: [in 1982, regarding his real-estate investments] [I earn more money] with all my apartment buildings and hotels than I ever did when I was a movie star.
American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews was born Carver Dana Andrews on New Years day.
Andrews studied business administration at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Texas, but took a bookkeeping job with Gulf Oil in 1929, aged 20, prior to graduating. In 1931, he hitchhiked to California, hoping to get work as an actor.
He drove a school bus, dug ditches, picked oranges, worked as a stock boy, and pumped gas while trying without luck to break into the movies. His employer at a Van Nuys gas station believed in him and agreed to invest in him, asking to be repaid if and when Andrews made it as an actor.
It was two years before Goldwyn and 20th Century-Fox put him in a film, but the roles, though secondary, were mostly in top-quality pictures such as The Westerner (1940) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1942). A starring role in the hit Laura (1944), followed by one in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), made him a star, but no later film quite lived up to the quality of these.
Andrews slipped into a steady stream of unremarkable films in which he gave sturdy performances, until age and other interests resulted in fewer appearances. In addition, his increasing alcoholism caused him to lose the confidence of some producers. Andrews took steps to curb his addiction and in his later years was an outspoken member of the National Council on Alcoholism.
He was probably the first actor to do a public service announcement about alcoholism (in 1972 for the U.S. Department of Transportation), and did public speaking tours. Andrews was one of the first to speak out against the degradation of the acting profession, particularly actresses doing nude scenes just to get a role.
He retired from films in the 1960s and made, he said, more money from real estate than he ever did in movies. Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his later years and spent his final days in a nursing facility. He died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia in 1992, aged 83.