Biography Progress Report #5 – Or, the Research Never Really Ends

I am still writing on the subway to and from work, and still making good progress. I have written about 32,000 words of the first “rough, rough” draft which takes me up through the end of 1936 and the end of Ann’s tenure at Warner Bros. Even though I still am following the mantra of “just write it,” I  had to take a bit of time to go over my documentation for her 1936 court case against the studio, just because I found myself at a loss to write about it without trying to understand exactly what happened. Now that I have gotten passed her legal issues and into her career as a freelancer, the pace is picking up once again.

At this point, I have been digging into the life and career of Ann Dvorak for around 10 years and I have come to find that the research never will completely end. In the past two months I spoke with a niece of Ann’s third husband, Nicholas Wade, who provided some fascinating insight into her retirement years and confirmed some unfortunate suspicions I had about that time period. I also exchanged emails with a gent whose mother knew Ann during her M-G-M chorus girl days and shared a couple of wonderful stories that had me doing a happy dance when I read them.

I can remember back in 2002 whining to my friend, Laura Wagner, about how I just needed to write the damn book and be done with it. Her constant reply was always, “What’s your rush? You’re the only one writing Ann’s story, so take your time and do it right.” Those have turned out to be wise words, because if I had banged out the book back then, it would have been pretty thin and probably not much more than a “films of” type thing. Because I followed Laura’s advice, I now know way more about Ann Dvorak than I ever dreamed of, and a lot of that info has come to light over the past four or five years, and keeps coming.

Still, there will come a time when the book will finally be written and I will have to finally let it go. Until that happens, I will continue to be amazed by the new things I find out about Ann on a regular basis.


  1. Robby June 5, 2011

    I came across your blog about a month ago and have been doing some catch up reading your past posts. I’m delighted to hear that you are working on an Ann Dvorak biography, something that is truly needed. Laura Wagner has some sound advice, in that, you should take your time and do it right. It will be a real treat for all of us fans to have a more comprehensive book in the end.

    It’s interesting to read these progress reports and the amount of time, research and other efforts it takes to write a biography. Keep up the great work!

  2. admin June 5, 2011

    Hi Robby,

    Thank you so much for the kind words. Knowing there are people out there who 1) want to read a book on Ann & 2) are so pleasantly patient while I slog my way through it, really help to keep me going.

    BTW, your blog is fantastic. Not two days ago, I was discussing Omega Man locations with a couple of my colleagues at the library and one of them sent me the link to your post. The world of movie geeks tis a small one.

    Thanks again,

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