We are sad to announce that Joan passed away Monday, October 12, 2015. Read more here: http://cathy-palmer.blogspot.com/2015/10/joan-leslie-caldwell-1925-2015.html
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES
Joan Leslie (1925) is cousin to my mother, Tully Joyce (Hearn) Palmer (1914-1977).
Joan Leslie was born in Detroit and began acting as a child performer with her two sisters. She married Dr. William Caldwell in 1950 and quit her acting career to raise her identical twin daughters Patrice and Ellen who are both doctors teaching at universities.
Cousins: Joan (Brodel-Leslie) Caldwell, Betty Brodel Franzalia (lives in Florida), Pat and Joyce's step-sister on a visit from Michigan, Joyce (Hearn) Palmer, Pat (Hearn) Hibben, Mary (Brodel) Russom (lives in the San Fernando Valley). Click here to see more pics of Joan.
ELIZABETH O'HEARN AND HER CHILDREN
John Hearn "Jack" (my grandfather); Elizabeth; Frank O'Hearn
Front: Mary (Regan) - mother of Frances, Shirley and Gail; Agnes (Brodel) - mother of Mary, Betty and Joan Leslie Caldwell
Dancing with Fred Astair in "The Sky's the Limit" (1943) Gary Cooper in "Sergeant York" (1941)
Trailer for "Sergeant York"
Trailer for "Sergeant York"
James Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942)
Trailer for "Yankee Doodle Dandy"
BIOGRAPHY by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide "A stage actress from the age of 3, Joan Leslie toured vaudeville in a singing act with her two sisters. At ten, Leslie was an established advertising model. She came to Hollywood in 1936, making her screen debut in Camille under her given name of Brodel. In 1940 she was signed by Warner Bros., who changed her professional name to Leslie. Though not yet 18, Leslie was cast in such meaty and demanding roles as the selfish clubfooted ingenue in High Sierra (1941) and Mrs. George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Loaned out to RKO in 1942, Leslie was given an opportunity to display her considerable terpsichorean skills in the Fred Astaire vehicle The Sky's the Limit. In Warners' Hollywood Canteen (1944) Lesie played herself, as did her real-life sister Betty Brodel. When her Warners contract ended in 1947, Leslie free-lanced for several years, turning in admirable performances in such second-echelon productions as Repeat Performance (1947) and The Woman They Almost Lynched (1956). She more or less retired from acting in the late 1950s, devoting herself to humanitarian work and to her new career as a dress designer. Fans of Joan Leslie all felt just a little older when Leslie was teamed with fellow 1940s ingenue Teresa Wright as a pair of doddering Arsenic and Old Lace-type sisters on a late-1980s episode of TV's Murder She Wrote."
VIDEO CLIPS FROM SKY'S THE LIMIT
(Joan turned 18 yrs old while making this movie!)
VIDEO CLIPS FROM SKY'S THE LIMIT
(Joan turned 18 yrs old while making this movie!)
After reading this article Swingin' at the Canteen: The Big Bands Part 3 which says:
"The band (Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra) provides backup to several other singing specialties throughout the film, but one of the loveliest moments for the group is when Joan Leslie and a male quartet front them for 'Sweet Dreams, Sweetheart', the movie's abiding theme."
I then found Joan singing 'Good night sweet dreams, sweetheart' from the movie "Hollywood Canteen" in ths youtube clip today:
Trailer of HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN (1944)
Clip from "Rhapsody in Blue"
In 1941, at 16 years of age, Joan co-starred with Eddy Albert in "The Great Mr. Nobody" - watch the trailer:
Here's the trailer from the 1946 movie 'Two Guys from Milwakee' in which Joan starred along with Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson and Janis Paige.
Starring: Joan Leslie as Judy Jones, Robert Alda as Tommy Coles, Julie Bishop as Camille, William Prince as Bart Williams and S.Z. Sakall as Gabriel Popik.
Directed by: Busby Berkeley.
Story written by: Philip Wylie.
Screenplay & Dialogues written by: Charles Hoffman.
