Ellen Drew

Ellen Drew
Born Terry Ray or
Esther Loretta Ray

(1915-11-23)November 23, 1915
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died December 3, 2003(2003-12-03) (aged 88)
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1935–61
Spouse(s) Fred Wallace (1935-1940) (divorced) 1 child
Sy Bartlett (1941-1949) (divorced) 1 child
William T. Walker (1951-1967) (divorced)
James Edward Herbert (1971-?)
Children David Wallace (b. 1936)[1]

Ellen Drew (November 23, 1915 – December 3, 2003) was an American film actress.[2]


Early life

Drew was the daughter of an Irish barber, born Esther Loretta Ray[3][4][5] or Terry Ray in Kansas City, Missouri. She worked various jobs and won a number of beauty contests before becoming an actress.[6] Moving to Hollywood in an attempt to become a star, she was discovered while working at an ice cream parlor where one of the customers, actor William Demarest, took notice of her and eventually helped her get into films.[7]


Ray's venture into the movies brought about a conflict in names with another Terry Ray, a male actor. A 1937 newspaper photo showed the resolution of the conflict as "They conferred, drew lots from the hat and masculine Terry Ray became Terry Rains, while feminine Terry Ray remained as before."[8]

After appearing in 25 features using her birth name,[9] she became a fixture at Paramount Pictures as Ellen Drew from 1938 to 1943, where she appeared in as many as six films per year, including Sing You Sinners (1938) with Bing Crosby and The Lady's from Kentucky (1939) with George Raft. She moved to RKO in 1944. Among her leading men were Ronald Colman, William Holden, Basil Rathbone, Dick Powell, and Robert Preston (in The Night of January 16th and Night Plane from Chungking).

Her films include Christmas in July (1940), Isle of the Dead (1945), Johnny O'Clock (1947), The Man from Colorado (1948), The Crooked Way (1949) and The Baron of Arizona with Vincent Price (1950). In the 1950s, with her movie career on the decline, she worked as a television actress. Among her final roles was the part of Julia Webberly in the 1960 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Larcenous Lady."


On July 25, 1943, Drew co-starred with Preston Foster in "China Bridge," a presentation of Silver Theater on CBS radio.[10]

Personal life

Drew married screenwriter Sy Bartlett, August 16, 1941, at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.[11]


She died in Palm Desert, California on December 3, 2003.

Partial filmography


  1. http://www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com/show/301/Ellen+Drew/index.html
  2. "Drew, Ellen (1914–2003)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. Gale. 2007. Retrieved January 7, 2013 from HighBeam Research
  3. Raw, Laurence (2012). Character Actors in Horror and Science Fiction Films, 1930-1960. McFarland. pp. 72–74. ISBN 9780786490493. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  4. Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 154. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  5. "Ellen Drew". The Indiana Gazette. Pennsylvania, Indiana. December 19, 1990. p. 4. Retrieved August 5, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  6. Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2. P. 359.
  7. Sullivan, Ed (June 1, 1938). "Hollywood". Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 19. Retrieved April 3, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  8. "Ex-Raying a Name From a Hat". The Piqua Daily Call. August 14, 1937. p. 16. Retrieved April 3, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  9. Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 204. ISBN 9781557835512. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  10. "Ellen Drew, Preston Foster to Star on Silver Theater". Chicago Tribune. July 25, 1943. p. 4W. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  11. "Ex Soda Fountain Girl, Writer Are Married At Lake". The Fresno Bee The Republican. August 17, 1941. p. 1. Retrieved April 3, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
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