Alan Ladd's Height
5ft 6 (167.6 cm)
American actor, best remembered for roles in films like Shane, Hell on Frisco Bay, Boy on a Dolphin, The Carpetbaggers, The Great Gatsby, The Blue Dahlia, The Proud Rebel, The Badlanders, and Botany Bay.
Every one says how short Alan was, but he was not so short. I worked with James Cagney and Edward G Robinson who were both shorter than me. I'm 5'5.5, Alan was about an inch taller
- Virginia Mayo
Remember, I'm 5'7" and he was shorter. He stood on a box and I wore tennis shoes [in the Great Gatsby]
- Carole Matthews, Ladies of Westerns
In the army, Ladd was listed as standing 5ft 7 inches and in the film Blue Dahlia his character's weight was described as 160 pounds.
Some actresses - like Shelley Winters in Saskatchewan - complained about having to stand in a ditch, with Ladd not liking the idea of being on an apple box. Indeed, many tricks were used in Ladd's films to enhance his stature with leading ladies and deflate the height of bad guys. On one occasion, actor Hugh O'Brian commented that Ladd wasn't much taller than Mickey Rooney and after setting up camera shots a guy would dig a hole for him: "He digs half a hole. He takes my dirt from the first half and uses it as a mound for Ladd to stand on."
[I like the idea of] Little guys being as heroic as Alan Ladd, who was only about five foot five. When he's with the girl their heads are on the same level, but when you look at their belts, his is at the level of her chest, and it's very silly.
- Terry Gilliam
I was complaining because they had me wearing elevator shoes and they were very uncomfortable. They were actually Alan Ladd's and his feet were smaller than mine.
- Robert Conrad
On the other side of the door as you went in was a mark.
The star of the film was Alan Ladd, who was not very tall - and if you entered the room and were above the mark, you were automatically disqualified.
- Michael Caine
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Ladd said he is 5.9 and never wears lifts. He seemed a little touchy about his height when another reported asked him if he wore lifts to raise it. "If you look at the physical part of a human you aren't following the movie. The character developing is more important than that."
I made a picture with Alan Ladd in Canada. They dug a trench for me to stand in. During our love scene I forgot it was there and in trying to get out almost broke my leg. I think he carries his own digger with him.
-- Shelley Winters, 1957
My father wasn't that small. My father actually was 5 feet 8. That's some kind of fallacy that he was smaller than that. I'm 5 feet 10.
-- Alan Ladd Jr in 1975
I was in love with Alan Ladd and I went to a party at Romanoff’s. I’m 5’7”. In heels, I’m 5’9” or 5’10”. They said, “Shirley, your favorite actor is here. Come and meet him.” I turned around. He was there and I went, “Oh hi, Mr. Ladd.” (expecting him to be taller and realizing she’s looking down at him) He was about 4’9” and all my admiration disappeared literally in the dust.
-- Shirley MacLaine
You May Be Interested
Add a Comment189 comments
Average Guess (19 Votes)
5ft 5.76in (167cm)
pauline McConville said on 4/Oct/18
I loved Alan Ladd and still do
he was tall enough and why go on about it. He was extraordinarily handsome and a great actor with a voice like velvet. Beautiful man and human being
said on 13/Jan/18
Here's Virginia Mayo talking about Ladd and his height from 12 mins in a 1977 interview.
Gives it at 5'5-5'6 which is a little shorter than she quoted in his 1979 biography.
I always argued 5'7 for Ladd, but seeing a recent barefoot Movie clip and Virginia's quotes I agree 5'5-5'6.
Ian C. said on 10/Jan/18
Has a fight with six foot two Ben Johnson in Shane, but you don't get a sense that he was that much shorter than Johnson. So that was pretty skillful filming. He does not share a frame with six foot four Jack Palance (whom he plausibly accuses of being a lowdown Yankee liar.) Noticeably taller than Brandon deWilde, and most of the tables in the scenes in the saloon.
Legend said on 1/Jan/18
He was 5ft 3, if you are a fan then 5ft 8, a really big fan would stretch it to 5ft 9.
He looks short, 5ft 6 men don't look short, you don't point at a 5ft5 or 5ft6 guy and say he looks short, because he doesn't, he blends into the crowd as an average man.
Ladd looks short and I'd day judging by pictures of him with other actors he looks 5ft3 tops.
Standard cowboy boots with Cuban heels can be 2 to 2.5inch heels.
Just check shoe stores on the web,throw in a 1.5 inch lift and you are looking at 4 inches taller, and being secure and calf high you'd be able to run in the things.
FRWASYL said on 2/Jul/17
I JUST WATCHED A YUO TUBE BIT ON VERONICA LAKE & IT SAID SHE WAS 4'11' AND LADD WAS 5'?? SO, 5 FOOT TO 5'8" .. I WAS 5'7 3.4" BUT WHOSE MEASURING AND AS I PASSED ABOUT 75, HAVE SHRUNK QUITE A BIT BUT MOST STOOP.
WENT DOWN THE COMMENTS, I SERVED IN THE MILITARY, HAD MANY PHYSICALS. FOR ENTRY PHYSICALS, YOU ARE WEIGHED AND HEIGHT CHECKED IN UNDERWEAR AND SOCKS. LATER WHAT IS EASIEST FOR THOSE DOING IT. IF HEIGHT IS ON FORMAL PAPERS, IT IS RIGHT.
Shredder said on 14/Dec/16
Yeah , he was the Tom Cruise of the 50's , not as short as people say. I believe he could have been close to 5'7
tex said on 3/Nov/16
Ladd's Army enlistment height which was measured in bare feet, lists him at 5'7".
said on 27/Jul/16
His own son put him at 5'6 or 5'7.
My guess 166/167. We'll never know. Maybe Alan didn't know for sure himself.
Darlene Gorcyca said on 25/Jul/16
Audie Murphy's height was listed as 5'5" when he enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 ( he lied about his age, saying he was 18). He continued to grow even into his adult life, because of malnutrition . At the time of his death he was around 5'9" tall. An interviewer meeting him when he was at the end of his career said he was surprised at how tall he was. When he played next to Alan Ladd he was very young and probably about 5'7"".
Robby D. said on 4/May/16
@Parker - Interesting photographs. Ed Begley is listed as 5' 7" on all the sites I have seen online yet he seemed to tower over Alan Ladd in that photo. Could it be that Begley being on the short side himself, was wearing lifts for the film? That would account for the height difference between him and Ladd who is barefoot. Incidentally, I watched an old western movie with Audie Murphy the other day. As you know Murphy was 5' 5" yet in the film he looked no shorter than anyone else.
said on 28/Apr/16
@Robby, Rob's just listed Pat Hingle at 5'10 (My guess too)
That would confirm Ed Begley (next to Hingle) at 5'7/5'8
Begley pictured here with Ladd (Guy in suit)
Alan does look quite short in comparison, accepting he is barefoot in the pic...........5'5 'ish' ? As you posted, very similar to Elisha Cook Jnr. Yet in Shane, they made him look 4 -5 inches taller - Movie magic.
5'5-5'6 for Alan IMO. Not as short as 5'4.
Robby D said on 10/Apr/16
@Parker - I agree entirely. What I cannot understand is how Avalon was ever listed as 5' 8".
Parker said on 9/Apr/16
@Robby, may be weak 5'6 for Ladd and weak 5'5 for Frankie? They both look to be booted in that pic, maybe Ladd had an internal 1 inch lift, Idk. Walking pictures are notoriosly hard to judge, but of all the pics I've seen of Ladd and personal quotes/testaments I wouldn't put him over 5'6, so Frankie has to be shorter.?
Robby D said on 7/Apr/16
@Parker - That is an interesting photo of Alan Ladd with Frankie Avalon. Frankie is listed as 5' 8" on a lot of sites, he allegedly stated he was 5' 7" and the last time I checked he was 5' 6.5" on this site. However, people who have met him in person say he was more like 5' 5" and I think the photo you posted confirms that. Although in the picture Alan Ladd looks at least 2" taller so unless Alan is wearing lifts that would make Frankie about 5' 4".
said on 4/Apr/16
Another interesting pic - Rob has Walter Brennan at 6'
said on 4/Apr/16
@ Robby D. I agree
Virginia Mayo who was a friend of Ladd off camera claims 5'5.5 and guessed Alan about an inch taller, but in the dance scene with her in Iron Maiden he appeared 2 inches taller, but she was in flats and he in boots with a solid 1.5 inch heel. I argued at one point for a 5'7 height for Ladd - not now. My guess was 166/167
Although I don't understand this pic with 5'6 listed Frankie Avalon.