Distributed by: © Warner Bros.
Theatrical Release Date: 9 March 1946 (USA)
Niceties by: http://www.youtube.com/IAmOnlyLove
Finished before WW II had ended and held up on release, thereby making some plot elements nearly as dated as the plot. Judy Jones, Joan Leslie) sings with a band and also works at an aircraft plant. She takes part in a "missing heirs" radio program and is discovered to be an heiress to a fortune. But the will provides that she must be married by a certain time or lose the inheritance and if you didn't see that coming, you haven't seen many movies. She then has to decide whether rivals-for-her-hand Tommy Coles (Robert Alda) or Bart Williams (William Prince), both at their usual levels of blandness, loves her for herself or for her fortune.
Rhapsody in Blue performed (Joan in audience)July 10, 2012 UPDATE A FEW MORE PICS... "Hollywood, Mar. 27--ASTAIRE GETS NEW DANCING PARTNER--Newest member of the 'I've-Danced-With-Fred-Astaire Club' is 18-year-old Joan Leslie, who shares honors with him in a new screen musical, 'The Sky's The Limit.' His former film dancing partners have been Ginger Rogers, Joan Fontaine, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard, Eleanor Powell and Rita Hayworth. (AP Wirephoto)" "Ronald Reagan stars with Joan Leslie in the Irving Berlin classic 'This is the Army,' a special USA Network Vetern's Day movie on Wednesday, November 11th from 10 am-12 noon, ET and PT." Joan's autographed photo with James Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" 1943 Joan Leslie signing autographs at the Hollywood Canteen Joan in the movie "Hollywood Canteen" "Deanna Durbin, 14, and Joan Brodel (Joan Leslie), 10, both received court approval of motion picture contracts recently. Deanna (left) will receive from $150 to $250 a week from Universal while Joan's salaery runs from $200 to $250 from MGM. New York Chi Cleveland SF LA 7/3/36" "Fred MacMurray, Joan Leslie, June Haver in 'Where Do We Go From Here?' JOAN WITH HER MOTHER "Chaperon for Star-- Something new in movie star arrivals is achieved by Joan Leslie, who brings mother to accompany her in city while Joan makes appearance in loop theater. They're stepping off the Chief at Dearborn St station. Chicago Tribune, Oct 29, 1946." "Seeing the Town--New York--Joan Leslie with her mother, Mrs. Agnes Brodel, in the Stork Club, take in the sights as they enjoy an eastern vacation. Miss Leslie and her mother expect to visit many of the highlights of New York such as the Statue of Liberty and other points of interest while here. Chicago Tribune, 6/27/47." JOAN WITH HER SISTERS JOAN WITH HER HUSBAND "Santa Barbara, Cal. Mar 17, 1950--JOAN LESLIE WED'S--Actress Joan Leslie and Dr. William Caldwell, young Los Angeles physician are shown after a wedding in Our Lady of Sorrows Church here today. The romance started more than seven months ago when Dr. Caldwell attended a member of Joan's family. The ceremony was a typical family affair, with only members of the families present. (ap wirephoto)." "Photo shows Joan Leslie, film star, and Dr. William Caldwell after they were married at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church. The ceremony was performed by Father Lyons of the University of San Francisco. Joan's father, John Brodel gave the bride away in the presence of a small group of relatives and friends." JANUARY 5, 2013 UPDATE Hollywood Star Walk, LA TIMES http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/joan-leslie/ Eugeen Robert Richee / Warner Brothers
July 3, 2009 UPDATE
Joan Leslie is in the movie "The Male Animal" and here is Henry Fonda's speech:
August 9, 2009
Yesterday, friends found a couple of sheet music songs from two of Joan's movies at an antique store we were visiting in Pacifica, Calif.
