PodTech:Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews Had Daughters

Robert Ryan became a movie star working for Paramount Pictures and then RKO in the 1940s while Dana Andrews worked simultaneously for Twentieth Century Fox. Their daughters, Lisa Ryan and Susan Andrews, talk about growing up with their famous fathers in Hollywood in the 1950s and coming to San Francisco in the 1960s where they live and work today.

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26 Comments »

  1. Jamie Nicol said

    Great stories. Some movies to rent!

  2. John Wren said

    Rober Ryan had charisma. His personality was strong and he ranked with Bob Mitchum, Kirk Douglas et al.

  3. Joseph Lombardo said

    Thank you ladies for the very insightful and interesting interview. I am a huge fan of Robert Ryan and his acting ability and have read the book by Jarlett but have always felt that the book had some gaps in it. Lisa, thank you very much for sharing some of your private family stories– I feel I got to know Robert Ryan the person a little bit better. In some ways that saddened me and in some ways that made me smile. God bless.

  4. Jay Burstein said

    Robert Ryan is probably the most mesmerizing, the most intense actor I have had the pleasure of watching. Hie performance in THE WILD BUNCH is deeply entrenched in my memory, particularly when he had to deal with the “egg-sucking, chicken-stealing gutter trash” bounty hunters he had to lead. It’s funny that they mentioned Lloyd Bridges as a friend of Dana Andrews’ but she never saw the sons. I attended a night with Jef Bridges at Lincoln Center a few years ago and Jeff spoke so highly of Robert Ryan. He had the good fortune to work with him and told a stury about how Mr. Ryan, seated at a table in a bar scene waiting for the action to start, and Jeff noticed a pool of water under Ryan’s clenched hands. The water was nervous perspiration, and Jeff recalled how amazed he was that this giant of acting was still nervous excercising his craft. This pod cast was great. THanks to both of these women for sharing these insights about two actors who have given me so much entertainment over the years.

  5. lana said

    Robet Ryan, was a little before my time, but I remember seeing him in many reruns back in the seventies and eighties when I was growing up. He always had a stronge intense look about him. I am currently watching him in a movie as we speak called ” On Dangeous Grounds”, but I was not sure if he was alive or not, so I decided to goggle him. His acting did revival many of the top stars but he never got the recognition that they did, he was never a house old name, but his face you knew and couldnt forget.

    I am a black and white movie fanatic. Althought I am younger, many people are usally amazed of my knowledge and facts about the old classics. I know more about the old actors than I do about the current ones of my generation. The ones of today are not in the class and league of the old classic hollywood.

  6. grace kottas said

    I really loved the family pictures. It really puts a human face to the myth of the movie star.

  7. Hi,I allways liked Robert Ryan and felt like he was a kindred spirit so to speak.Inbetween recording with my band in Los Angeles,I write a echno-thriller series called Running for Clover and it`s dedicated to Robert Ryan.He was one of films greatest actors and he was a kind a brilliant man.Best Wishes,John

  8. Adrian said

    Just one of those great classic actors that aren’t around much anymore. I’m definitely going out and renting some of his films particularly “The Wild Bunch”

  9. M.T. Fisher said

    Dana Andrews was kind enough to send me not only an autographed photo, but a handwritten letter in the early 1980s. His sense of humor shone through, and I enjoyed not only his work, but that of Robert Ryan.

    Their work is sorely missed by the cinema.

  10. Susan Andrews said

    I can see him sitting in his office with pen in hand. He had an amazing sense of humor and he was really a lovely man. That made it extra hard when his memory started going. You have a letter from the last of the letter writing period! And he was a prolific letter writer. It’s very enjoyable to read the love notes to my mother from location spots all over the world. Fortunately, they’ve be kept.

    Best Wishes, Susan

  11. Mike Rhodes said

    Thanks to both of you for sharing your stories which make me realize watching a movie star on screen may be much easier than being part of that persons life or family. Both of your fathers have a special place for all of us who remember when films seemed to be stories not explosisions and car chases. Again thanks and as you already know both of your fathers will continue to inspire us with their screen performances which magically through film stay with us.

  12. brenda said

    Have anyone written a book on Dana Andrews?

  13. Susan Andrews said

    There are currently two books in the works about Dana Andrews. One of them is authorized by the family. It’s taken awhile – my father was working with a biographer for a long time before his death. He has not yet published. A new author is on board who is a highly regarded biographer with many published books. So there will be one, if not two biographies on the shelves in probably 18 months to 2 years.

