in a play called Maggie the Magnificent, with rising star James Cagney. She also co-starred with Cagney in the flop Penny Arcade in March 1930.

But it pays to be in flops sometimes. Al Jolson saw the play and loved it, so he bought the film rights, then sold the rights to Warner Bros., insisting that Cagney and Blondell reprise their roles from the play. Blondell signed a contract with the studio; the film was given a snazzier title: Sinner's Holiday and was released in 1930.

Blondell appeared with Cagney in The Public Enemy (1931), and co-starred with him again in Blonde Crazy later that year. Warners' headlined her in many films before she wowed the country in Gold Diggers of 1933 (which played the Chinese in June, 1933; during the engagement, she appeared in person onstage during the evening performance on "Joan Blondell Day," Tuesday, June 27, 1933). Another great musical she starred in was Footlight Parade, with Cagney again, and crooner Dick Powell, whom she would marry in 1936.

When Powell's film On The Avenue opened at the Chinese in February, 1937, he and Blondell were asked to make their impressions in the forecourt. Despite the fact that Powell wrote "Thanks a Million" on his block, and Blondell wrote "Thanks Two Million" on the block next to his, photos show that Blondell made her instription first.

Despite being very busy and making tons of money, Blondell left Warner Bros. in 1939.

In 1943, Blondell starred on Broadway in producer Mike Todd's production of The Naked Genius. After divorcing Powell in 1944, Blondell and Todd would start a rocky marriage in 1947. Blondell took a supporting roles in the films Adventure (1945), and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (which played the Chinese in March, 1945), and Nightmare Alley (which played the Chinese in November, 1947). She spent the rest of the 1940s touring the country in musical comedies.

After her divorce from Todd in 1950, Blondell ramped up her film appearances, co-starring in The Blue Veil (1951), Desk Set (played the Chinese in May, 1957), and The Cincinnati Kid (1965). Blondell did a ton of television work, guesting on shows like The Real McCoys, The Twilight Zone, The Lucy Show, Family Affair, and Petticoat Junction.

Blondell captured the hearts of many a baby-boomer as a regular on the ABC show Here Come the Brides (1968-1970), then was a regular on Banyon (1971-1973) She had prominent supporting roles in the films Opening Night (1977), Grease (1978) and The Champ (1979).

Blondell died from lukemia on Christmas Day, 1979, surrounded by her two childen. She was 73.
 
 
Caption TK
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Dick Powell / Joan Blondell Forecourt ceremony, Wednesday, February 10, 1937. Cement artist Jean Klossner imprints the hand of Joan Blondell as Dick Powell looks on.
 
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