Drew in July 1938
Esther Loretta Ray
November 23, 1914
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||December 3, 2003 (aged 89)|
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Fred Wallace (1935–1940) (divorced) 1 child|
Sy Bartlett (1941–1949) (divorced) 1 child
William T. Walker (1951–1967) (divorced)
James Edward Herbert (1971–?)
Drew, born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1914, was the daughter of an Irish-born barber. She had a younger brother, Arden. Her parents separated in 1931. She worked various jobs and won a number of beauty contests before becoming an actress. Moving to Hollywood in an attempt to become a star, she was discovered while working at an ice cream parlor where one of the customers, actor William Demarest, took notice of her and eventually helped her get into films.
Ray's venture into the movies brought about a conflict in names when she tried starting her career with the name Terry Ray which happened to be the name of another Terry Ray, a male actor. A 1937 newspaper photo showed the resolution of the conflict as "They conferred, drew lots from the hat and masculine Terry Ray became Terry Rains, while feminine Terry Ray remained as before." She later tried the name of Erin Drew.
After appearing in 25 features using her birth name, she became a fixture at Paramount Pictures officially as Ellen Drew from 1938 to 1944, where she appeared in as many as six films per year, including Sing You Sinners (1938) with Bing Crosby and The Lady's from Kentucky (1939) with George Raft. She moved to RKO in 1944. Among her leading men were Ronald Colman, William Holden, Basil Rathbone, Dick Powell, and Robert Preston (in The Night of January 16th and Night Plane from Chungking).
Her films include Christmas in July (1940), Isle of the Dead (1945), Johnny O'Clock (1947), The Man from Colorado (1948), The Crooked Way (1949) and The Baron of Arizona with Vincent Price (1950). In the 1950s, with her movie career on the decline, she worked as a television actress. Among her final roles was the part of Julia Webberly in the 1960 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Larcenous Lady".
On June 23, 1943, Drew co-starred with Agnes Moorehead and Ted Reid in "Uncle Henry's Rosebush" on Suspense, and on July 25, 1943, she co-starred with Preston Foster in "China Bridge", a presentation of Silver Theater on CBS radio. She also appeared twice on the Kate Smith Hour.
Drew died on December 3, 2003, in Palm Desert, California of a liver ailment, aged 89. She was survived by her son, David, and five grandchildren. She was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.
- The Return of Sophie Lang (1936) as Secretary (uncredited)
- Rhythm on the Range (1936) as Party Guest (uncredited)
- Yours for the Asking (1936) (uncredited)
- My American Wife (1936) as Party Guest (uncredited)
- Hollywood Boulevard (1936) as Terry Ray - Casting Office Secretary (uncredited)
- Lady Be Careful (1936) as Girl in Sailboat
- Wives Never Know (1936) (uncredited)
- Murder with Pictures (1936) as Minor Role (uncredited)
- The Big Broadcast of 1937 (1936) as Telephone Girl
- Rose Bowl (1936) as Mary Arnold (uncredited)
- The Accusing Finger (1936) as Wife
- College Holiday (1936) as Dancer on Train (uncredited)
- Murder Goes to College (1937) as Lil
- The Crime Nobody Saw (1937) as Secretary (uncredited)
- Internes Can't Take Money (1937) as Nurse (uncredited)
- Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) as Usherette (uncredited)
- Turn Off the Moon (1937) as Minor Role (uncredited)
- Night of Mystery (1937) as Secretary
- Hotel Haywire (1937) as Switchboard Operator (uncredited)
- Mountain Music (1937) as Helen (uncredited)
- This Way Please (1937) as Chorus Girl (uncredited)
- The Buccaneer (1938) (uncredited)
- Scandal Street (1938) (uncredited)
- Dangerous to Know (1938) as Secretary
- Cocoanut Grove (1938) as Radio Station Receptionist (uncredited)
- You and Me (1938) as Cashier
- Sing, You Sinners (1938) as Martha Randall
- If I Were King (1938) as Huguette
- The Lady's from Kentucky (1939) as Penelope 'Penny' Hollis
- The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939) as Ann Wilson
- Escape (1939) as Reporter (uncredited)
- Geronimo (1939) as Alice Hamilton
- French Without Tears (1940) as Diana Lake
- Women Without Names (1940) as Joyce King
- Buck Benny Rides Again (1940) as Joan Cameron
- Christmas in July (1940) as Betty Casey
- Texas Rangers Ride Again (1940) as Ellen 'Slats' Dangerfield
- The Mad Doctor (1941) as Linda Boothe
- The Monster and the Girl (1941) as Susan Webster
- Reaching for the Sun (1941) as Rita
- The Parson of Panamint (1941) as Mary Malloy
- Our Wife (1941) as Babe Marvin
- The Night of January 16th (1941) as Kit Lane
- The Remarkable Andrew (1942) as Peggy Tobin
- My Favorite Spy (1942) as Teresa 'Terry' Kyser
- Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) as Herself (uncredited)
- Ice-Capades Revue (1942) as Ann Porter
- Night Plane from Chungking (1943) as Ann Richards
- Strange Confession (1944) as Yvonne
- And the Angels Sing (1944) (uncredited)
- That's My Baby! (1944) as Betty Moody
- Dark Mountain (1944) as Kay Downey
- China Sky (1945) as Louise Thompson
- Isle of the Dead (1945) as Thea
- Man Alive (1945) as Connie McBride
- Sing While You Dance (1946) as Susan Kent
- Crime Doctor's Manhunt (1946) as Irene Cotter
- Johnny O'Clock (1947) as Nelle Marchettis
- The Swordsman (1948) as Barbara Glowan
- The Man from Colorado (1949) as Caroline Emmet
- The Crooked Way (1949) as Nina Martin
- Davy Crockett, Indian Scout (1950) as Frances Oatman
- The Baron of Arizona (1950) as Sofia de Peralta – Reavis 'The Baroness'
- Stars in My Crown (1950) as Harriet Gray
- Cargo to Capetown (1950) as Kitty Mellar
- The Great Missouri Raid (1951) as Bee Moore
- Man in the Saddle (1951) as Nan Melotte
- Outlaw's Son (1957) as Ruth Sewall
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- "Ellen Drew – The Private Life and Times of Ellen Drew". glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
- Raw, Laurence (2012). Character Actors in Horror and Science Fiction Films, 1930–1960. McFarland. pp. 72–74. ISBN 9780786490493. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
- Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 154. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
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- "Drew, Ellen (1914–2003)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. Gale (2007); retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume, Perigee Books; ISBN 0-399-50601-2, pg. 359.
- Sullivan, Ed (June 1, 1938). "Hollywood". Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 19. Retrieved April 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ex-Raying a Name From a Hat". The Piqua Daily Call. August 14, 1937. p. 16. Retrieved April 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 204. ISBN 9781557835512. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
- Smith, Ronald L. (2010). Horror Stars on Radio: The Broadcast Histories of 29 Chilling Hollywood Voices. McFarland. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-7864-5729-8. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- "Ellen Drew, Preston Foster to Star on Silver Theater". Chicago Tribune. July 25, 1943. p. 4W. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
- "Ellen Drew Heads Kate Smith Cast". The Times. Louisiana, Shreveport. November 21, 1941. p. 19. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ellen Drew – Hollywood Star Walk – Los Angeles Times". projects.latimes.com. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
- "Ellen Drew – Hollywood Walk of Fame". www.walkoffame.com. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
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