Robby D said on 3/Apr/16
@Parker - I just watched a re-run of the movie "Shane" and in one of the scenes Shane (Alan Ladd) towered over Stonewall (Elisha Cook Jr.) when the two stood eye to eye. Elisha Cook Jr. is listed as 5' 5" so in reality there probably wasn't much difference in their heights..
said on 5/Feb/16
@ Robby D - Apparently Shelley Winters was very desparaging about Ladd in that film - she said that she (at 5'4) kept being planted in a ditch. She said she tripped over some rocks one day and felt lucky she didn't break her neck! I've seen Saskatchewan and they made Ladd look 5'9 which was very clever. In the Great Gatsby when Ladd was playing alongside Macdonald Carey,Barry Sullivan and Howard DaSilva (all 6 footers) the studio built a raised platform covered with carpet that sloped down to the regular floor -Ladd felt humiliated and he was by then a big star, he personally chose actors he would work with in the future.
If you ever get chance to see the Great Gatsby, there is a barefoot scene that Alan has with Elisha Cook Jnr (in footwear) listed at 5'5 on army admission, and in the scene, Alan actually looks marginally shorter!
Here's a still
Ed Begley, the other male in the scene, is listed at 5'7 on IMDB - Mext to Eastwood here I'd peg him ~5'8
Robby D said on 30/Jan/16
It is interesting to read the comments which Shelley Winters and Hugh O'Brian allegedly made about Alan Ladd in the movie, "Saskatchewan." I watched that movie yesterday and he looked as tall if not taller than J Carrol Naish who is listed as 5' 8" and in a few scenes he seemed to be eye to eye with Hugh O'Brian. He was definitely not standing on a box nor they standing in a ditch so far as I could see. Hugh O'Brian is listed as 6' 0" so I doubt if lifts would have made Alan Ladd anywhere near his height if he is 5' 6". I am curious as to how they did it.
Parker said on 8/Jan/16
Jim said on 20/Dec/15
Looking closely it looks like the ground Ladd is standing on is slightly elevated in comparison to that of Jean Arthur.
Don't disagree - But you can't make a 5'4 guy look 5'8/5'9 as they did in Shane. I don't think he was quite 5'6 but I'd bet the farm he was a solid 5'5 at minimum
Last Chance said on 21/Dec/15
He was probably about 5-6. He had two things. Looks and a great voice. It gave him screen presence. He could act too. Just watch Shane. His wife convinced him not to take the role of Jett Rink in Giant. It went to James Dean, but I think Ladd could have pulled it off too. His Rink would have been slightly different than Dean. More smoldering, quiet and strong. It would have been interesting to see him do the scenes with Elizabeth Taylor. Dean wasn't tall either. No matter what Rock Hudson was going to the tallest actor in that movie. I'm a Dean fan, but it would have been interesting to see Ladd in that movie. George Stevens knew how to get the best out of him as he did in Shane.
Jim said on 20/Dec/15
Looking closely it looks like the ground Ladd is standing on is slightly elevated in comparison to that of Jean Arthur. Compare Ladd's shoe elevation to that of Brandon deWide. It looks slightly lower.in the scene.
said on 18/Oct/15
John said on 16/Oct/15
He was 5'4" tall
Jean Arthur is listed at 5'3 on here. If you pause the clip at 1.47 you can see there is no way Ladd was only 5'4.
John said on 16/Oct/15
He was 5'4" tall.
He can't of been 5'6".He wouldn't have to stand on boxes etc if he was! Not for a man of that height.
Parker said on 17/May/15
He looked to be walking around at 5'8 in Shane, no doubt he had lifts inside his boots and a thick heel.
Ed said on 14/May/15
A chilidhood friend down the block was Van Heflin's nephew. He told me Heflin was 5'9.
Parker said on 2/May/15
According to his biographer, the Army Air Force gave him an honourable discharge in November 1943 due to ill health. His height on his discharge papers was listed as 5'9, which is ludicrous IMO.
Filmnut said on 24/Nov/14
Reading down some, posters seem to think lifts versus bare feet add 2 inches to height. But lifts with heeled or build up shoes can easily add four inches to height. A 5'4" Ladd can stand nose to nose with Bogart in this scenario (but I have no ida how tall Ladd is, the picture of him with Mickey O assumes his height was correctly given at 5'5" but he always seemed even shorter).
said on 12/Nov/14
Elisha Cook Jnr -Enlisted in U.S. Army on 15 August 1942. Height and weight at enlistment given as 5' 5" and 123 lb. Education given as three years of high school.
Here's Elisha next to a barefoot Alan in a still from the Great Gatsby - Cook in footwear. Draw your own conclusions.
Arch Stanton said on 12/Nov/14
Rob, there's repetition of the " He was listed as 5ft 7 in the army." part now, perhaps delete that and move the new sentence up, cheers. Funny, the radio report on him as a wanted fugitive in the Blue Dahlia they even described his eye and hair colour and weight but funnily no mention of his height hehe!! I guess it wouldn't sound very impressive if he was described as 5 ft 6!
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Rob you might want to update with "He was listed as 5ft 7 in the army, and in the film The Blue Dahlia his character got described on a radio report as "around 160 pounds".
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
There was definitely a good reason why he got paired with Lake in a string of movies!!
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Funnily enough they made him look like an average-tallish leading man in the Blue Dahlia, although they cast short actors and he was wearing lifts. I think Veronica Lake got the lead actress role for a reason :-)
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Well, I suppose 5'5 and change is not within the realms of possibility but I can't see it..
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Yeah there's absolutely no way he was sub 5 ft 6. Granted he often wore lifts and was filmed in advantageous ground with all sorts of tricks to reduce the height, but if anything he generally could seem taller than this proportionally.
said on 8/Nov/14
John says on 5/Nov/14
He wore lifts and had to stand on boxes. Trenches were dug.....CORRECT
He has been described as very short........CORRECT
He was 5ft 4in tall. It's obvious.....
Obvious? Here he is next to 5'3 Jean Arthur
Next to 5'8 Humphrey Bogart
He stood 5ft 6in or so with lifts (STANDING 5'8 WITH BOGART)
Bare feet 5ft 4 - INCORRECT
John said on 5/Nov/14
He wore lifts and had to stand on boxes. Trenches were dug.
He has been described as very short.
He was 5ft 4in tall. It's obvious.
He stood 5ft 6in or so with lifts.
Bare feet 5ft 4
Parker said on 13/Oct/14
aldo 93 says on 11/Oct/14
he had to stand on a box of oranges to kiss the woman in the ion mistress
Not true. Virginia Mayo played opposite him in Iron Mistress and has commented in his biography she estimated him an inch taller than her 5'5.5. She also stated in his biography she never stood in a ditch, or he on a box. She did however always wear flats opposite him.
aldo 93 said on 11/Oct/14
he had to stand on a box of oranges to kiss the woman in the ion mistress so he must have been under 5 ft4 or he would have been able to kiss her without standing on a box lol
said on 9/Sep/14
I watched Shane again last night - you can easily spot what the director did to make Alan look as tall as possible, starting with his footwear which I estimate would have given him 2-3 inches. At the end of the dance scene where he is talking to Elisha Cook Jnr he looks 4 inches taller, when in fact they were similar in height. The director made sure was on the higher ground.
I actually posted a video of the above scene from Great Gatsby, and Alan barefoot was a smidge shorter than Elisha in his footwear. Elisha's army listing is 5'5.
My guess for Alan is 5'5.5/5'6. A 2.5 inch footwear boost would make put him at 5'8, which is what he looked in Shane.
said on 5/Sep/14
Rob can you update this?
[Editor Rob: yes I improved this page a bit and found another quote about him from an actor about ditches.]
Arch Stanton said on 1/Sep/14
Rob you might want to add the quote from the Virginia Mayo page and update with a photo from Shane era and "American actor, best remembered for roles in films like Shane, Hell on Frisco Bay, Boy on a Dolphin, The Carpetbaggers, The Great Gatsby, The Blue Dahlia, The Proud Rebel, The Badlanders, and Botany Bay."
Those are the ones which spring to mind which I've seen and associate him with but I haven't seen many of his 40s films so Sam at some point might have other suggestions as replacements. I think I've mostly covered the more notable roles though.
Parker said on 22/Aug/14
Egan says on 19/Aug/14
Based on his film appearances, I would estimate his height at 5'5.25".
Possible. Under 5'5 is not.
Egan said on 19/Aug/14
Based on his film appearances, I would estimate his height at 5'5.25".
aldo 93 said on 14/Aug/14
5 ft 4 max then
Parker said on 8/Aug/14
Zero chance he was as short as 5'3.
100% chance he was 5'5-5'7. You can argue any height between that range. Nobody but Alan would have known exactly,he might not even have known himself.
aldo said on 30/Jul/14
he was about 5 ft 3 if hes lucky
Robby D. said on 26/Jul/14
@Parker. Thank you. I order almost everything from Amazon and I love reading biographies, I have a lot on movie stars.
said on 25/Jul/14
@Robby - You can get it from Amazon
John said on 25/Jul/14
5ft 6in in lifts.
