The Info List - Glenda Farrell

Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
(June 30, 1904 – May 1, 1971)[1] was an American actress of film, television, and theater. She is best known for her role as Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
in the Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
film series and the Academy Award-nominated films Little Caesar (1931), I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), and Lady for a Day
Lady for a Day
(1933). With a career spanning more than 50 years, Farrell appeared in over 100 films and television series, as well as numerous Broadway plays.[2] She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
on February 8, 1960, and won an Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for best supporting actress for her performance in the television series Ben Casey
Ben Casey
in 1963.


1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 1928–1939: Stage and films

2.1.1 Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane

2.2 1939–1969: Television, stage, and films

3 Influence 4 Personal life 5 Death 6 Filmography

6.1 Film 6.2 Television

7 References 8 External links

Early life[edit] Farrell was born to Charles and Wilhelmina "Minnie" Farrell of Irish and German descent in Enid, Oklahoma. After her family moved to Wichita, Kansas, Farrell began acting on stage with a theatrical company at age seven, playing the role of Little Eva in the play Uncle Tom's Cabin. She received a formal education at the Mount Carmel Catholic Academy.[3] When her family moved to San Diego, California, she joined the Virginia Brissac Stock Company. Farrell made the third honor roll in Motion Picture Magazine’s "Fame and Fortune Contest". Her picture and biography were featured in the magazine’s April 1919 issue, which also stated that Farrell had some experience in the chorus, vaudeville, and camp entertainments.[4] Career[edit] 1928–1939: Stage and films[edit] In 1928, Farrell was cast as the lead actress in the play The Spider and made her film debut in a minor role in Lucky Boy. Farrell moved to New York City
New York City
in 1929, where she replaced Erin O'Brien-Moore
Erin O'Brien-Moore
as Marion Hardy in Aurania Rouverol's play Skidding. The play later served as the basis for the Andy Hardy
Andy Hardy
film series. By April 1929, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that she had played the role 355 times. Farrell appeared in a number of other plays, including Divided Honors, Recapture, and Love, Honor and Betray with George Brent, Alice Brady, and Clark Gable.

Farrell in I've Got Your Number (1934)

In 1930, she starred in the comedy short film The Lucky Break with Harry Fox, and in July 1930 Film Daily
Film Daily
announced that Farrell had been cast in Mervyn LeRoy's film Little Caesar as the female lead, Olga Stassoff. Afterward, she returned to Broadway and starred in On the Spot at the Forrest Theater. At the time, Farrell conceded that motion pictures offered immense salaries, but felt the theater was the foundation of the actor's profession.[4] She appeared in several more plays, and in 1932, starred in the hit play Life Begins. Her performance in the play caught the attention of Jack Warner, who signed her to a long-term contract with the Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
film studio and cast her to recreate the role in Warner Bros.' film adaptation of Life Begins later that year. Farrell did not return to the stage until 1939. In her first two years with Warner Bros., Farrell starred in 17 films, including Girl Missing
Girl Missing
(1933), Gambling Ship
Gambling Ship
(1933), Man's Castle (1933) opposite Spencer Tracy, and Columbia Pictures' Lady for a Day (1933) by director Frank Capra. Farrell often worked on four films at once and managed to transition from one role to another effortlessly. She worked in over 20 movies between 1934 and 1936, starring in such films as Go into Your Dance
Go into Your Dance
(1935), Little Big Shot
Little Big Shot
(1935), and High Tension (1936). She appeared with Dick Powell
Dick Powell
and Joan Blondell
Joan Blondell
in the Academy Award-nominated Gold Diggers of 1935
Gold Diggers of 1935
and Gold Diggers of 1937 musical film series. Farrell was very close friends with fellow Warner Bros. actress Joan Blondell,[5] and throughout the early 1930s, they were paired as bombshell comedy duo in a series of five Warner Bros. movies: Havana Widows
Havana Widows
(1933), Kansas City Princess (1934), Traveling Saleslady (1935), We're in the Money (1935), and Miss Pacific Fleet (1935). Farrell and Blondell co-starred in a total of nine films. Together, they came to personify the smart and sassy, wisecracking dames of '30s and '40s film. Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
series[edit] In 1937, Farrell was given her own film series as Torchy Blane, "Girl Reporter".[6] In this role, she was promoted as being able to speak 400 words in 40 seconds. Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
began to develop a film adaptation of "MacBride and Kennedy" stories by detective novelist Frederick Nebel in 1936. For the film version, Kennedy is changed to a woman named Teresa "Torchy" Blane, in love with MacBride's character. Director Frank MacDonald immediately knew whom he wanted for the role of Torchy Blane. Farrell had already proved that she could play hard-boiled reporters in Mystery of the Wax Museum
Mystery of the Wax Museum
(1933) and Hi, Nellie! (1934). She was quickly cast as Torchy with Barton MacLane playing detective Steve McBride in the first Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
film, Smart Blonde. On her portrayal of the Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
character, Farrell said in her 1969 Time interview:

So before I undertook to do the first Torchy, I determined to create a real human being—and not an exaggerated comedy type. I met those [news-women] who visited Hollywood and watched them work on visits to New York City. They were generally young, intelligent, refined, and attractive. By making Torchy true to life, I tried to create a character practically unique in movies.[7]

Farrell in the first Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
film, Smart Blonde
Smart Blonde

Smart Blonde
Smart Blonde
was a surprise hit and became a popular second feature with moviegoers. Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
starred her in several more Torchy Blane movies opposite Barton MacLane. She portrayed Torchy in seven films from 1937 to 1939. The films took Farrell's popularity to a new level. She was beloved by the moviegoing public and received a huge amount of fan mail for the films. Along with starring in the Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
series, Farrell appeared in a number of other films, including Breakfast for Two
Breakfast for Two
(1937), Hollywood Hotel (1937), and Prison Break (1938). Additionally, she performed in several radio series, including Vanity and Playhouse in 1937, and Manhattan Latin with Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey Bogart
in 1938. Farrell was elected to a one-year term as the honorary mayor of North Hollywood in 1937, beating her competition Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
and Lewis Stone by a three-to-one margin. Despite the fact that it began as a Warner Bros. publicity stunt, Farrell took the job very seriously, attending functions, presentations, and ceremonies. She was also put in charge when the North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that it wanted to put sewers along Ventura Highway and started the groundwork for that project.[8] In 1939, after eight years working in films, when her Warner Bros. contract expired, Farrell left the studio and returned to the theater. "There's something more satisfying about working in a play. You get that immediate response from the audience, and you feel that your performance is your own. In pictures, you get frustrated because you feel you have no power over what you’re doing", Farrell told syndicated columnist Bob Thomas in 1952. 1939–1969: Television, stage, and films[edit] Farrell starred in the lead role in the play Anna Christie
Anna Christie
at the Westport Country Playhouse
Westport Country Playhouse
in July 1939, then followed that with a summer stock production of S. N. Behrman's play Brief Moment. She co-starred with Lyle Talbot
Lyle Talbot
and Alan Dinehart
Alan Dinehart
in the long-running play Separate Rooms at Broadway's Plymouth Theater for a successful 613-performance run throughout 1940 and '41. In 1941, Farrell returned to motion pictures, starring in director Mervyn LeRoy's film noir, Johnny Eager. She starred in the play The Life of Reilly on Broadway in April 1942. Throughout the '40s, '50s, and '60s, Farrell continued to appear in numerous films, including the Academy Award-nominated The Talk
of the Town (1942), Heading for Heaven (1947), and the 1954 Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston
adventure epic Secret of the Incas, upon which the film Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark
(1981) was based a quarter-century later.[9] She starred in the comedy films Kissin' Cousins
Kissin' Cousins
with Elvis Presley, and The Disorderly Orderly
The Disorderly Orderly
with Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis
in 1964. In both films, Farrell co-starred with her son, Tommy Farrell. Farrell made her television debut in 1949 in the anthology series The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre. She appeared in over 40 television series between 1950 and 1969, including Kraft Theatre, Studio One in Hollywood, The United States Steel Hour, Bonanza, and Bewitched. She won the Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for outstanding performance in a supporting role by an actress in 1963 for her performance as Martha Morrison in the medical drama series Ben Casey. Farrell briefly retired in 1968, but soon decided to return to acting. Farrell's final work in her long career was the Broadway play Forty Carats. She was appearing in Forty Carats at the Morosco Theatre
Morosco Theatre
until ill health forced her to leave the play a few months later. Farrell was eventually diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.[10] Farrell has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
for her contribution to motion pictures, at 6524 Hollywood Boulevard.[11] Influence[edit] Farrell's portrayal of Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
was credited by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel
Jerry Siegel
as the inspiration for the Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane.[12] Siegel also named June Farrell, one of the characters in his Funnyman comic book series, after Farrell. Personal life[edit] In 1920, Farrell was hired to do a dance routine at a San Diego
San Diego
Navy benefit ball and met her first husband, Thomas Richards.[13] They were married from 1921 to 1929. Their son, actor Tommy Farrell, was born in 1921. In 1931, she was engaged to Jack Durant of the comedy duo "Mitchell and Durant", but never married him.[14] She dated screenwriter Robert Riskin
Robert Riskin
a few years later. Farrell married Dr. Henry Ross in 1941,[15] a staff surgeon at New York's Polyclinic Hospital and West Point
West Point
graduate who had served as chief of the public health section on General Eisenhower's staff.[16] The couple met when Farrell sprained her ankle during the play Separate Rooms and was treated backstage by Ross, who had been called forth from the audience.[8] Farrell and Ross remained married until her death 30 years later. In 1977, Ross donated 38 acres of land to the Putnam County Land Trust, establishing the Glenda Farrell-Henry Ross Preserve. Death[edit] In 1971, Farrell died from lung cancer, aged 66, at her home in New York City and was interred in the West Point
West Point
Cemetery, West Point, New York.[17][18] When Ross, who did not remarry, died in 1991, he was buried with her.[16] Filmography[edit] Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes

1928 Lucky Boy


1930 The Lucky Break


1931 Little Caesar Olga Stassoff

1932 Scandal for Sale Stella Uncredited

Life Begins Florette Darien

Three on a Match Mrs. Black Uncredited

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang Marie

The Match King Babe


Mystery of the Wax Museum Florence Dempsey

Grand Slam Blondie

Girl Missing Kay Curtis

The Keyhole Dot

Central Airport

How to Break 90 #2: Position and Back Swing Golfer's Wife Short, uncredited

Gambling Ship Jeanne Sands

Mary Stevens, M.D. Glenda Carroll

Lady for a Day Missouri Martin

Bureau of Missing Persons Belle Howard Saunders

Man's Castle Fay La Rue

Havana Widows Sadie Appleby


The Big Shakedown Lily 'Lil' Duran

Hi Nellie! Gerry Krale

Dark Hazard Valerie 'Val' Wilson

I've Got Your Number Bonnie

Heat Lightning Mrs. Tifton

Merry Wives of Reno Bunny Fitch

The Personality Kid Joan McCarty

Kansas City Princess Marie Callahan

The Secret Bride Hazel Normandie


Gold Diggers of 1935 Betty Hawes

Traveling Saleslady Claudette

Go into Your Dance Molly Howard

In Caliente Clara

We're in the Money Dixie Tilton

Little Big Shot Jean

Miss Pacific Fleet Mae O'Brien


Snowed Under Daisy Lowell

The Law in Her Hands Dorothy 'Dot' Davis

Nobody's Fool Ruby Miller

High Tension Edith McNeil

Here Comes Carter Verna Kennedy

Gold Diggers of 1937 Genevieve Larkin


Smart Blonde Torchy Blane

Fly-Away Baby Torchy Blane

Dance Charlie Dance Fanny Morgan

You Live and Learn Mamie Wallis

Sunday Night at the Trocadero


Breakfast for Two Carol Wallace

The Adventurous Blonde Torchy Blane

Hollywood Hotel Jonesie


Blondes at Work Torchy Blane

Stolen Heaven Rita

Prison Break Jean Fenderson

The Road to Reno Sylvia Shane

Exposed 'Click' Stewart

Torchy Gets Her Man Torchy Blane

Breakdowns of 1938 Torchy Blane Short, uncredited outtakes

1939 Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
in Chinatown Torchy Blane

Torchy Runs for Mayor Torchy Blane

1941 Johnny Eager Mae Blythe


Twin Beds Sonya Cherupin

The Talk
of the Town Regina Bush


City Without Men Billie LaRue

A Night for Crime Susan

Klondike Kate Molly

1944 Ever Since Venus Babs Cartwright

1947 Heading for Heaven Nora Elkins

1948 I Love Trouble Hazel Bixby

Mary Lou Winnie Winford

Lulu Belle Molly Benson

1952 Apache War Smoke Fanny Webson

1953 Girls in the Night Alice Haynes

1954 Secret of the Incas Mrs. Winston

Susan Slept Here Maude Snodgrass

1955 The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing Mrs. Nesbit

1959 Middle of the Night Mrs. Mueller

The Bells of St. Mary's

TV movie

1961 A String of Beads

TV movie

for Women: The Glamour Trap Beauty Operator TV movie

1964 Kissin' Cousins Ma Tatum

The Disorderly Orderly Dr. Jean Howard

1970 Tiger by the Tail Sarah Harvey


Note: TV movies are listed in the film section.