First, 'Don't fence me in' from 'Hollwood Canteen'
Watch Roy Rogers sing:
And second, 'How Sweet You Are' from 'Thank Your Lucky Stars'
You can hear a bit of the song from the finale for Lucky stars
August 11, 2009 UPDATE
August 12, 2009 UPDATE
Dr. and Mrs. William Caldwell
August 13, 2009 UPDATE
Joan with Ronald Coleman on 1942 War Bond tour along with Greer Garson, Hedy Lamarr, Irene Dunne and Lynn Bari.
Joan with Fred Astair in Skies the Limit
Joan with Ida Lupiono and Dennis Morgan
Joan with Ronald Reagan
Joan with James Cagney
August 17, 2009 UPDATE
Joan's first two movies were Men with Wings (1938) (uncredited) .... Patricia Falconer at Age 11 and Camille (1936) (uncredited) .... Marie Jeanette
Joan also had a bit part in the opening scene of the first Nancy Drew movie, her 3rd movie. Back then she went by Joan Brodel. To watch the whole movie, please click HERE.
September 8, 2009 UPDATE
Here are a couple of more clips from "Sky's the Limit"
February 4, 2010 UPDATE
On January 26, 2010, Joan turned 85 years old - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOAN!
See MORE PHOTOS HERE
JUNE 7, 2011 UPDATE
Found this informative website:
AKA Joan Agnes Theresa Sadie Brodel
Birthplace: Detroit, MI
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Yankee Doodle Dandy
Sister: Mary Brodel (actress, b. 27-Sep-1917)
Sister: Betty Brodel (actress)
Husband: William G. Caldwell (physician, m. 17-Mar-1950, d. 5-Apr-2000, twin daughters)
Daughter: Patrice (twin, physician)
Daughter: Ellen (twin, physician)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Hollywood Canteen (15-Dec-1944) Herself
JULY 27, 2011 UPDATE
Found this today...
Joan Leslie, the beautiful star of so many Warner Bros. classics of the ‘40s has had a most unique and diverse career. Debuting in a small part in Greta Garbo’s “Camille” (‘36), the child actress (born 1/26/25) had roles in many films—including the Nancy Drew and Jones Family series—before hitting the big time in 1940 when she landed the role of the lame girl, Velma, in Humphrey Bogart’s “High Sierra”.
Warners gave her a new last name (Joan Brodel—pronounced Bro Dell—is her real moniker), and a long term contract which resulted in starring roles in such classics as Sergeant York” (‘41) and the 1942 Best Picture winner, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
Shortly before her tenure at that studio, young Joan had her first leading part, opposite Jimmy Lydon in “Two Thoroughbreds” (‘39) at RKO. “What I remember most is the lifelong friendships I developed with Jimmy and director, Jack Hively. We shot it in Sherwood Forest, near where Errol Flynn had made ‘Adventures of Robin Hood’. I went row-boating on Lake Sherwood with Jimmy’s double. That was loads of fun.”
Following in the footsteps of other dissatisfied Warners stars (James Cagney, Bette Davis, Olivia De Havilland), Joan took them to court in ‘46 because she wasn’t getting the roles she felt she deserved. She won the battle but lost the war! “My last film there, ‘Two Guys From Milwaukee’, was another starring part—with Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson. I’d been given, in writing, that I was a ‘star’ and would always be given ‘star’ parts at the studio. When I sued, they changed the billing on the film. Originally, it said ‘Dennis Morgan, Joan Leslie and Jack Carson in…’ They made it ‘Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson in… with Joan Leslie!’ Very petty. I couldn’t believe it. Jack Warner had me blackballed by other studios. It seemed like forever before I could work again, but it actually was only a little over a year. This happened in ‘46, and in ‘47, I signed a two-picture deal with Eagle Lion. The first film I made was ‘Repeat Performance’ with Louis Hayward—a darling man. The second was ‘Northwest Stampede’ with James Craig.”