5ft 4in without.
Robby D said on 24/Jul/14
@Parker, very interesting. I think Alan Ladd was an early version of Tom Cruise when it came to his height. He never came across as looking exceptionally short in the movies and a lot of actors did look shorter. One actor who comes to mind is Richard Jaeckel who is always listed as 5'7" but appeared a lot shorter on screen and yet unlike Ladd and Cruise his height has never been a major topic. I am an avid reader of biographies and I would like to read Alan Ladd's biography myself as I am a huge fan of his movies.
said on 22/Jul/14
@Robby, Alan Ladd was probably the primary reason I first visited this site. I remember a GF's father stating he was ~5'3 as we watched one of his films on TV. I found it difficult to believe he was that height. After reading his biography and comments from family (Catch 'Alan Ladd The true Quiet Man' on U tube,) and looking at various pics I originally estimated(and lobbied) 5'7 for him.
After watching the clip with Elisha Cook I've moderated my opinion to a 'weak' 5'6.
Have a look at this article by his son - an interesting read
He was a very good actor. Its unfortunate that in 'Boy on a Dolphin' his co star, 5'8 Sophia Loren, was made to play all her scenes in a ditch, and spoke to the media about it. Ladd was then the object of much derision by them (the media), who I think propogated the 5'3 'myth' you and I have both heard.
Shane was one of my favourite movies - Really can't see him under 5'5. If he was, they must have used some amazing camera trickery.
Robby D said on 21/Jul/14
@Parker. That is interesting. It says his US enlistment height was 5'7". I am not sure how they measure someone for enlistment. Do they measure them on a stadiometer barefoot or take an estimate standing against a wall with shoes on? Perhaps Rob would know. I don't understand why Joan Collins said he was about three inches shorter than her though. Obviously she exaggerated because although she claims she is 5'6" there are more sites which say she is 5'4". I know three inches shorter than her is out of the question whichever of her height listings is true, however, I thought if she were 5'6" perhaps he were an inch shorter which would have made him 5'5" but you could well be right when you said 167cm. I will add that when I was a child and I watched Alan Ladd's films, he never came across as short to me unlike some actors. It was only when the older generation told me he was exceptionally short and wore elevated shoes that I even thought about it. Someone at the time mentioned he was only 5'4" in height and I suppose that stuck in my mind.
said on 21/Jul/14
@Robby - Have a look at the paragraph on Ladd's height here
The barefoot shot with Elisha Cook is the only barefoot pic I've seen. I did post the video clip, but it appears infringed copyright. Must admit, he did look marginally shorter barefoot than Cook in footwear, but I don't believe he was under 5'5.
Robby D said on 20/Jul/14
Good pictures Parker but I am still not convinced. It was common knowledge he wore lifts. Show me a photograph of him standing barefoot with those actors and actresses showing the same height difference and that might convince me. Incidentally, I did notice the photo of Frankie Avalon in the picture with Alan Ladd but although Avalon is ridiculously listed as 5'8" and is listed on celebheights as 5'6.5", I think he was more like 5'5".
said on 20/Jul/14
Robby D - Look at my last few posts
9 May barefoot with 5'5 Elisha Cook in Footwear
24th June - With 5'3 Jean Arthur
Dancing scene from Shane with 5'3 Jean Arthur
With 5'5 Edward G Robinson
I highly doubt he could have been under 5'5 no matter what Joan Collins said.
Virginia Mayo, who starred in several Ladd films said he was taller than her 5'5,whereas Cagney was shorter.
My guess is 167.
Robby D said on 19/Jul/14
I have always heard that he was shorter than 5'6" and reading Joan Collins autobiography "Second Act" merely reinforces my belief. In the book, Joan says she had to play alongside Alan Ladd and that she was three inches taller than him. She said she had to be barefoot whilst he wore elevated shoes when they did their scenes together. Although I think she may have exaggerated by saying she was three inches taller, she is listed as 5'6" on some sites and 5'4" on others so assuming she was 5'6" (which I doubt) and she was just an inch taller than him that would make him 5'5" which I think would be generous. I think his height should be reduced on here.
littlesue said on 26/Jun/14
Ladd was about 5ft 6,he was the old Hollywood equivalent to tom cruise, everyone trying to make out he was some sort of dwarf
said on 24/Jun/14
Here's Ladd with 5'3 Jean Arthur and close to 6' Van Heflin
@Mr R. He can't have been 5'4, dont you agree?
Mr. R said on 24/Jun/14
I've always heard he was 5-4. I take my students to his grave sometimes and I tell them that he was the one to create the standard for short guys like Tom Cruise.
said on 22/Jun/14
Here's a 21 year old Frankie Avalon next to Ladd. Frankie is listed at 5'6.5 on this site.
said on 21/Jun/14
No chance of him being 5'4. They got him to 5'8 in Shane in the dance scene with ~5'3 Jean Arthur. 2-3 inch footwear from a normal looking boot I can accept, 4 inches ludicrous.
With Mariliyn Monroe
John said on 11/Jun/14
5ft 6in - no chance.
5ft 4in - completely
Sam said on 12/May/14
Can't help but laugh...I think he borrowed one of the ladies swimsuits from a Bugsby Berkeley movie for that shot that Parker posted.
said on 9/May/14
Alan with Elisha Cook Jnr, 5'5 measured army listing.
Vaughn said on 5/Feb/14
A friend was acquainted with his granddaughter in high school. According to her he was 5'2".
spiderman said on 1/Feb/14
5'5" the most
John said on 9/Jan/14
Blackmamba said on 7/Jan/14
Having just watched The Black Night and with my Tailors eye I would guess at between 5ft 3in and 5ft 4in. He has very short legs, no more than 26'' inside leg.
Parker said on 13/Oct/13
A weak 5'6 IMO now. I argued for a long time for a 5'7 listing fot Alan, but recent film clips have altered my opinion. Virginia Mayo has always quoted her own height as 5'5.5. There's a dancing scene in the Iron Mistress where she appears to have ballet shoes where he has at least 2 inch footwear advantage, and he only looks 2 inches taller.
I'd post it but You tube censors have removed all of the Ladd films posted.
Arch Stanton said on 3/Sep/13
Does look shortish in Shane, surprised he was quite this short. He had the face of a tall man. His hair in Shane reminds me of my own. I came here thinking he was 5'7"-5'8"
Laddie said on 27/Aug/13
Tom Cruise and Ladd could be fraternal twins in a way. 5 foot 6 inches is about correct.
marcus said on 21/May/13
Alan Ladd's arms and legs were not in proportion to his head and torso. Made him look like a midget in some scenes.
Parker said on 20/May/13
twizzle says on 7/May/13
I had it on good authority that he was 5'1
Well I'd sack them
twizzle said on 7/May/13
I had it on good authority that he was 5'1
Marcus said on 11/Mar/13
Ladd was listed at various heights throughout his acting career. If you watch closely in his films and compare him with other actors, his height appears to be in the 5'5.5" - 5'6" range.
Parker said on 2/Nov/12
Probably the widest height range estimations I've ever seen for an actor.His height on his air force discharge papers was listed at 5'9. Throughout the years his height has been quoted by friends,family and the media as ranging from 5'4-5'9. There is a number of internet listings that still list him at 5'4.
He stood on a box with a number of his leading lady's, as quoted above. Sophia Loren filmed all her scenes from lower ground on 'Boy on a Dolphin' - Ladd hated it.
Virginia Mayo quotes her own height as 5'5.5 and said Alan was about an inch taller. Carol Matthews says she is 5'7 and he was shorter. 5'5.5-5'6.5 pretty much nails it.
Rob's listing is fair.
Parker said on 27/Oct/12
Jim says on 22/Oct/12
According to George Stevens Jr. in his analysis of Shane (see Shave DVD) he credits Alan Ladd with being 5' 7" tall.
I used to think he was that height, and I saw a quote from his son in law in a recent biography that said the same. However if you look at the clip I posted 12th November last year he stands barefoot next to Elisha Cook (Who was in footwear) and looked marginally shorter - Cook's Army listing put him at 5'5.
I now believe Alan was 5'5.5/5'6. Of course we'll never know. What is not in doubt is he was a great actor.
Jim said on 22/Oct/12
According to George Stevens Jr. in his analysis of Shane (see Shave DVD) he credits Alan Ladd with being 5' 7" tall. Maybe he was just being kind but I have heard similar comments in the past. Even 5' 7" is not tall when compared to actors like Van Hefflin and other male actors Ladd worked with.
said on 3/Oct/12
Very good article on Alan
The studios went to such great lengths to disguise his height - ramps, ditches for his leading ladies, boxes, pieces of wood etc. that when the press got hold of it he was pitched at 5'2 or 5'3. A lot of sites still give him 5'4 max. As his son says in the article below, the reality was different - 5'6.