  14. brenda said

    Thanks Susan

    I love watching your dad my favorite was The Best Years of Our Lives. He was a handsome man and one of my favorite male actors.

  15. caroline said

    Thank you for sharing those memories. Seems like an other world to me, living in a very quiet little place lost in the mountains, far far away from Hollywood. We don’t have TV but we enjoy watching movies (mostly oldies, black and white ones).
    Who better than Dana Andrews could reflect such range of greys, reflecting life’s duality in so many roles and ways ?
    Greetings from snow-capped mountains of Switzerland !

  16. r moore said

    my dad was a robert ryan look alike….asked more than once in the late sixties if my pop was robert ryan….just finished the WILDBUNCH ..THX

  17. I watch up one film every day. I don’t choose a film because it is famous, won Oscar or something like that. I expect the films lock me so the actors too.
    I am 58 and I find out Robert Ryan. For the first time I watched an actor that make me understand what the caracter is thinking, feeling, saying, doing,
    wanting and many others things. I do like to pay attention in Robert Ryan.
    How serious, intelligent, deep, ellegant, tough, religious, weak, friend he could be. No one actor understood or could be better than RRyan. Surprisingly he could be simply an astro. I think he had a high intelligence.
    In The professionals he acted a dificult hole beeing sweet in those bad situations.He knew balance the group and I am sure this idea came from Ryan.
    I watched The Set Up 20 times , Crossfire 25 times, The Acre’s God a lot of times and the others many many many times and this will be repeated till I don’t know.

  18. Andy M said

    I was born a couple of months after the end of the War and we got our first TV in 1950. I was about 6 or 7 the first time I saw A Walk in the Sun; I was immediately hooked. Of course at that age the hero-worship was for Sgt. Tyne, not Dana Andrews. But as I got older, I started to recognize him in other WWII movies: A Wing and a Prayer, Crash Dive, etc. The more mature I got, the more I began to appreciate his talent as an actor. His performance in The Ox Bow Incident was powerful; no small feat in a movie with Anthony Quinn and Henry Fonda. Probably because of its length, they didn’t show Best Years of Our LIves very often and I think it was the late 1970s before I first saw it. His most poignant performance, I think.

    In between, I didn’t see much of him and I didn’t realize how much I missed his work until I was channel-surfing one day around 1964 and found him in a Soap; on black and white TV. What a pleasant surprise to find out he was still alive and acting again. No VCRs in those days, so I didn’t see him again until 1966. It was around Memorial Day and there was a shot of him standing on an over-pass with cars whizzing-by underneath. He said, “My name is Dana Andrews. I don’t drink anymore…but I used to.” Then he went on to warn about drinking and driving.

    The first time I saw him on the big screen was in 1965’s In Harm’s Way. It was a relatively small role but somehow I felt he was home again…in a WWII movie. Maybe Preminger wasn’t so bad after all; I’m guessing he gave Dana the role at least partially in respect for the work he’d done for him years before in Laura.

    When I look at the sequence of his work from Ox Bow to Best Years, I have to conclude that if alcohol hadn’t kidnapped him he would have become as good and as respected an actor as his Best Years co-star, Fredric March. I think the nightmare scene in Best Years and the letter-to-his-wife scene in Ox Bow was as good as someone like Tyrone Power or Henry Fonda could have done it.

    I’m sorry I did’t know there was a way to write to him. I would have told him how glad I was that he came back, and how much enjoyment he brought to me first as a little boy and later as someone who appreciated fine acting.

  19. Susan Andrews said

    Dear Andy M:

    What a nice message Lucy has sent me from her pod-cast posts. You have chosen two of our family’s favorite seen from our dad’s movies: the nightmare scene for “Best Years” and his scenes Ox-bow Incident are really my favorite too. I really appreciate your quote, “If alcohol hadn’t kidnapped him…” Ironically, he escaped from the kidnapper alcoholism, had a wonderful and well deserved ten years doing theatre with my mom in the 70’s, then got kidnapped again by dementia and we lost him. But the movies you’ve mentioned, among others, are a testament to his talent and expertise, and those ten years he spent with the love of his life, performing live (another love) on stages around the country with her, provided him with a perfect ending to a life with three beloved children and three wonderful grandchildren with whom he spent many of his last days.

