Born Alan Walbridge Ladd on September 3, 1913 in Arkansas, Alan was a tiny child in stature and weight. He moved to California with his single mother at the age of 8 where he picked fruit and swept store floors to help with the family income.
In high school Alan loved track and swimming, but injuries put an end to his training for the 1932 Olympics. He originally worked at radio where talent scout Sue Carol discovered him in 1939. He played a string of bit part in B pictures and then an unbilled depart in Citizen Kane gave him the impetus to test for This Gun for Hire (1942). He portrayed a psychotic killer named Raven and this part made him a star.
Ladd was recruited into the Army in 1943 but discharged early due to an ulcer and double hernia. After his discharge Ladd was cast in mainly tough-guy roles. In the 1950s Ladd was tagged to appear in Shane where he had the lead role (1953). However by the end of the 1950 alcohol and repeated bad roles caused Ladd to become depressed. In November of 1962 Ladd was discovered lying in a pool of blood with a bullet lodged near his heart. He survived this suicide attempt only to be found dead two years later (1964) due to a combination of alcohol and sedatives.
Ladd left a wife (Sue Carol) and three children.