Patrick said on 6/Feb/12
5'4 is just ridiculous. Even with good tricky angles and ditches ets. he never could have appeared as he did in many movies surrounded with tall actors as in Shane. Just impossible. I already find hard to believe he was so short but have to go along common opinion.
elvis said on 27/Jan/12
Patrick said on 5/Jan/12
Bob karam, I agree with you but precisely, the fact he was short while never giving such an impression plays in his favor. Even not considering tricks they used for him, he had this stature only real stars have, no matter how bad he considered himself. James Cagney was another very big star and man while even shorter.
bob karam said on 3/Dec/11
What difference does it make how tall he was? Compared in looks and acting to many of the "tall" guys in movies, particularly modern cinema, Alan Ladd was a giant of a personality. And that's what really counts.
BILL said on 14/Nov/11
Last night I watch two movies about Jim Bouie, One with Alan Ladd 5'6,the other with Sterling Haden 6'6.
said on 12/Nov/11
Here's a clip which gives the best evidence of Alan's height your going to get - Elisha Cook Jnr (the shorter guy in this scene) enlisted in the US Army and was measured at 5'5 and 123 lbs (check it out on IM DB)
Pause and play the above scene at 5 mins. Elisha is the guy putting Alan's Robe on. You can't see his feet so we have to assume he has standard footwear giving him a standing height of approx 5'6. Alan is barefoot.
My own estimate for Alan has been revised after watching this
My guess is 166-168 for Alan . I'll go with 167 a 'weak' 5'6.
said on 3/Nov/11
Elvis says on 30/Oct/11
No way near 5'6". He was 5'4" and no more.
Watch the opening few minutes of him dancing with a self confessed 5'5.5 Virginia Mayo. Agreed he has footwear avantage, but even so that's not a 5'4 man.
Elvis said on 30/Oct/11
No way near 5'6". He was 5'4" and no more.
Parker said on 19/Jul/11
Joe Bloggs says on 9/Jul/11
I've even heard as short as 5ft3/1m60. That's why he was in films with Connie Ockelmann(look her up).
That's the first height I ever heard of for Alan from a gf's father many years ago. Sorry, no way was he as short as 5'3. He was 5'6, maybe even a smidge more. He stood on boxes, he made co-stars stand in ditches, because the leading men in hollywood were supposed to be tall, and more often were. Errol Flynn,John Wayne,Gary Cooper......Alan had a complex about his height all his life, but really wasn't that short.
Mr. R said on 17/Jul/11
Pearl, I think that Alan Ladd was different from the other actors that you mentioned because he was set as a romantic leading man, while the others were set up as character actors.
pearl roberts said on 12/Jul/11
there were more actors then allan ladd,that were short.for example Audi Murpky, Claude Rains James Cagney etc.Who cares ,they were all great actors,and not bad to look at either
Joe Bloggs said on 9/Jul/11
I've even heard as short as 5ft3/1m60. That's why he was in films with Connie Ockelmann(look her up).
Katya said on 6/Jul/11
Most sites claim 5'5 for Ladd. He was a very good actor but one of the things he was mostly well-known for was his size. Some claim he was the shortest leading man ever but that's probably an exageration. Apparently James Mason refused to stand in a ditch during the filming of Botany Bay to appear closer in height to Ladd. According to this site Mason was 5'11 which sounds likely.
Parker said on 22/Jun/11
Robby D says on 17/Jun/11
I would say 5'5" maximum. Definately under 5'6"
An inch more on your estimates Robby, and you'd be spot on.
Robby D said on 17/Jun/11
I would say 5'5" maximum. Definately under 5'6".
Larry said on 11/May/11
Ha! Ladd was no more than 5 4 seriously and probably lower
Anonymous said on 24/Feb/11
Easily 5'4" 1.63m no way taller.
guyfrommars said on 21/Feb/11
Exactly. Stevens never shown Ladd and Palance face to face with each other. 5'11" Van Heflin had boots with very minimal heels (0.5 inch?), while Ladd wore lifts with his cowboy boots, and yet, Heflin was still considerably taller. Ladd was a decent 5'6".
Misha said on 5/Feb/11
Yes, Ladd was born to play Shane. There is no scene in any western that equals the showdown with Jack Palance. Having Shane ride in and out of town at night over a moon-washed landscape gives the entire sequence a surrealistic ambience.
Naturally George Stevens was perceptive enogh not to let Ladd get any closer than about twenty feet from Jack Palance, who was probably 6'4" in 1953.
Anonymous, how exactly could they have played to his shortness - put him against a gang of midget hoodlums for laughs? Anything like this would surely have backfired.
Parker said on 10/Dec/10
Anonymous says on 2/Dec/10
Loren didn't like him cause he was insecure about his height.
Wasn't so much that, its because she had to stand in a ditch for every scene they did together. I heard Michael J Fox once say, A short male actor has to stand on a box. With a short male star,everyone else stands in a ditch lol.
I think Alan was 5'6 or thereabouts - give or take a few cms.
Anonymous said on 2/Dec/10
5-5 123 sounds right. They should have played to his shortness instead of hiding it. Anyway he was good looking which should have been enough. Loren didn't like him cause he was insecure about his height.
guyfrommars said on 23/Jun/09
Hollywood was full of short guys back then, just as it is now. Bogart, Cagney, Ladd, Robinson... all wore lifts to appear taller on screen.
bill said on 17/Jan/09
sam, yes, there are people who barely shrink at all. My uncle is 82 years old, 6 foot, and was always that height.
Jane Doe said on 30/Dec/08
It surprises me how much fuss is made over Ladd's height when there were many actors about 5' 6'' or shorter. I can only guess that it was because he was a leading man and not of the gangster variety. As with most of the posts here I agree he was a fine actor and a unique one. I don't think anyone could have projected the enigma and pathos of the character of Shane as well as he did.
Kugar said on 26/Dec/08
Alan Ladd was 5"6" at the most. Before his movie career, his nickname in the thirties was "Tiny". But a fine actor which made him tall in the hearts of movie fans.
Parker said on 26/Aug/08
Absolutely agree with you Frank2. Ladd was the good looking hero in the Errol Flynn,Robert Taylor era. The leading man had to be significantly taller than the female interest. I think its a shame that nobody remembers Ladd as a great actor (as I believe he was) but more of the guy that stood on a box or his leading lady standing in a ditch,as Sophia Loren did in 'Boy on a Dolphin'. Reading the post by 'Richard'on 8th Feb regarding George Stephens Jr comments, Ladds 'Brother in Law's' comments in a recent Biography channel screening, and Virginia Mayo's estimate I think 5'6 give or take half inch is spot on.
Frank2 said on 25/Aug/08
There was difference when it came to height regarding Ladd compared to Cagney, Raft, Bogart, Robinson and Garfield. Warner Brothers never hid the fact they were all short. Cagney was barely 5'5". Raft was 5'7" as was Bogart. Robinson was only 5'4" and Garfield was about 5'7". But over at Paramount they went to great lengths to conceal Ladd's short stature. Ladd was more of a leading man and leading men were all supposed be at least 6'. I doubt he was more than 5'6". They pulled all kinds of tricks in SHANE. One reason I believe Ladd drank so much was he became sick and tired of being in situations where he was forced to stand on boards and wear huge elevator shoes. Whereas Bogie laughed at his, calling them 'lifts' which I believe was the first time that term was used.
GCM said on 25/Aug/08
Yes, it's impossible to tell from movies because they can tailor height as required. Hollwood will go to any lengths to accomodate people if they have "the look" Pretty faces sell tickets at the box office - allways have - probably allways will I guess - no denying that Ladd was a very handsome guy - that simple I think.
Gets back I guess to what has been mentioned here before - people who don't enjoy attention or privilage ( for instance those who aren't keenly sought out by the opposite sex ) get jealous and strike out using whatever they can.
I remember the stories about a trench being dug for Alan ladd when acting opposite taller leading ladies. These posts remind me that Veronica Lake was one of them and perhaps the one the story was about.
I remember also the suggestion ( and I think pretty much the accepted truth ) was that he become more and more addicted to the bottle and virtually consigned himself to the scrapheap.
Again if I remember correctly I think he and James Stewart and I think Gary Cooper were very very close.
I think Cooper and Stewart both tried to extricate him from his alcoholism without success and of course Cooper and Ladd died within 3 years of each other ( Cooper in '61 and Ladd in '64 I think )
Stewart was terribly hurt by their loss mourned them both very deeply. That's my memory of it but I stand to be corrected by anyone more knowledgeable.
It seems to me that in those days there was not such a focus on height. Indeed all the early gfilms were sort of strangely dominated by short guys - James Cagney, George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G Robinson, John Garfield and such.
JOSH said on 27/Jun/08
He did not look short atall in shane. He may have been built up to 5ft 8 or 9.
But he went below 5ft 6.