Several people have said they had trouble out of Craig; and Joan was no exception. “He was a pill…not easy to work with. He seemed to have a chip on his shoulder and it showed in everything he did. We went on location for months to western Canada, near Calgary, where they had the famous Calgary Stampede. We were there shooting during the roundup. They had the chuckwagon ride—which was often very dangerous. All the things I had to do in the picture were doubled, of course. Then, when it went in for the closeup, the director, Al Rogell, would have me grab a calf, and rope its legs. I couldn’t do that (laughs), but I did—in the picture. Also, I had to milk a cow—another thing I couldn’t do. I had no idea how to get the milk to come out (laughs). They shot and shot, and when I did manage to get a little milk, they used that piece! The stuntman who doubled me in the chuckwagon race had to wear a red wig, of course. This embarrassed him no end, and he had it announced, each time, that he was doubling Joan Leslie, so no one would think he was wearing a red wig for any other reason (laughs). There’s a scene where I’m riding into the barn. James Craig and Jack Oakie were in the foreground inside the barn. And I was posting! There were a couple of wranglers entering with me. When I got within 20 feet of the camera, I was riding correctly! I had to watch that!”
About some of the film’s co-stars, “Jack Oakie was so great. His wife, Victoria Horne, came up there. Jack was a little hard of hearing, and I didn’t get to know him that well, but Chill Wills was a joy, such a sweet, intelligent man. He wrote the song that was in it. We became great pals. Some of the quite beautiful exteriors were filmed at a ranch that belonged to the Duke of Windsor, who wasn’t so popular with the Canadians at that time. In my two Eagle Lion films, the pay was good and the parts were good. So much for Jack Warner!”
Joan Leslie married an obstetrician, Dr. Bill Caldwell, in 1950. In ‘51, she gave birth to twin daughters and returned to work. Her first picture back was “Man In the Saddle” with Randolph Scott. “My memories of this are dim, because I was more concerned with being a wife and mother. In fact, I don’t even remember doing a scene with Ellen Drew! The main thing I remember is my daughters got sick, and I called the studio to say I wasn’t coming in. I thought they could shoot around me for the day, because they knew I had a cold too. Instead, they simply cut the scene we were to shoot that day! They were really furious. Another example of the pettiness you deal with in pictures! But there were some pluses. The producer let me decide on which role I would play. We thought it more interesting if I played against type and portrayed the heavy, giving Ellen the good girl role! I thought the director, Andre De Toth, was very good. Randolph Scott was a joy to work with, elegant, such a gentleman, and so devastatingly good looking. A charmer with beautiful eyes. I compare him to Gary Cooper, but Cooper had more versatility. Randy was so at ease on the set. There were some locations in the picture, but I didn’t have to go. I told my agent that after the marriage, I wouldn’t do any role where I had to stay overnight.”
As for John Russell, “He looks like Jimmy Smits of ‘NYPD Blue’. He had enormous sex appeal—yet wasn’t a terribly experienced actor when I first met him. He had a female manager who really pushed him, promoting his career, but something was lacking—he really never made it big like he should have. That’s similar to Alexander Knox, who played my husband. He was fabulous as ‘Wilson’ in 1945 but didn’t live up to his potential. It’s strange how some people you’d think would be big, big stars, don’t seem to be able to pull it off.”
Signing a three-picture pact with Republic, Joan played opposite big band leader and singer Vaughn Monroe, who had a two-picture pact with the studio. “We were in ‘Toughest Man in Arizona’. Vaughn was just great. My husband and I like to dance, and one time we went out to dinner with Vaughn and his wife. He was the most sought-after band leader by colleges at that time—a lovely man, but it was so hard for him to adjust to pictures. He was imposing, with big shoulders. Fun to get to know. He was riding high under his MCA recording contract—he had that wonderful tonal quality; a very, very nice man. Dignified, but not completely comfortable in front of the camera; he could give a bad reading to a line. He was a little stiff and didn’t blend easily to pictures. If he’d had a dramatic coach, perhaps he could have gone further in the business. He was handsome, as well as a great singer. And Harry Morgan—who we called Henry at that time—played my husband who is killed. Harry has a dry humor and is such fun to be around. I asked the director, R. G. Springsteen, if I could shoot at the Indians when they were attacking, but he wouldn’t allow it.” Jean Parker was also in the picture. “I especially adored Jean—I thought she was so beautiful!”
