Alan Curtis (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 08, 2022

When illustrators and commercial artists were seeking two-fisted masculine punch for advertisements, they called on Alan Curtis. His brown hair, blue eyes and square jaw, now familiar to millions of magazine readers, will soon be equally well known to motion picture audiences.

The advertisements brought Curtis to the attention of Hollywood, and a Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer contract. Now, after six months in Hollywood, he has been cast in a star-making role as Joan Crawford’s husband in “Mannequin.”

Curtis, as a boy, had two aspirations. He couldn’t decide whether to become an actor or a sea captain. Now that he has attained one ambition, he says he doesn’t care about the other.

It was only a few years ago that all Curtis bothered about was making some kind of a living.

“If anyone had ever told me that I would eventually reach Hollywood, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Curtis.

Launches Career

“Especially,” he added, “after all the doors that have been slammed in my face.”

Born in Rogers Park, a suburb of Chicago, July 24, Curtis graduated from the Armstrong grade and Senn high schools. In high school, he won his letters in football, track, baseball and basketball, but discovered that athletic prowess counted for little in the business world when he went job hunting.

He finally landed a job with a small loan company as a bill collector.

Proving that opportunity can strike in strange places, it caught up with Curtis while he was driving a taxi, his next job. A customer, impressed with the young man’s pleasant personality and square jaw, offered him the chance to make a few dollars on the side. He explained that as an advertising man, he saw possibilities in Curtis as a model.

The ad attracted attention and within a few weeks, Curtis ceased driving taxicabs as artists, photographers and advertising agencies sought him for their advertisements. After two years in Chicago, during which he posed with everything from automobiles to refrigerators, Curtis went to New York.

He was an immediate success in New York. Not only in demand for advertisements, Curtis served as the model for many magazine covers. After saving for a year, he found that he had ample funds for a European vacation, and sailed for Paris.

Manhattan Success

From Paris, Alan went to London, working his way. When he returned to New York, he was offered a screen test, which was successful. This resulted in the role of a sailor in “Winterset,” with Burgess Meredith.

Brought to the attention of Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer, he played small roles in “Between Two Women” and “Bad Guy.” His work attracted such favorable notice, that he was tested for the role of Eddie in “Mannequin,” with an acting opportunity second only to that of the co-stars, Miss Crawford and Spencer Tracy.

Curtis is six feet, one inch tall, and weighs 180 pounds. Unmarried, he lives alone in a Hollywood bungalow, and has devoted his time since arriving at the studio to learning all he can about the business of being an actor.

It is interesting that Curtis’ favorite illustrator is Bradshaw Crandall, one of America’s most famous artists. A few years ago, Crandall helped another young actress get her start, when she was just beginning in New York. Her name was Norma Shearer.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937