As previously mentioned, I am currently writing a full length Ann Dvorak biography and have uncovered a great deal of information about Ann not previously discussed anywhere else. However, writing a extensive biography in addition to working a full time job is proving to be a very long process. In the meantime, I thought I would draw attention to some of the other writers who have turned the spotlight on Ann.
First up is Killer Tomatoes: Fifteen Tough Film Dames by Laura Wagner and Ray Hagen. Published in 2004, Miss Wagner wrote the excellent Dvorak chapter, and I believe Laura is the first to discuss Ann’s 1936 lawsuit against Warner Bros in depth, as well as her relationship with first husband Leslie Fenton. In addition to Ann, the other actresses discussed include Lucille Ball(her pre “I Love Lucy” film career), Lynn Bari, Joan Blondell, Gloria Grahame, Jean Hagen, Adele Jergens, Ida Lupino, Marilyn Maxwell, Mercedes McCambridge, Jane Russell, Ann Sheridan, Barbara Stanwyck, Claire Trevor and Marie Windsor. Killer Tomatoes is a great read that pays tribute to some long neglected talents. This book is still in print and can be ordered on Amazon or from the publisher McFarland.
If I am not mistaken, Hollywood Players: The Thirties by James Robert Parish is the only book to prominently feature Ann Dvorak on the cover. Not only is she on the cover, but it’s a photo of her wearing that ridiculous bird outfit from Sweet Music. Parish has specialized in these Hollywood biography compilations for decades, and his books are always a great source for info. This one was published in 1976, but used copies are easy to find online or at a used book store.
Doug McClelland was probably the first person to write about Ann retrospectively, and his piece appeared in volume 95 of a publication called Film Fan Monthly. I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. McClelland, who passed away a few years back, but a friend of his told me that he was a huge fan of Ann’s and even saw her perform on Broadway in the Respectful Prostitute. The title of the 1969 article is “The Underground Goddess,” which I borrowed for this website for five years before changing it to “Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel.” Film Fan Monthly is no longer around, but this issue pops up on eBay every so often.
Thanks again to all those who have sent me emails of encouragement as I continue writing the biography. In the meantime, these three sources are worthwhile if you want yo find out more about Ann Dvorak.