    Thank you for your appreciation. Susan Andrews

  20. Susan Andrews said

    Dear Andy M:

    What a nice message Lucy has sent me from her pod-cast posts. You have chosen two of our family’s favorite scenes from our dad’s movies: the nightmare scene for “Best Years” and his scenes Ox-bow Incident are really my favorite too. I really appreciate your quote, “If alcohol hadn’t kidnapped him…” Ironically, he escaped from the kidnapper alcoholism, had a wonderful and well deserved ten years doing theatre with my mom in the 70’s, then got kidnapped again by dementia and we lost him. But the movies you’ve mentioned, among others, are a testament to his talent and expertise, and those ten years he spent with the love of his life, performing live (another love) on stages around the country with her, provided him with a perfect ending to a life with three beloved children and three wonderful grandchildren with whom he spent many of his last days.

    Thank you for your appreciation. Susan Andrews

  21. Susan Andrews said

    Dear Andy M:

    What a nice message Lucy has sent me from her pod-cast posts. You have chosen two of our family’s favorite scenes from our dad’s movies: the nightmare scene from “Best Years” and his scenes Ox-bow Incident are really my favorite too. I really appreciate your quote, “If alcohol hadn’t kidnapped him…” Ironically, he escaped from the kidnapper alcoholism, had a wonderful and well deserved ten years doing theatre with my mom in the 70’s, then got kidnapped again by dementia and we lost him. But the movies you’ve mentioned, among others, are a testament to his talent and expertise, and those ten years he spent with the love of his life, performing live (another love) on stages around the country with her, provided him with a perfect ending to a life with three beloved children and three wonderful grandchildren with whom he spent many of his last days.

    Thank you for your appreciation. Susan Andrews

  22. Susan Andrews said

    Dear Andy M:

    What a nice message Lucy has sent me from her pod-cast posts. You have chosen two of our family’s favorite scenes from our dad’s movies: the nightmare scene from “Best Years” and his scenes from Ox-bow Incident are really my favorite too. I really appreciate your quote, “If alcohol hadn’t kidnapped him…” Ironically, he escaped from the kidnapper alcoholism, had a wonderful and well deserved ten years doing theatre with my mom in the 70’s, then got kidnapped again by dementia and we lost him. But the movies you’ve mentioned, among others, are a testament to his talent and expertise, and those ten years he spent with the love of his life, performing live (another love) on stages around the country with her, provided him with a perfect ending to a life with three beloved children and three wonderful grandchildren with whom he spent many of his last days.

    Thank you for your appreciation. Susan Andrews

  23. Kendrew Lascelles said

    I knew Robert Ryan and the family. Lisa tried to reach me on facebook. yesterday, but face book does not work for me. Would you kindly pass on this email address to her as I can’t find hers. Kendrew_Lascelles@verizon.net

  24. Brenda said

    Hi, Susan

    The last time I posted anything was in March 2008. I thought I would check
    back with you and find out if you’re still working on a biography about your father. I am anxious read about your family life while your dad was live.

    God Bless

  25. mike batlin said

    Hi Susan i was thinking about “the old days’ and started thinking about S.F.State—-we shared a couple of classes together but I am not sure you’ll remember me. The one thing we did have in common was a friendship with Art Gerow. I worked with Art at Shreve & Co. Jewelers and considered him a very good friend…I hope you are doing well and enjoying your life. I am doing fine and have a very good life. If you get a chance drop me a line.
    Sincerely Mike

  26. ryana said

    dear lisa
    your dead was a great man i read too much about him even if i leave in north africa africa and im younger than you i mean my generation don’t know your father as actor but i do because i use to go to the theatre when i was just 4 and mr robert ryan rest in peace. for me was and still THE ACTOR off all times.i dont knew him personnaly but mr RYAN was talented charming ellegant deep serious simple kind and a pro and no one can be better than him it s a gift from god to be a good actor and a good man in a hard times i mean when he begun acting any way i prefer mr ryan to marlon brondo or robert mitchum or even brad pitt or tom cruise who are close to my generation .something else i don t know why mr ryan thing that he is not agood looking man he was wrong he was one of the most elegant actor and handsome man of the 7th art and as we say in french personne ne lui arrive a la cheville et aujourdhuit encore plus meme 30 apres sa mort une vraie etoile voila ce que javais a dire de ce grand mr ROBERT RYAN.
    . RYANA KELT

    JOURNALIST AND PHOTO JOURNALIST

    GOD BLESS YOU.

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