Jobbo said on 9/Jun/08
I knew Alan Ladd personally. He and I were the same height: 5'6".
sam said on 8/May/08
damn dlladd, that sucks! I wonder if there's any people who have never in their lives lost any height...
msdyn0myte said on 4/Mar/08
My father was actually friends with Alan Ladd, but he had been dead for years before I ever went to visit his widow, Sue Ladd at her home. I've been cleaning out storage and have found some letters from Sue and lots of memorabilia, including a the film Shane on a motion projector reel. Maybe something about his height will come up.
DLLADD said on 22/Feb/08
In 1951, I was 5'6 1/2" when entering the USAF, today at 77 I am 5" 4". But that is beside the point. I was wondering; If when Alan died, at home, isn't customery for an autopsy to be performed. If so wouldn't the Coroner to have taken measurements of Alan's body? Just a thought. Oh, and yes my surname is LADD!
sf said on 16/Feb/08
Parker - still boosting Ladd's height????
Parker said on 15/Feb/08
A great actor. 5'6/5'7 in my opinion. Most internet sets have him at 5'5. I've seen enough films,quotes from people that really knew him, and photographs to know 5'5 is too short for Ladd.
Richard said on 8/Feb/08
According to George Stevens, Jr, son of the director of "Shane," Ladd was about 5'7, contrary to reports that had him 5'4 or less. Stevens mentions this in the recent DVD version of Shane with commentary. At least one shot bears this out. During the July 4 celebration, Ladd and Jean Arthur dance in a corral. The scene is a wide shot and it's obvious that, again contrary to rumor, Arthur is not in a ditch and Ladd is not on a box. It's clear that they are both on level ground, with him behind her. Ms. Arthur was 5'4 and Ladd appears a good three inches taller.
Russ said on 6/Oct/07
I once saw a candid, public photograph of Alan Ladd standing next to a chain link(?)fence. On the other side of the fence were dozens of his female fans. It appeared that at least half of the females in the crowd were as tall as Mr. Ladd. Many were taller. When I saw that photo, I then realized that Alan Ladd could not have been much taller than 5' 5". He was a star in spite of his height.
Parker said on 29/Jul/07
Steve - You did well to see him in San Diego in 1967, seeing as he died in 1964.
Steve said on 29/Jul/07
Alan Ladd was 5'$' saw him in San Diego, 1967
patrick said on 18/Apr/07
Save if you consider that A.Ladd didn't care how tall he was or appeared since he considered himself as an "old baby face" and had been wondering all along his life and till his death, why on earth he could have been so popular.
He admittedly was 5'6 as far as we can guess despite wonderful tricks, trenches and angles used to make this fascinating actor having a star size!
Robert.R said on 9/Mar/07
The only way he would be 5'7" would be in lifts. I think 5'5" is a generous height for him, after all, no male stars seem to admit to being less than 5'6".
Parker said on 7/Mar/07
We'll never know Alan Ladd's height sf. but I really do think because Sophia Loren (5'8) was made to stand in a trench for the film they made together, a 'myth' has been propogated surrounding his height. There is someone on the Veronica Lake page claiming he was shorter than 5'2! Utter nonsense. I sent Rob a barefoot photo of him in swimwear next to a co-star a year or so ago - and believe me he looks around 5'6.
I'll accept he could have been as short as 5'5 just as I would accept he could have been as tall as 5'7. No shorter,no taller in my opinion.
sf said on 19/Feb/07
Parker - I don't want them to be shorter than they are, just as short OR tall as they really are. It's Hollywood - most are bound to exaggerate their heights, that's pretty much a know fact - lifts, boxes, trenches, etc. So, it's more likely many of these stars were shorter than listed.
All that being said, nothing wrong with being 5'4" like Ladd possibly was, and Michael J. Fox, is, and being a movie and/or TV star. Those guys have to work even harder than their 6'1" counterparts, so more power to them.
leonari said on 29/Jan/07
5´6 ain t right folks...5`5 is closer.
Parker said on 29/Jan/07
Not his reincarnation, but a movie fan. I loved all the old actors of the 50's and 60's,Wayne,Flynn,Bogart,Ladd,Cagney, etc. All great actors, but the sad thing about Alan is that all people seem to remember him for is standing on a box, which then propogates the myth of him being 5'3/5'4 - which he wasn't. For some strange reason a lot of people on this forum want the stars to be shorter than they really are - not sure why. Here's my MINIMUM height guesses on the most debated - Wayne(6-4),Stallone (5-9) Cruise (5-7.5) Devito (4-10)Ladd(5-6)
Only my opinion of course.
sf said on 27/Jan/07
Parker - you're just determined not to have Ladd any shorter!!! Are you the reincarnation of him???
Robert.R said on 26/Jan/07
I don't think he was quite 5'6" probably about 166cm and he probably rounded it up. Still 5'6" is near enough.
Parker said on 26/Jan/07
They built scaled down sets for michael j Fox in Bright Lights, Big City. And as he said, short actors stand on a box, with short stars everyone stands in a ditch. Alan Ladd was a star, i doubt he would have stood on a box. In 'Boy on a Dolphin' with Sophia Loren, her first film, she was never out of a ditch.
There was a biography of Alan in the UK just recently, his brother in law was on and there was a segment discussing his height and he said Alan was about 5'7.
The box and ditch stories propogated the myth of Alan being very short, when he was in fact taller than a lot of stars of his day, James Cagney, Edward G Robinson etc. Personally I don't think he was as tall as 5'7, nor do I think he was as short as 5'5. I think Rob has got him pegged correctly.
Robert.R said on 24/Jan/07
I heard about "the box" too George H.
George H said on 24/Jan/07
I read somewhere they used to make him stand on a box and I've also heard they'd build scaled down sets to make him appear taller. Man, that must've been the ultimate attempt to make somebody look bigger than he was!
R. j. Kelly said on 23/Jan/07
My father (Don Kelly) acted with Alan Ladd in the movie "The Big Land." I have close-ups of them together. My father was 6' tall. Alan Ladd was no more than 5'5" and that's stretching it.
Robert.R said on 16/Jan/07
I used to like his films and I never ever thought he was short until my parents told me he was only around 5'5" and wore lifts. I think it speaks volumes for him that he managed to get the leading role in movies at his height when most of the leading actors were 6ft plus.
leonari said on 31/Dec/06
velvet: I agree. I don't see how in the 50 ies 5'6" was so short...with some lifts he would have looked more or less average. What was average height in the 50 ies ROB? any clue??
[Editor Rob: in America? 5ft 8 and 5ft 3]
velvet said on 30/Dec/06
As a 60+ avid movie fan, I can tell you that as far back as the 50's, Photoplay and all the "movie" magazines always mentioned Ladd being 5!2". They had to build trenches for the woman when he stood next to them, or have him standing on makeshift ridges. Catch him embracing Sophia Loren in Boy On A Dolphin, and see just how tiny he was.
Parker said on 27/Jul/06
Rob2 Why do you think he is now 5'5? The remark Rob the editor made was a 'spoof' comment. Alan Ladd has never made such a comment.
[Editor Rob: yes, that is a kid on quote, although if you submitted such a thing to XXXX for any celebrity you'd have more chance of changing a height.]
Parker said on 23/Jul/06
What makes IMDB change height Rob? You and IMDB have had Ladd at 5'6 for months, but just looking at IMDB I see they now have him at 5'5 (wrong!).
[Editor Rob: I dunno, make it sound authentic?
add a note saying ladd is quoted saying 'I'm barely 5ft 5' in a november 1956 winnipeg daily newspaper...
Rob said on 18/Apr/06
Okay Frank2/Parker, I can't argue with evidence like that so perhaps I was wrong and for that I apologise. I never met Alan Ladd anyway and was going by hearsay, whatever his height I thought he was a good actor and just for you (Editor Rob) I'll send future comments under RobR if I make anymore that is.
Frank2 said on 18/Apr/06
Mayo was correct. Cagney was the shorter of the two men. My mom worked with Ladd in radio and she was 5'4" back then and told me that Ladd was her height when my mom wore three inch heels.
Parker said on 18/Apr/06
Here's an abstract from an interview with Viginia Mayo for Ladd's autobiography. (Mayo starred with Ladd in a couple of films) Its interesting because it totally supports Frank2's comments on both Ladd and Cagney. It recounts a time when she and her husband and Ladd and his wife were sailing to England together. Ladd had a fear of flying.
' My husband Mike was so fond of Alan, whenever a photograph was taken of the whole group of us we were asked to stand together in a straight line, and Mike would always give Alan a little shove forward so he would always look taller in the pictures because that was such a big thing with Alan - he was shy about his height...but he was NOT that short. I worked with James Cagney who was much shorter than I. Alan wasn't. People are always saying to me Alan was so short and I always tell them the WASN'T so short. I'm Five five and a half, Alan was about an inch taller.
