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Actor Alan Ladd Is Dead

Jan. 29, 1964 - Alan Ladd, the velvet-voiced, iron-jawed her of 150 Hollywood films, died quietly today in his plush winter home in Palm Springs, Calif., the apparent victim of a heart attack. The 50-year-old blond actor was found dead in his bed at 3:30 p.m. local time by a servant, Wendell Tyler, police said. Ladd was dressed in pajamas, just as Tyler had last seen him at 10 a.m. when he went to serve the actor breakfast. Detecting no signs of life, Tyler immediately telephoned Samuel Vorzimer, Ladd’s partner in a hardware store in Palm Springs. Vorzimer informed police and Ladd’s wife, the former Sue Carol, who was at the couple’s home at 322 N. Mapleton Dr., West Los Angeles.

“It was a terrible shock to Mrs. Ladd,” said a family friend. “She had spoken to him by telephone only last night, and there was no indication anything was wrong with him.” However, Deputy Coroner Robert L. Blake, whose home is near the actor’s, said he attended Ladd last night. “He was restless and couldn’t sleep,” Dr. Blake said. He did not elaborate. Efforts to revive the actor failed, and he was pronounced dead by Dr. Joseph Sage, who informed police death was probably due to a heart attack. Police Lieut. Thomas Aitken said an autopsy would be conducted tomorrow to determine the exact cause of death.

One of Ladd’s most memorable portrayals was that of the reluctant gunfighter in “Shane” (pictured). In virtually all his films, Ladd was the strong, silent man of action who spoke with his fists or six-guns. His latest film, still to be released, is “The Carpetbaggers.”

Although he was a firearms expert, Ladd almost killed himself in a shooting accident in 1962 at his Hidden Valley ranch near Camarillo. At the time, Ladd said he thought he heard a prowler, grabbed a gun, and tripped over, accidentally shooting himself in the chest with a .38-caliber revolver. Besides his wife, surviving are two sons, Alan Jr., 26, and David, 16, and a daughter, Lana, 20.


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