In ‘53, Joan starred in “The Woman They Almost Lynched” with her good friend Audrey Totter. Ben Cooper was also in the film. “I worked with Ben three times. He’s a very good actor—he was very good in ‘Flight Nurse’. The other picture was ‘Hell’s Outpost’. As for ‘Woman They Almost Lynched’, Audrey Totter was so very good—we got a tremendous kick out of the fight. I have a still of it! In a big picture, you are on the set, watching your doubles do the fighting; but not here. I went on the set to do the closeups, without any idea what had been staged by the doubles! I had a terrible time with it. I was supposed to hit Audrey, and I just couldn’t. Not hit her on the face! Director Allan Dwan tried to explain, and Audrey told me to go on and do it. Somehow it did get done, but it was a very difficult thing to do. Also, the story is a little odd, although I like that I later hide Audrey upstairs in my bedroom. The movie is dramatic but silly. Actually, it’s a pretty fast-moving little movie. It’s odd the way Republic brings music into the story—it’s a scream, it seems out of place! Not legitimate. Audrey later told me she played the whole thing for farce, while I was doing it straight. The movie was loaded with stars—Ann Savage I liked, she was a pretty girl. John Lund had been big at Paramount. Brian Donlevy was a good name, and still looked great at this time. There is one scene I found stagnant. Ben Cooper and I are in the stagecoach—where he tells me he is Jesse James. They had this two-shot that is interminable. It went on forever, it seems. They never went in for a closeup—too cheap. It was done early on and they probably felt there wasn’t time or money to do the closeups that were so badly needed in that sequence.”
About Jim Davis: “This was the second time I had worked with Jim. I knew his wife—a fashion expert at Orbachs. In this movie, Jim came up to me one day and said, ‘They haven’t taken any stills of me. I have billing and a pretty good little part, but they won’t have any record of it.’ So, I went to Allan Dwan and said, ‘I want some pictures together with Jim.’ Dwan was startled, but Jim got in the stills! As for the film itself, I didn’t feel it was well lit, until the end—then they lighted it better. A leading lady cannot be her prettiest unless she is properly lit!”
Joan made two other westerns, “Hellgate” with Sterling Hayden, and “Hell’s Outpost”, a modern-day road-building western with Rod Cameron. “‘Hellgate’ was produced by John Champion, written and directed by Charles Marquis Warren. Sterling Hayden was very nice, but quite stiff. Ward Bond I wish I had gotten to see again; we did ‘Sergeant York’ together years earlier. James Arness, Peter Coe, and the others I don’t recall ever meeting! But we shot fast in those days, so it is understandable.”
As for “Hell’s Outpost”: “Kristine Miller I still keep in touch with. We became very good friends. She and I were both married by this time, and we eventually got to calling each other ‘Mrs. Schuyler’ and ‘Mrs. Caldwell’. She is a charming girl. She taught me to play scrabble. I was terrible! (laughs) I did my imitation of Ingrid Bergman in ‘Gaslight’ for the cast. That turned out very well. (Laughs) James Brown was so sweet—a very nice guy. He had the look of the character he was playing. Like a mechanic; or an officer—not as big an officer as Richard Simmons, but just the right look for the part. Joe Kane directed. He was a great, huge fellow. We worked together a couple of times.”