So if Cagney was much shorter than Mayo, Frank's absolutely right. 5'4/5'5
Parker said on 17/Apr/06
I know the latest comment eas not from the editor, as he has photographic evidence from me that proved Alan was 5'5 MINIMUM.
[Editor Rob: I only ever use 'editor rob' to distinguish myself, I post under nothing else, I let the other Rob use that name...maybe I may ask if other Rob adds an initial to the end 'RobD' or something?]
Frank2 said on 17/Apr/06
Yeah, I think I posted that one on another thread. I met Jack Warner nearly forty years ago and he was about 5'6". He could have been 5'7" when he was younger, but that photo was taken in the 1950's when Jack was well into his sixties.
said on 17/Apr/06
Frank - Heres a better one of Ladd with Robinson standing side by side.Click Here
said on 17/Apr/06
5'4.5" Edward G. Robinson with Ladd: Click Here
That's 5'9" Paul Stewart in the background. Remember Raymond the butler in Citizen Kane? Same actor. He was part of Welles' Mercury Theater group.
Frank2 said on 11/Apr/06
I'm glad somebody liked it. I couldn't stand it.
Babyboomer said on 6/Apr/06
Frank2 - I LOVED "Hammersmith is Out"! Don't recall it doing very well, but I found it very "Jungian". Wish I could find a copy! Great job on the color. "Billy Budd" is a favorite of mine.
Frank2 said on 28/Mar/06
I was once on the set of The Adventures of Superman when I was a boy. I watched them film the episode where Superman freezes and has to walk into a blast furnace to thaw out. Jack Larson was very nice and gave me and the two kids I was with a tour of what had been Charley Chaplin's studio in Hollywood. By then it was called The Kling Studio, an independent studio on La Brea just south of Sunset Blvd. Later A & M took it over and now the Jim Henson company owns it. George Reeves was wonderful to us kids. I'll never forget that day as long as I live.
Paul said on 28/Mar/06
I'm surprised Elisha was that tall. He just seemed very small on screen. I would have guessed 5'4" to 5'5". Great character actor though. He apparently was a good friend of Jack "Jimmy Olson" Larson (not a tall man by any means himself). Larson talks about his friend "Cookie" on one of the Superman DVDs.
Frank2 said on 26/Mar/06
It was me. It's based on reading his official height listed, meeting him as well as noticing how tall he appeared in films.
Parker said on 26/Mar/06
Was it Frank2 or Frank that says Elisha cOok Jnr was 5'6? Could you also tell me what that is based on. The reason I ask is that there si a photograph of a barefooted Alan Ladd with Elisha Cook in shoes and they look about the same height, which would nail down Alan's height at minimum 5'6.
[Editor Rob: numero 2]
Frank2 said on 22/Mar/06
I met Donna. she was friends with my mom. When my mother was younger she was 5'4" and Donna didn't look any taller. Taylor was short. I met her when she came to a screening of Hammersmith is Out along with Richard Burton and the director, Peter Ustinov who I had been working with for several days on that film's color timing. Peter was one of the funniest people I've ever met. One day in the screening room I told him that I loved Billy Budd (Ustinov also directed) and before I could say anything else he looked at me, winked and said, "It'll be our little secret. I won't tell a soul." By the way, Peter was just shy of 5'10", Burton was about 5'10" and Liz was no more than 5'2".
Viv said on 21/Mar/06
Regarding Donna Reed: I've always heard 5'7" for her, too. But, I think she was shorter. I saw a rather unclear shot in "The Last Time I Saw Paris" of her next to Elizabeth Taylor (who, I'm convinced was 5'2" - not 5'4") Donna was barely taller than Elizabeth in the shot. Elizabeth was wearing 3" heels...Donna's heels looked to be 1"-2". She's probably closer to 5'5", if that helps.
Frank said on 21/Mar/06
Elisha Cook Jr. was 5'6".
Parker said on 21/Mar/06
Well I've seen plenty of award ceromonies, but never one where someone gets on a box for a photograph - but like everything else we'll never know. Just to be clear, I've never though Alan was much taller than 5'6. I think 5'6 and 1/2 absolute tops. There is no doubt he also had a tiny build, most likely around 9 stone.
I repeat what I said in an earlier post. If we knew the height of Elisha Cook Jnr we would know Alan's height for sure. I sent Rob a photograph of Alan in barefoot stood next to EC Jnr. Adjusted for shoes I'd give Alan a max 2 ins taller. IMDB give Cook 5'6. In 'The Big Sleep' Bogart refers to him as 5'4.
sf said on 20/Mar/06
Frank2 - the only height I've ever seen listed for Donna was 5'7". I really don't know much about her height. She could be shorter or taller, I really don't know. And, since she is probably in heels in this picture - 5'7" or so. What I do know as that in the picture I referenced, Ladd and Murphy literally tower over here, which makes me laugh.
Secondly, Parker, not trying to be rude, but so what if they've just been given awards? This is golden age Hollywood - time for apple boxes and trenches! Even if they've just been given an award, doesn't mean a place wasn't set up for the pictures, making sure such devices were present so that any picture could be staged as needed.
Parker said on 20/Mar/06
sf - Agree with the publicity shots from films, but in the Monroe picture they have both just been given awards. However if Monroe was 5'4, as suggested by Frank, the picture makes much more sense. Monroe 5'7 in heels, Ladd 5'9 with lifts.
larry said on 20/Mar/06
I did physicals on inductees into the US army right after basic training. I measured the poor devils and was told to be accurate. BUT, I never measured a celebrity that I KNOW of. Maybe celebrities, sons of politicians, US "royalty", etc. didn't have to take physicals "with us peasants"? :-) Ladd certainly LOOKED small (in build too). Wasn't he paired with Veronnica Lake because she was under 5' (or was that a rumor)? James Whitmore NEVER looked 5'10" tall. BTW: one way to assure being a target in lovely "Nam" was to BE tall! I'm 195-196 cms tall and was a medical corpsman (medivac) and was shot at more times than I could count! :-) I always felt like I had a big target on my back when we were evacuating the casualties off the ground! Finally got plugged in the glutius maximus and sent home to finish my tour (so, maybe they accidently did me a favor). The other medical corpsmen said they always wanted to partner up with me, BECAUSE they figgured I was a better target!!! :-) Well, that's getting off-subject, but their ARE disadvantages to being a big guy!
said on 20/Mar/06
Here's Ladd looking a couple of inches shorter than Bogie: Click Here
By the way, Donna Reed was NEVER, EVER 5'7"! Where did you ever come up with that bogus figure? Donna was more like 5'5" max. Sometimes I think the public really believes what the press agents crank out. I guess it makes their job a whole lot easier. Here's a shot from her TV show: Click Here
I knew Paul Peterson and he's about 5'10". Carl Betz who played her husband was 6'. And he wore one of the best rugs in Hollywood! Here's 6' Betz, 5'4" Shelley Fabares and Paul next to Donna: Click Here
And another shot: Click Here
Here's Donna with 5'10" John Derek: Click Here
Donna with some of the cast of her show including Betz: Click Here
That's Bob Crane on the right. FYI He was about 5'10". I met him when he had a local radio show on KNX in Los Angeles.
Frank2 said on 19/Mar/06
James Whitmore was never more than 5'7". Where on earth did you ever read he was 5'10"? Now at age 85 he's about 5'4"! All photos of Ladd taken for publicity purposes used a box. In scenes with taller actors Ladd was placed on a height ramp. I don't think there's ever been a case where another big Hollywood star had so much subterfuge going to protect his status. Paramount would even purposely cast male extras who were 5'6" or under just to make Ladd appear taller. Ladd despised it all and tried to drink himself to death, eventually dying from alcoholism as well as an overdose of prescription sleeping pills when he was only 50. And Marilyn was most likely only about 5'4". I got that from two people who knew her better than most. One of them who worked in publicity at 20th Century Fox was given the thankless job of escorting her around and making sure she didn't get into too much trouble when she was under countract to that studio.
sf said on 19/Mar/06
Parker - going to comment on the Marilyn Monroe picture. We can't see their feet, so we don't know what's going on there. Remember the picture of Ladd and Audy Murphy where both men tower over 5'7" Donna Reed?
Guess I'm saying, if I can't see their feet, I don't put much stock into those photos.
Parker said on 19/Mar/06
Frank - What do you make of the photo on this page of Alan with Marilyn Monroe. If Marilyn's height is 5'5, and she has 3 inch heels (I'm guessing) then Ladd's up at 5'10.? I can only think Marilyn has taken her shoes off?
