Image of Ellen Drew

Ellen Drew

Talented Missourian Ellen Drew. born as Esther Loretta Ray, was the daughter of an Irish barber. She worked various jobs (accountant, salesgirl) to support her family until her fresh-faced good looks and high-wattage smile earned her a couple of beauty pageant trophies. Encouraged to try her luck in Hollywood, she was discovered in somewhat typical Lana Turner fashion. While working at an ice cream parlor, customer William Demarest took notice of her and was instrumental in having her put under contract at Paramount Studios in 1936. Initially billed as Terry Ray, she was groomed in starlet bits for two years until finally given a role she could sink her teeth into in the Bing Crosby musical Sing, You Sinners (1938). Her hair was changed from brunette to auburn (sometimes blonde) and her moniker changed from Terry Ray to Ellen Drew. Brighter roles came her way with If I Were King (1938), which clinched her celebrity, Women Without Names (1940) and Buck Benny Rides Again (1940). Ellen seemed destined for top-flight stardom, but somehow it didn't happen. She never managed to distinguish herself among the bevy of Hollywood beauties on display and so remained on the outer fringes for most her career. Despite fine roles in fine movies, notably the Preston Sturges classic Christmas in July (1940) and the Dick Powell starrer Johnny O'Clock (1947), Ellen's film career went on a steep decline. In the 1950s she transferred her talents to TV before retiring the following decade. Married four times, including writer/producer Sy Bartlett, she left one son and several grandchildren when she passed away in 2003 at age 88 in Palm Desert, California.

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Nov 23, 1915 In Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Rhythm on the Range 1936-07-01
Latest Project:
Series Perry Mason 1957-09-21
Known For
Poster of The Millionaire
Poster of Schlitz Playhouse of Stars
Poster of The Great Missouri Raid
Poster of Lux Video Theatre
Series Perry Mason Unknown 1957-09-21
Movie Outlaw's Son Ruth Sewall 1957-07-01
Series The Millionaire Unknown 1955-01-19
Movie The Great Missouri Raid Bee Moore 1951-02-01
Movie Man in the Saddle Nan Melotte 1951-12-02
Series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Unknown 1951-10-05
Movie Davy Crockett, Indian Scout Frances Oatman 1950-01-06
Movie The Baron of Arizona Sofia de Peralta-Reavis 1950-03-04
Series Lux Video Theatre Unknown 1950-10-02
Movie Stars in My Crown Harriet Gray 1950-05-11
Movie Cargo to Capetown Kitty Mellar 1950-04-01
Movie The Crooked Way Nina Martin 1949-04-22
Movie The Swordsman Barbara Glowan 1948-01-02
Movie The Man from Colorado Caroline Emmet 1948-08-07
Movie Johnny O'Clock Nelle Marchettis 1947-01-23
Movie Crime Doctor's Man Hunt Irene Cotter / Natalie Cotter 1946-10-24
Movie Sing While You Dance Susan Kent 1946-07-25
Movie China Sky Louise Thompson 1945-05-16
Movie Man Alive Connie McBride 1945-11-16
Movie Isle of the Dead Thea 1945-09-01
Movie Dark Mountain Kay Downey 1944-09-01
Movie The Impostor Yvonne 1944-02-10
Movie That's My Baby! Betty Moody 1944-09-14
Movie Night Plane from Chungking Ann Richards 1943-05-31
Movie The Remarkable Andrew Peggy Tobin 1942-03-05
Movie Star Spangled Rhythm Ellen Drew (uncredited) 1942-03-05
Movie My Favorite Spy Teresa 'Terry' Kyser 1942-06-12
Movie Ice-Capades Revue Ann Porter 1942-12-24
Movie The Monster and the Girl Susan Webster 1941-02-28
Movie Reaching for the Sun Rita 1941-05-01
Movie The Night of January 16th Katherine "Kit" Lane 1941-11-28
Movie The Parson of Panamint Mary Mallory 1941-07-25
Movie Our Wife Babe Marvin 1941-08-20
Movie Women Without Names Joyce King 1940-03-14
Movie Buck Benny Rides Again Joan Cameron 1940-05-31
Movie French Without Tears Diana Lake 1940-02-02
Movie Christmas in July Betsy Casey 1940-10-25
Movie The Texas Rangers Ride Again Ellen 'Slats' Dangerfield 1940-12-13
Movie The Mad Doctor Linda Booth 1940-11-09
Movie The Lady's from Kentucky Penelope 'Penny' Hollis 1939-04-27
Movie The Gracie Allen Murder Case Ann Wilson 1939-06-02
Movie The Escape Reporter 1939-10-05
Movie Geronimo Alice Hamilton 1939-11-26
Movie Dangerous to Know Secretary 1938-03-11
Movie Scandal Street (uncredited) 1938-02-11
Movie Cocoanut Grove Radio Station Receptionist 1938-05-20
Movie Sing, You Sinners Martha Randall 1938-09-02
Movie You and Me Cashier (uncredited) 1938-06-01
Movie If I Were King Huguette 1938-09-28
Movie Murder Goes to College Lil 1937-02-24
Movie Make Way for Tomorrow Usherette (uncredited) 1937-05-09
Movie Night of Mystery Secretary 1937-05-21
Movie Hollywood Boulevard Terry Ray - Casting Office Secretary (uncredited) 1936-08-20
Movie Rhythm on the Range Party Guest 1936-07-01
Movie Lady Be Careful Girl in Sailboat 1936-09-03
Movie College Holiday Dancer on Train 1936-12-19
Movie The Accusing Finger Wife 1936-11-17
Movie The Big Broadcast of 1937 Telephone Girl (as Terry Ray) 1936-10-05