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Joan Woodbury

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Full Name  Joanne Woodbury
Role  Actress
Name  Joan Woodbury

Years active  1934–1964
Other names  Nana Martinez
Education  Hollywood High School
Joan Woodbury FileJoan Woodbury in The Desperadoesjpg Wikimedia Commons

Born  December 17, 1915 (1915-12-17) Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died  February 22, 1989, Desert Hot Springs, California, United States
Spouse  Ray Mitchell (m. 1971–1989), Henry Wilcoxon (m. 1938–1971)
Children  Wendy Joan Wilcoxon, Heather Ann Wilcoxon, Cecilia Dawn Wilcoxon
Movies  King of the Zombies, Brenda Starr - Reporter, The Living Ghost, Paper Bullets, Northwest Trail
Similar People  Henry Wilcoxon, Phil Rosen, Jean Yarbrough, Sam Katzman, Sam Newfield

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Joan Woodbury (December 17, 1915 – February 22, 1989) was an American actress beginning in the 1930s and continuing well into the 1960s.


Joan Woodbury MCharlie Chan on Broadway 1937

Joan Woodbury - "Incidentally" (1941)

Early life

Joan Woodbury httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

She was born Joan Elmer Woodbury in Los Angeles, California. Her father was Elmer Franklin Woodbury, and her mother was born Joan Meta Hadenfeldt, whose father Charles Hadenfeldt had emigrated to the USA from Germany. Elmer Woodbury owned various hotels, including the La Casa Grande and Maryland hotels in Pasadena, and the Hotel Richelieu in downtown Los Angeles. Her mother had been six times 'Rose Queen' at Pasadena's Tournament of Roses, and had been in vaudeville.

Joan Woodbury Joan Woodbury Celebrities lists

When she was four years old Joan had an 18 year old live-in governess, Marie Sandow. In 1922, when she was six years old, she was selected for the leading role in a series of children's fairy story films: an article about this in the San Francisco Chronicle commented "Joan Woodbury has been known for some time as America's 100 Per Cent Child, and has been photographed, sketched and painted by many artists." She first studied for seven years in a convent, later trained in dance, and eventually graduated from Hollywood High School. Woodbury began dancing for the Agua Caliente dance company, and at 19 decided to attempt a career in acting.

She moved to Hollywood and that same year received her first acting role in the 1934 film Eight Girls in a Boat, which was uncredited. Another uncredited role followed, with her first credited role being in the 1934 film One Exciting Adventure, which starred Binnie Barnes. Her first major role, billed as Nana Martinez, was in a Hopalong Cassidy movie The Eagle's Brood. Woodbury appeared in fifteen films from 1934 through 1935, of which ten were uncredited.

Career rise

In 1936, her career began to become more successful, with appearances in eight films that year, of which five were uncredited. However, of the three roles that were credited, Woodbury made an impact, and caught the attention of studios. Her mixture of Danish, British and Native American heritage gave her an exotic appearance, and allowed her to be cast in many different ethnicities, from Hispanic to French and Asian. By 1937 her career had taken off, mostly in B-movies such as Living on Love and Bulldog Courage, but also with her receiving many credited roles.

Joan Woodbury Joan Woodbury The Private Life and Times of Joan Woodbury Joan

In 1937, Woodbury starred in her first of several credited Charlie Chan films, titled Charlie Chan on Broadway. She also began appearing in numerous westerns, portraying the heroine opposite some of the 1930s biggest cowboy actors, to include William Boyd of Hopalong Cassidy fame, Roy Rogers, and Johnny Mack Brown. Woodbury would appear in fifty films from 1937 to 1945, almost all of which were credited. Her most memorable of that period was her lead role in the serial Brenda Starr, Reporter, in 1945.

Personal life

On December 17, 1938, Woodbury married actor and producer Henry Wilcoxon, with whom she had three daughters: Wendy Joan Robert (born 1939), Heather Ann (born 1947, named after Heather Angel) and Cecilia Dawn "CiCi" (1950, named after Cecil B. DeMille). They divorced in 1969. After the marriage, according to film critic Don Daynard, she "continued her career but never graduated from the minors", featuring in such films as Barnyard Follies, In Old Cheyenne and Brenda Starr, Reporter.

Founding of Valley Players Guild and retirement

From 1946 her career declined, more due to her desire to spend more time with her family than her not having acting offers. After her marriage to Wilcoxon ended in divorce, she married actor Ray Mitchell, with whom she founded the company Valley Players Guild in Palm Springs. The Valley Players Guild staged plays featuring other veteran actors and actresses.

In addition to managing their company, she continued to act on occasion, with her biggest role after 1946 being a minor credited part in the 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter. Her last film appearance was a supporting role in the movie The Time Travelers (1964).

In 1963-1964, Woodbury had a television program, Adventure in Art on KCHU-TV, a UHF station in San Bernardino, California. The program consisted of "26 dramatized and illustrated series of exciting adventures in the world of art."

When Woodbury retired, she had appeared in 81 films. (A newspaper article published September 23, 1963, reported that Woodbury "appeared in more than 300 films.") Woodbury eventually settled in Desert Hot Springs, California, where she was residing at the time of her death at the age of 73.


Joan Woodbury Wikipedia