Picks and Pans Review: Ladd

updated 04/30/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/30/1979 01:00AM

by Beverly Linet

Alan Ladd is referred to now mostly as the late father of the president of 20th Century-Fox (Alan Jr.) and father-in-law of a Charlie's Angel (Cheryl Ladd is married to Alan's actor son, David). But during the '40s and '50s he was a top star in properties like This Gun for Hire, Two Years Before the Mast and Shane. Linet is a fan magazine writer who uses expressions like "The plot thickened." But she also did a lot of interviewing and produced an often intriguing account of an already insecure young man who was 24 when his doted-on mother killed herself and who then became wealthy, thanks largely to Sue Carol, his first agent and second wife. He died in 1964 at 50 from what the author says was a reaction to a mix of alcohol and prescribed pills. The lesson to be drawn from his life may lie in the fact that, though Ladd was only about 5'6", he usually played tough guy roles; such leading ladies as Loren and Shelley Winters often literally stood in trenches to make him look taller. (Arbor House, $10.95)

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