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In the film This Gun for Hire, as supporting actor, Alan Ladd's performance as a cold, ruthless killer with a core of sadness had an impact on audiences. He became an immediate star and helped launch the age of film noir. In 1954, Photoplay magazine voted him the world's most popular male film star. Ironically, Ladd and the female star of the year, Marilyn Monroe, both headed for self-destruction.
Actor Walter Matthau was barely three when his father deserted the family. Poverty and New York street smarts produced a self-deprecating humor that never left. He began studying acting and by 1951 he earned a New York Drama Critics Award. Television dramas followed and then came Hollywood where his fame grew to new heights creating millions of fans and admirers in the entertainment industry.
Barbara Stanwyck was one of the 20th century's most enduring stars, known to generations of Americans. Orphaned at age four and a Zeigfield Girl by age 17, Ruby Stevens, by age 20 she earned excellent reviews for a bit part in a broadway play and adopted a new name: Barbara Stanwyck. She went on to have a long successful career in the movies and later on television.
Amiable and unassuming, Fred MacMurray went from small-town boy to one of Hollywood and television's most enduring stars. This program includes clips from some of MacMurray's most notable films, such as The Gilded Lily, The Apartment, The Absent Minded Professor, Swing High, Swing Low and the TV series, My Three Sons.