Frank2 said on 19/Mar/06
My mom did some radio programs with Ladd back in the 1940's. I asked her and she remembers him being only slightly taller than her and that was when she was wearing three inch heels and my mom was 5'4" when she was young. She believes he was about 5'6" and usually wore lifts to boost him another couple of inches. And please people!! DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT THE ARMY PUBLISHED REGARDING HEIGHTS OF CELEBS! The fellow who measured lad was most likely paid off by Ladd's people to adjust the height to be more in line with what his public was told back then. If I had to bet the farm I'd say Ladd was 5'6", but not an inch taller. He could have even been 5'5". And James Dean was only 5'6". I'd bet the farm on that one too!
leonari said on 19/Mar/06
Finally somebody who realizes that THE ARMY is not the Bible. Off course they can fudge heights...Ladd was short and Dean as well. I would give Ladd a max of 5'6" and Dean 5'7" but not higher. Just watch the movies he is in! Looks short!
Parker said on 19/Mar/06
Yes. Its a pity we can't see the feet of Alan in the pic with Marilyn Monroe because even if he was 5'6 and 1/2 (which is my guess) I don't understand the photo's unless Monroe was standing in her bare feet. The 5'5/5'6 height for Monroe seems to be well documented.
As to Alan's army papers. We've already seen on the Elvis page that measurements are sometimes taken in boots, so he could have measured in at 5'8 (in boots)and 'asked' whoever was measuring him to give him the 5'9, or alternatively he was
indeed 5'7, 5'8 and 1/2 in boots and the army rounded up........we'll never know.
sf said on 19/Mar/06
Well, Parker, I may be willing to concede 5'6" cause I do believe that Frank2 has been around and has real, first-hand experience with these people. That's the only reason I ask about lifts - just to clarify. And, knowing how prevalent and important they seem to be in Hollywood, I wouldn't doubt he wore lifts. No, can't buy the army papers. Kind of like the James Dean argument. Citing Ladd's army height of 5'9" might shed some light into the James Dean argument that he was shorter than his army listed height of 5'8". NOBODY thinks Alan Ladd was 5'9", so I don't think it's very hard to admit that the army DID fudge his height, for whatever reason. If they can fudge Dean's, they can fudge Ladd's.
I personally believe that, back in the day, Hollywood held huge sway in many ways, and, personally, I CAN see the army purposely fudging on these stars heights since they were such a big deal at the time. I think the world's a different place today, and, while celebrities are still very big deals, I am inclined to think that we are so much more used to celebrities, and not as innocent, etc. and that fudging someone's height today might not be acceptable. Does any of that make sense?
Anyway, with Frank2's input - Ladd, may, indeed, have been taller than 5'4" and 1/2...
Parker said on 18/Mar/06
Sue - Alan had 3 children. A son by his first wife, and a son and daughter with his second. I've no Idea of their heights. Alan served in the armed forces and his army papers listed him at 5'9. Make of that what you will. When his second wife was ever asked about Alan's height, she always referred to his army papers.
Sue said on 18/Mar/06
Okay guys, get back to your corners and take a break until the next round. It's interesting reading your comments. My mum used to have a crush on Alan Ladd. I have no idea if he's 5'2" or 5'6" but in that picture of him with his bare chest on show, he looks so delicate and small boned. Usually people are in proportion...small hands mean short stature etc but how short, that's the question. Maybe we're all looking in the wrong places. I wonder if any of his old movie clothes still exist. Their sizes might hold some clues to his height, especially a pair of trousers. What a weird and morbid idea? Did Ladd have any children? If so, how tall are they? These things can skip a generation but again, the height of his offspring could only ever offer up an approximation of how tall he might have been. I'm intrigued now so I might just go away and try to find some of his movies and do a bit of studying. The answer is out there. My mum really did love him though and sometimes that's all it boils down to really. If the girlies love you it doesn't matter what height you are, right? Oh, ok, sorry, wrong...round 84... back in the ring lads.
Parker said on 18/Mar/06
sf - check out Marilyn Monroe's page. There's people on there trying to get Alan to 5'7! I think he could have ben 5'7 straight out of bed, but I'm still going with Virginia Mayo's description of 5'6 and 1/2. That's exactly the height of my 18 year old son, and I can tell you an ordinary pair of Gap boots gets him past 5'8! Are you convinced yet?
sf said on 15/Mar/06
Well, this is interesting. Parker and I have had our debate about Ladd's height. This might help to make the matter, clearer. I've read so much that puts Ladd shorter, again, as short as 5'2" to 5'4". But, of course, there's others that say he's taller. And, they do such a great job in Ladd's movies of making him look taller, it's hard to tell.
Frank - since you seem to know so much, what do you know about Ladd wearing lifts, etc?
Frank2 said on 3/Mar/06
Ladd was five-six. My mom worked with him in radio.
Parker said on 26/Jan/06
I can tell you that 'Boy On A Dolphin' was the movie that propogated the myth of Alan Ladd being very short, as in 5'3/5'4 - Sophia Loren was listed at 5'8.5, and of course the 'hero' had to be significantly taller, so of course she played most of her scenes in ditches. As SF points out earlier, we can never be sure of his height with lifts etc. but I personally doubt he was shorter than 5'6
ColinG said on 25/Jan/06
I've never seen it, but Ladd made a film ("Boy on a Dolphin") with Sophia Loren. That must have presented problems!
I notice on this site, that the Internet Movie Database is constantly used as a reference, and there is a general tendency to regard it as a great authority. In fact their site is riddled with wrong information about such matters as the plots of movies, so I see no reason why they should be reliable on actors' heights. Somebody once said the letters imdb stand for INACCURATE Movie Database.
CelebHeights Editor said on 5/Aug/05
Parker showed me the photo of alan ladd and Elisha Cook Jr. Now, I do think Elisha at his peak may be a solid 5ft 5. Whilst the pic isn't conclusive I'd say maybe Ladd got short shrift by being described as 5ft 4 and 5 back in the golden era. 5ft 6, and possible a tad more is very realistic for this guy.
Parker said on 3/Aug/05
Rob . Yes - I'm on the page of him being 5'6 now. I dug out an old copy of his biography. I wrote in an earlier post of a ful length photograph of Alan in it barefoot, in swimwear with Elisha Cook Jnr. From memory, I thought Alan was slightly taller but looking at it again yesterday they look the same height, although Cook is clothed and has footwear on. Its a clip from the Great Gatsby. I've searched for it on the net but it doesn't appear to be on.(the photograph) From the films I've seen Cook in he looks 5'6 max to me, which is what he is listed on IMDB (plus that extra quarter inch)
There's no doubt the studios wanted to portray Alan as a 6 footer - the pic with Borgnine is ridiculous.
sf said on 2/Aug/05
Parker - I'm not here to argue with you over Alan Ladd's height. The fact of the matter is, I'll never really know what his real height is, you'll never know - none of us will ever really know. We can only speculate. Yes, I have watched Shane pretty intently, looking at Ladd's height. And, I admit, they do a really good job of disguising his height. To me, he doesn't look short at all, the way the movie is filmed. But, again, I know the tricks that Hollywood can do. In the latest picture you present, you can see Alan's wife clearly hunching forward, and you can see the heels on ladd's shoes. In that picture, to me, they look more like the heels you'd find on a woman's pumps. Plus, you don't know what's inside them. I have also read an article where a director fires Alan ladd from a movie, and also says that Ladd was only 5'2"! I'm sure an exagerration out of spite, maybe, but people say different things. Anyway, I'm going to stick with what most of Hollywood has said for over 60 years, and just believe he is probably as short as usually referenced...but, he IS a tough one to figure out....
Parker said on 1/Aug/05
sf - If you enjoyed the movie Shane, try getting it out on video and watching it again. I watched it last night and paused it at a number of scenes. His two co- stars, Jean Arthur and Van Heflin are listed on IMDB as 5'3 and 6 ft respectively. The director has used a number of tricks to try and make Alan appear the same height as Van Heflin - i.e Alan standing on higher ground etc. However, after watching this film again I truly believe Alan was about 5'7 give or take a half inch. This would fit with the photographs with Monroe, the fact that his army papers listed him at 5'9 ( I think measured in boots) and 5'5.5 Virginia Mayo's comments that he was about an inch taller than her.
Parker said on 31/Jul/05
This is the only full length picture I could find on the net of Alan, 3rd from right stood next to his wife, Sue Carol Ladd who is listed at 5'3 on IMDB. Obviously inconclusive because we do not know the height of the other people in the picture - However, from this I would not class Alan as a very short man..i.e less than 5'5. Opinions welcome!
TJ said on 30/Jul/05
I think that Mayo's comments are interesting about Cagney and Robinson. I've seen both credited as 5'6 and she says that both were shorter than her height of 5'5.5. To me that's very obvious when you see them on screen. I'd put them in the 5'3 to 5'4 range max.
Parker said on 27/Jul/05
Rob - Where on earth do IMDB get their heights from? The reason I ask is that there is a lesser known actor called Elisha Cook Jnr who appeared in a lot of the old Ladd/Bogart movies. He looked to me (although on film) in the 5'3-5'5 120lbs range. In the Big Sleep Bogart referred to him as 5'4 although I know this is penned by the scriptwriter...