Year Series Role Notes

1949 The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre

1950 The Silver Theatre Gaudy Lady

1951 Starlight Theatre Dorine

Faith Baldwin Romance Theatre

Prudential Family Playhouse Effie Flound

1953 Tales of Tomorrow

Armstrong Circle Theatre Serena Price Two episodes

1955 Goodyear Playhouse Mrs. Davis

The Elgin Hour Mrs. Dane


1956 The Kaiser Aluminum Hour

The Alcoa Hour Eloise Schroeder

Front Row Center May Cooper

1957 The 20th Century-Fox Hour Mae Swasey

The Sheriff of Cochise Sarah Avery

Kraft Theatre Stella Harvey / Alma Wilkes Five episodes

1958 Studio One in Hollywood Claire / Mrs. Endsley / Irene Four episodes

Cimarron City Maggie Arkins

1959 The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen

General Electric Theater Mrs. Brady

Wagon Train Belle MacAbee

Buick-Electra Playhouse

1960 Play of the Week Rose Frobisher

The Islanders Mrs. Dan King

1961 Westinghouse Playhouse Laura

1962 Frontier Circus Ma Jukes

The Defenders Edna Holley

Route 66 Laverne

1963 Ben Casey Martha Morrison Two episodes Won the Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actress.

The United States Steel Hour Grace Smith / Edna Huntington / Mrs. Rausch Five episodes

Rawhide Mrs. Elizabeth Farragut

Dr. Kildare Vera Dennis

The Fugitive Mrs. Maggie Lambert

1964 Bonanza Lulabelle 'Looney' Watkins

1968 Felony Squad Jeanette Anderson

1969 Bewitched Hortense Rockeford


^ "Hollywood Star Walk: Glenda Farrell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 4, 2016.  ^ Bubbeo, Daniel. "Glenda Farrell: The Gimme Girl". The Women of Warner Brothers: The Lives and Careers of 15 Leading Ladies, with Filmographies for Each. McFarland & Company. p. 74. ISBN 0786411376.  ^ "Glenda Farrell: Her Life and Legacy". Retrieved March 13, 2016.  ^ a b Aliperti, Cliff (September 10, 2013). " Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
Biography and 1930s Hollywood Heyday". Immortal Ephemera. Retrieved March 13, 2016.  ^ "My Pal Glenda". Hollywood Magazine. January 1936. Retrieved March 15, 2016.  ^ Backer, Ron (August 25, 2012). Mystery Movie Series of 1930s Hollywood - Torchy Blane: The Investigative Reporter. McFarland. p. 258. ISBN 0786469757.  ^ Bubbeo, Daniel. The Women of Warner Brothers: The Lives and Careers of 15 Leading Ladies, with Filmographies for Each. McFarland & Company. p. 79. ISBN 0786411376.  ^ a b Bubbeo, Daniel. The Women of Warner Brothers: The Lives and Careers of 15 Leading Ladies, with Filmographies for Each. McFarland & Company. p. 80. ISBN 0786411376.  ^ Mike French & Gilles Verschuere (2005-09-14). "Debora Nadoolman interview". TheRaider.net. Archived from the original on 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2008-04-07.  ^ Bubbeo, Daniel. The Women of Warner Brothers: The Lives and Careers of 15 Leading Ladies, with Filmographies for Each. McFarland & Company. p. 82. ISBN 0786411376.  ^ "Glenda Farrell". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved March 13, 2016.  ^ Siegel, Joanne. "The True Inspiration for Lois Lane". Superman
Home Page. Retrieved July 19, 2015.  ^ Van Neste, Dan. "Glenda Farrell: Diamond in the Rough". Classic Images. May 1998. Issue 275. ^ "Los Angeles Actress To Wed In June", Los Angeles Times, March 11, 1931, p. 11. ^ "Glenda To Wed", The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Indiana. February 6, 1941, p. 5. ^ a b "Dr. Henry Ross, 89, Eisenhower's Chief Of Health in War". The New York Times. June 28, 1991. Retrieved April 14, 2009.  ^ "Actress Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
Dies in N.Y. at Age 66", European Stars and Stripes, May 3, 1971, p. 6. ^ Garson Kanin, “ Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
1904-1971”, New York Times, May 16, 1971, p. 14. (Retrieved 2017-05-04.)

