TCM Summer Under the Stars: Day Twenty-Five — Anne Shirley

Peaches and cream.

Her complexion was peaches and cream. She had sweet, soulful eyes, and a softly curved mouth, and a demeanor of gentle innocence. Anne Shirley may not have reached the heights of movie stardom, but she made an impact on the Golden Age of Hollywood that is unforgettable.


Dawn Evelyeen Paris was born in New York City on April 17, 1919. Her father died while she was a baby, and her mother began finding jobs for Dawn as photographer’s model for baby clothes, using such fanciful names as Lenn Fondre, Lindley Dawn, and Dawn O’Day.

When she was just four years old, Dawn – billed as Dawn O’Day – made her big screen debut in The Hidden Woman (1922), starring Evelyn Nesbit (later known, famously, as the Girl in the Red Velvet Swing). After a second film, a western called Moonshine Valley (1922), Dawn’s mother decided to seek their fortune in Hollywood and moved with her young daughter to California. Dawn managed to land a few parts in feature films every year, as well as several Vitaphone shorts. She also played the live-action Alice in Walt Disney’s silent animated series Alice in Cartoonland.

Dawn O’Day.

Dawn’s parts included playing Jean Arthur as a child in Sins of the Father (1929), Barbara Stanwyck as a child in So Big (1932), and Ann Dvorak as a child in Three on a Match (1932). In 1934, after testing along with hundreds of other young girls, Dawn was given the title character in Anne of Green Gables. When the picture was completed, Dawn adopted her character’s name, and Anne Shirley was born.


  • Anne was married three times. Her first husband was actor John Payne.
  • Her second husband, writer-producer Adrian Scott, was blacklisted in 1947 during the McCarthy era, and went to prison as one of the Hollywood 10.

    With first husband, John Payne.

  • Anne and her third husband, Charles Lederer, were married in 1949 in the home of Bennet Cerf, well-known publisher for Random House. Lederer was the screenwriter of such pictures as His Girl Friday (1940) and the nephew of actress Marion Davies. Anne and Lederer were married until Lederer’s death in 1976.
  • In 1938, Anne was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Stella Dallas (1937). She lost to Alice Brady in In Old Chicago.


Check it out.

There could only be one pick for me on Anne Shirley Day – Murder, My Sweet (1944). In a nutshell, this often-convoluted picture tells the story of a private dick hired to find an ex-con’s ex-girlfriend. Along the way, a motley crew of characters is introduced, including Anne Shirley’s Ann Grayle, the daughter of the husband of . . . well, just watch it. You may not know what’s going on half the time, but you won’t care. Trust me.

And join me for Day 26 of Summer Under the Stars!

~ by shadowsandsatin on August 24, 2020.

3 Responses to “TCM Summer Under the Stars: Day Twenty-Five — Anne Shirley”

  1. Indeed. Nothing less was expected today. Murder, My Sweet was my first favourite noir. When it was on late night television, even on a school night, I had to watch.

  2. […] Day 25: Anne Shirley […]

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