Basically, I thought if I could nail down this guys height we could nail down Alan's, as their is a full length photograph on Alan's biography book sleeve of Alan barefoot in swimware beside a swimming pool, being helped with a robe by Elisha Cook Jnr, dressed with shoes. Its a clip from 'The Great Gatsby'
Alan looks slightly taller in barefoot than Cook in shoes, probably giving him 2 inches over Elisha. IMDB has Elisha at 5'6 and one quarter inch! Who on earth estimates to a quarter inch? Not only that, that would make Alan over 5'8 which again, I'm 100% certain he wasn't!
[Editor Rob: that could have been someone entering 168cm (from a biography) and so this forces the 1/4 inch to appear. 168cm in the 30's and 40's wasn't exactly 'diminutive or pint-sized' which that guy seems to have been described as.]
sf said on 26/Jul/05
Parker - you make good points, and sorry if my first e-mail came off kind of harsh. I guess when I say "well known", is that I'm referring to 60 plus years of known general consensus about Ladd's height. I don't agree with the Rod Stewart example. I don't think it's well known that he's only 5'5". Yes, there have been some sites that list this, but generally, Rod Stewart is not referred to as short. And, even Virginia Mayo might not have known what Ladd had in his shows and she may have been referring to her own height in shoes or exaggerating it. Just about all stars seem to exaggerate their height. Especially starts as big As Ladd and Mayo in their day. Unlike you, I can't be 100 percent certain of his height, not matter what I've read. If he was only 5'4" and such a huge star, good for him. Why does he have to be taller?
Needless to say, I still like the movie, "Shane". Hey, maybe it's because that's my name!
Parker said on 26/Jul/05
sf - I don't disagree with your comments about the pics, but surely they are as good as your throw away comment of 'It is well known that Ladd was 5'4 or 5'5' Well known by who? The press/media? I saw a similar comment just recently...it is well known that Rod Stewart is 5'5 - Not when I saw him he wasn't.!
The myth of Alan Ladd being very short was propogated by the media - I would point you at Alan's biography written by Beverley Linet 'Ladd, the life, the legend, the legacy'. In it there are many interesting full length photographs. Yes he did stand on boxes, and some of his leading ladies stood in trenches. The most famous example is 'Boy on A Dolphin' where the 5'8 Sophia Loren had to stand in a ditch for some of the scenes. You have to remember Ladd was the good looking 'hero' in the same era as Errol Flynn,John Wayne, Gary Cooper all 6 ft +
The 'hero' had to be significantly taller than the girl. The bad guys/comics such as Edward G Robinson,Peter Lorre, Mickey Rooney could get away with being short. It was no different to 5'8 Humphrey Bogart wearing 4" wooden blocks on his feet playing opposite Ingrid Bergmann in Casablanca.
Best quote from the book comes from the actress Virginia Mayo - 'He (Ladd) was very sensitive about his height and a lot has been written by the media, but he was NOT that short - I've played alongside many men such as James Cagney and Edward G Robinson who were shorter than me - I'm 5'5.5 and Alan was about an inch taller than me - Not 5'9 as his army papers said, but about 5'6.5' - because of his (Ladd) embarassment about his height, I played my scene's with him barefoot - but neither he or the director ever asked me to'
Its all about opinions, but from what I've seen and read, quotes from people that knew him, I'm 100% certain he was not shorter than 5'6.
[Editor Rob: interestingly I asked my old Maw about Bogart once and she made the comment that he was 5ft 4, but I think she had heard this 'myth'. The rod stewart case is similar to elton john in a way...]
Parker said on 26/Jul/05
Rob - The picture of Murphy with Tony Curtis is from the 1950 film Texas Rangers - could Curtis have been 5'9? Also, on Audie's direct right looking at the photograph is Brian Donlevy, who I've seen listed at 5'8/5'9....could Audie have been 5'6 bearing in mind his feet are at a lower position than Donlevy's...
sf said on 26/Jul/05
Yes, Rob, but look at the tricks used in both pictures. In the first picture, Ladd is standing well in front of Steiger. Because of the perspective, you really can't tell how far behind Ladd Steiger is. Obviously, the closer the object, the bigger it looks. Also, in the second picture, the perspective is, again, funny; Steiger is a little bit in front and Ladd's feet are hidden. Honestly, I don't think anything can be discerned from these pics expect that you can do amazing things with angles and perspective...
[Editor Rob: yes that's why I showed the two pictures...they are interesting because in the one where he's closer it looks as though the guy is 'looking up at Ladd' yet in the other one where they are beside the table Ladd is shorter. I honestly haven't seen a Ladd movie for a while so can't comment on any tricks they might have done...]
Parker said on 26/Jul/05
Another one of Bogart and Ladd
sf said on 26/Jul/05
Okay - are you guys kidding me? It is well known that Ladd was only about 5'4" or 5'5". He used lifts, he stood on boxes, they dug trenches for his co-star to walk in as Ladd walked next to them. Knowing that we know this, what we know about lifts, etc. how could you possibly base ANY conclusions on the pictures you provided? In every shot, it's from the waste or a little lower up. Never showing the feet. I'd look 6'tall if I stood on a box and you photographed me. Lots of these shots are taken on purpose, staged to make the stars look taller. Parker, there is no "evidence" in these photographs, Unless you can see two stars, side by side or back to back really, standing on firm even ground, you can never make an accurate comparison...
[Editor Rob: the pics beside Steiger we can see feet though...but yes, the Marilyn Monroe event there are 3 pictures from it, but back then it was infinitely easier to 'manage' photos back then as compared to today...without full length shots beside Monroe there is still a question mark for me of course!]
Parker said on 25/Jul/05
Rob - Great find. The first shot is Alan Ladd on the left, Audie Murphy in the middle (allegedly 5'5?) and Donna Reed in a clip from the film 'Beyond Glory' 1948- Looks to me that Donna is stood in a ditch? If Audie and Alan are on level ground, Alan doesn't look an inch taller than Audie does he?
In the Rod Steiger pics, in the left he is in the centre and on Alan Ladd's left in each picture as we look at it. Alan looks 5'7/5'8 in these - very confusing.
In Alan's biography 'The Life,The Legend,The Legacy' Alan's height from age 18 to his death at 50, was listed/quoted from 5'4 right up to 5'9! When his wife was questioned after his death, she always referred to his army papers which listed him as 5'9.....probably measured in boots if we take the info given on other areas of this site re army measurements?
I think your nearly there Rob - I'd put him 5'6/5'7 range.........
[Editor Rob: see the full length picture of Audie in close vicinity and similar distance from camera near Tony Curtis...I do think the 5ft 5 for murphy was correct...]
said on 25/Jul/05
Its a pity we can't see their shoes, because to me Alan looks to have 2 inches on Marilyn irrespective of footware, and I really doubt Marilyn would have had heels less than 3" on. On the evidence of these photographs I'd go a step further and say Alan was not less than 5'6.[Editor Rob: Is this Alan Ladd beside '5ft 7' Donna Reed?...guy on left looks kinda like him but I've never seen that movie...???
Hmmm, I'm not entirely sure about these two shots, or which one is Rod Steiger: Alan Ladd. Certainly Steiger, whilst maybe not quite 5ft 10, was not a shortie]
said on 25/Jul/05
Another link with Marilyn Monroe - Monroe probably wearing heels
http://www.imdb.com/gallery/mptv/1169/Mptv/1169/0758_0794.jpg?[Editor Rob: yes, here are couple of other angles from that event: Alan and Monroe - Another shot. Unless that was a fibbed setup, which sounds unlikely, then Ladd may have been taller than people thought. Like you mentioned, a bit like Bogart and Cruise in this era, he was referenced as 5ft 4/5 for most of his career, even EG Robinson biographer said "Alan Ladd was 5 feet four inches and Robinson, even in his 60s, did better than that"]
Parker said on 25/Jul/05
Rob - I think I'd be inclined to give him another inch. A bit like Tom Cruise, the perception the public had was he was very short (in the 5'3 region) but looking at films, reading autobiographies etc he was not that short. In the film Shane, with 5'3" IMDB listed Jean Arthur, he had a dancing scene and with boots (she had heels) he was a good half head taller.
In his biography, Virginia Mayo who starred opposite him in a few films and was a friend quoted 'I'm 5'5.5 and Alan was about an inch taller than me.'
Have a look at the link below with 5'5 inch Edward G Robinson
Or image below with 5'8 Humphrey Bogart
[Editor Rob: yes, the only question I have with this guy is if and how big his lifts were. He did wear boots and cowboy shoes, but as I say the guy in films did look sometimes 5ft 7...beside marilyn he certainly (even with 1 inch lift) does not look below 5ft 5.5...]