"Hollywood Gossip", The Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina), March 29, 1934, p. 8. "Film and Drama", Press-Telegram (Long Beach, California), June 22, 1952, p. 31. "Studio and Stage", Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1925, p. A7. " Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
Praised for Art in Best People", Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1925, p. 23. "Stage Star To Play In Films", Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1930, p. A12. 1930 United States Federal Census, April 15, 1930, Enumeration District 19-30, Sheet 15-A. “Glenda Farrell, Film Star, Dies at 66”, New York Times, May 2, 1971, p. 74. (Retrieved 2017-05-04.)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Glenda Farrell.

Biography portal

Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
on IMDb Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
at the TCM Movie Database Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
at AllMovie Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
at Hollywood.com Literature on Glenda Farrell Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
papers, 1929-1972 (bulk 1930s-1940s), held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

v t e

Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Barbara Hale
Barbara Hale
(1959) Pamela Brown (1962) Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell
(1963) Ruth White (1964) Lee Grant
Lee Grant
(1966) Agnes Moorehead
Agnes Moorehead
(1967) Barbara Anderson (1968) Susan Saint James
Susan Saint James
(1969) Gail Fisher
Gail Fisher
(1970) Margaret Leighton
Margaret Leighton
(1971) Jenny Agutter (1972) Ellen Corby
Ellen Corby
(1973) Joanna Miles
Joanna Miles
(1974) Ellen Corby
Ellen Corby
(1975) Ellen Corby
Ellen Corby
(1976) Kristy McNichol
Kristy McNichol
(1977) Nancy Marchand
Nancy Marchand
(1978) Kristy McNichol
Kristy McNichol
(1979) Nancy Marchand
Nancy Marchand
(1980) Nancy Marchand
Nancy Marchand
(1981) Nancy Marchand
Nancy Marchand
(1982) Doris Roberts
Doris Roberts
(1983) Alfre Woodard
Alfre Woodard
(1984) Betty Thomas
Betty Thomas
(1985) Bonnie Bartlett
Bonnie Bartlett
(1986) Bonnie Bartlett
Bonnie Bartlett
(1987) Patricia Wettig
Patricia Wettig
(1988) Melanie Mayron (1989) Marg Helgenberger
Marg Helgenberger
(1990) Madge Sinclair
Madge Sinclair
(1991) Valerie Mahaffey
Valerie Mahaffey
(1992) Mary Alice
Mary Alice
(1993) Leigh Taylor-Young
Leigh Taylor-Young
(1994) Julianna Margulies
Julianna Margulies
(1995) Tyne Daly
Tyne Daly
(1996) Kim Delaney
Kim Delaney
(1997) Camryn Manheim
Camryn Manheim
(1998) Holland Taylor
Holland Taylor
(1999) Allison Janney
Allison Janney
(2000) Allison Janney
Allison Janney
(2001) Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing
(2002) Tyne Daly
Tyne Daly
(2003) Drea de Matteo
Drea de Matteo
(2004) Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner
(2005) Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner
(2006) Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl
(2007) Dianne Wiest
Dianne Wiest
(2008) Cherry Jones
Cherry Jones
(2009) Archie Panjabi
Archie Panjabi
(2010) Margo Martindale
Margo Martindale
(2011) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(2012) Anna Gunn
Anna Gunn
(2013) Anna Gunn
Anna Gunn
(2014) Uzo Aduba
Uzo Aduba
(2015) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(2016) Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd

v t e

Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
film series


Smart Blonde
Smart Blonde
(1937) Fly-Away Baby
Fly-Away Baby
(1937) The Adventurous Blonde
The Adventurous Blonde
(1937) Blondes at Work
Blondes at Work
(1938) Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
in Panama (1938) Torchy Gets Her Man
Torchy Gets Her Man
(1938) Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane
in Chinatown (1939) Torchy Runs for Mayor
Torchy Runs for Mayor
(1939) Torchy Blane... Playing with Dynamite
Torchy Blane... Playing with Dynamite


Glenda Farrell Barton MacLane Tom Kennedy Lola Lane Paul Kelly Jane Wyman Allen Jenkins

See also

Prison Break Private Detective

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 22341436 LCCN: n85376718 ISNI: 0000 0001 2123 9174 SUDOC: 110139755 BNF: cb140282447 (data) BIBSYS: 99070140 NLA: 35625520 BNE: XX1316339 SN