Alan Curtis (American actor)

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Alan Curtis
Curtis and Ella Raines in
Phantom Lady (1944)
Born Harry Ueberroth
(1909-07-24)July 24, 1909
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died February 2, 1953(1953-02-02) (aged 43)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death complication of surgery
Resting place Memorial Park Cemetery and Crematorium, Skokie, Illinois
Occupation Film actor
Years active 1936–1951
Spouse(s) Priscilla Lawson
(m.1937-40; divorced)
Ilona Massey
(m. 1941-42; divorced)
Sandy Crowell
Betty Dodero
(m.1950-51; divorced)

Alan Curtis (July 24, 1909 – February 2, 1953) was an American film actor who appeared in over 50 films.

Early life and career[edit]

Born Harry Ueberroth or Harold Neberroth[1][2] in Chicago, he began his career as a model[3] before becoming an actor, appearing in local newspaper ads.

His looks did not go unnoticed in Hollywood. He began appearing in films in the late 1930s, making his screen debut in Winterset (1936).[4] His film activities included a Technicolor appearance in the Alice Faye-Don Ameche film Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) and a memorable role in High Sierra (1941). He was one of the romantic leads in Abbott and Costello's first hit film Buck Privates (1941).

His chance for leading-man stardom came when he replaced the unwilling John Garfield in the production Flesh and Fantasy (1943). Curtis played a ruthless killer opposite Gloria Jean. However, the studio cut their performances from the final film version. The footage was later expanded into a B-picture melodrama Destiny (1944). The film failed to establish Curtis as a major-name star, but it did typecast him in hardbitten roles, like the man framed for murder in Phantom Lady (1944) and the detective Philo Vance. Curtis starred in over two dozen movies.

Personal life[edit]

Alan Curtis was married four times, including to actresses Priscilla Lawson[1] and Ilona Massey. On November 21, 1950, he married Elizabeth Sundmark Dodero in New York.[5] He was also married to Alexandra Crowell.[6]


Curtis had a routine kidney operation on January 28, 1953, at Saint Clare's Hospital in New York City. Several hours after the surgery, as he sipped some tea, he "died" for four minutes when his heart failed.[7] He was revived and seemed to be improving but died five days later, aged 43.[8] He is buried in the Ueberroth family plot in Skokie, Illinois.[9]


Curtis has a star at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in the Motion Picture section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[10]

Partial filmography[edit]

Alan Curtis and Patricia Morison in Hitler's Madman (1943).


  1. ^ a b Room, Adrian (2012). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 127. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  2. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 45.
  3. ^ Daniel, Blum (1969). Screen World Vol. 5 1954. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 208. ISBN 9780819602602. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Film Actor Alan Curtis Dead, Week After Kidney Operation". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Ohio, Cincinnati. Associated Press. 2 February 1952. p. 31. Retrieved January 7, 2018 – via open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "Marriages". Billboard. p. 40. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Actor John Payne Weds Ex-Wife of Alan Curtis". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. 28 September 1953. p. 2. Retrieved January 8, 2018 – via open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "Actor, Dead Four Minutes, Is Improving", Lewiston Morning Tribune, January 29, 1953
  8. ^ "Alan Curtis, Actor, Dead", Lewiston Morning Tribune, February 2, 1953
  9. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 171. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Alan Curtis". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.

External links[edit]