Leslie’s last film for Republic was “Jubilee Trail” with Forrest Tucker. “Pat O’Brien was also in this—we had known each other for years, going to so many charity benefits together. I adored Pat and his wife, Eloise. The four of us attended a premiere in New Orleans. I thought so well of him, and the feeling was mutual. On the various interviews we did, we complimented each other so much the studio told us to stop it! (Laughs) Vera Ralston was top-billed. I thought she was awfully good in that, and it was a good part for me. We got along fine, which was unusual since hardly anybody really got along with her, because she was married to the boss, Herbert Yates. Everybody seemed to take her absolutely lightly. Joe Kane thought she rehearsed in Czechoslovakian! (laughs) He would get so angry with her—but not in front of her. He never let her know it! Rudy, her brother, was put on as assistant director. He had to do something you know. Forrest Tucker bragged about his importance to women. He didn’t bother me, but that did get on my nerves. I was irritated by him when he came to inquire about our kiss, which would close the picture. He told me he felt the kiss should show a lot of maturity, and wanted to know if I agreed. I snapped back, ‘Yes, I do—Do you think you can handle it!?’ I couldn’t believe I told him off; that just isn’t me, but that bragging had kind of gotten to me. I did think he was so funny on ‘F Troop’, and I was pleased about his success. Tuck was, generally, a nice guy. Years later, I asked him to come to St. Anne’s, where I do a lot of charity work. Just make an appearance. He came with his wife and spoke to the audience. He was very gracious! There was another actor we haven’t mentioned, Ray Middleton—he was great. Republic had this theory that if they put every character actor around in a role, it would make it a good picture. I think their theory was correct!”
By the mid-‘50s, Joan had ventured into TV, including some westerns. “I did a ‘G.E. Theatre’ and a ‘Branded’ with Chuck Connors. I thought he would have made a great producer and director; but he never did. He was handsome in an unusual way—and he had a lot of input. I told him I thought he knew as much about the business as Cagney, and that greatly pleased him!”
In recent years, Miss Leslie has appeared in several TV pilots, “I don’t know why ‘Shadow of Sam Penny’ with Robert Lansing or ‘Charley Hannah’ with Robert Conrad didn’t sell. I do know why ‘The Keegans’ didn’t make it. The leading man (Adam Roarke) was hooked on drugs—he was not dependable—they were very upset with him. The same thing happened with the star of ‘Grace Under Fire’. They gave her time off to get her act together, but she got back on drugs, and they cancelled her show. Things are certainly different than in the good ole days.”
Perhaps Hollywood will wake up (wise up) and return to the time when scripts had a story, and stars like Joan Leslie Caldwell had morals.
Joan’s Western Filmography
Movies: Northwest Stampede (‘48 Eagle Lion)—James Craig; Man In the Saddle (‘51 Columbia)—Randolph Scott; Hellgate (‘52 Lippert)—Sterling Hayden; Toughest Man in Arizona (‘52 Republic)—Vaughn Monroe; Woman They Almost Lynched (‘53 Republic)—John Lund; Hell’s Outpost (‘54 Republic)—Rod Cameron; Jubilee Trail (‘54 Republic)—Forrest Tucker. TV: Ford Theatre: Old Man’s Bride (‘53); GE Theatre: Day of the Hanging (‘59); Branded: Leap Upon Mountains (‘65).
AUGUST 21, 2011 UPDATE
Found this wonderful photo of Joan's twins, Ellen and Patrice Caldwell, which were born in 1951.
Like their now deceased father, they became physicians.
Patrice is also an author: http://www.amazon.com/Thirty-Five-Years-Jack-Williamson-Lectureship/dp/1893887553/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313944685&sr=8-1.
OCTOBER 17, 2011 UPDATE
Found this photo from 2010 - Joan is seated 3rd from left...
Great Stars of Republic Pictures - Photograph by Lee Davis - August 2010. (click on image to enlarge)
Front row (left to right): Anne Jeffreys, Ann Rutherford, Joan Leslie, Adrian Booth, Coleen Gray, Shirley Mitchell, Jane Withers.
Back row (left to right): Hugh O’Brian, Ben Cooper, Marjorie Lord, Dick Jones, Tommy Cook, Donna Martell, Marsha Hunt, Eilene Janssen, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Jane Kean.
Note: Peggy Stewart was at sign unveiling ceremony but not present for photograph
Lee Davis captured this great moment in Republic Pictures' history at the kickoff reception for the 75th Anniversary of the studios.
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ALSO, found several links to news articles mentioning Joan...
FEBRUARY 16, 2012 UPDATE
LIFE Magazine Articles
East side of the 1500 block of Vine Street