Oscar Actors: Shirley, Anne–Background, Career, Awards

Updated August 25, 2020
Anne Shirley Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance:

Social Class:





Teacher/Inspirational Figure:

Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut:

Broadway Debut:

Film Debut: age 5 (child actress)

Breakthrough Role: Anne of Green Gables, 1934; age 16

Oscar Role:

Other Noms: Stella Dallas, 1937; age 19

Other Awards:

Frequent Collaborator:

Screen Image: character actor

Last Film:

Career Output:

Film Career Span: child actree

Retirement: 1944; age 26

Marriage: 3; actor Payne, producer Adrian Scott (blacklisted)


Death: 75

Anne Shirley (born Dawn Evelyn Paris; April 17, 1918 – July 4, 1993) the American actress, began her career as a child actress under the stage name Dawn O’Day. She adopted the stage name of Anne Shirley, after playing the title character in the film adaptation of Anne of Green Gables in 1934, after which she achieved a successful career in supporting roles.

Among her films is Stella Dallas (1937), for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Although Shirley left the acting profession in 1944, at the age of 26, she remained in Los Angeles, where she died at the age of 75.

Born in New York City as a baby she began modeling, and made her film debut with a featured role in 1922’s Moonshine Valley. Shirley began acting at the age of five as the live action “Alice” in Walt Disney’s pre-Mickey Mouse silent animated series “Alice in Cartoonland”.

She had a highly successful child star career in Pre-Code movies, appearing in films such as Liliom, Tom Mix’s Riders of the Purple Sage, So Big, Three on a Match and Rasputin and the Empress.

In 1934, she starred as the character of Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables and took that character’s name as her stage name.

After adopting the name Anne Shirley, she starred in Steamboat ‘Round the Bend, Make Way for a Lady and Stella Dallas, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Later roles were in Vigil in the Night, Anne of Windy Poplars, The Devil and Daniel Webster and Murder, My Sweet, her final film. Of Shirley’s portrayal in Saturday’s Children, The New York Times wrote that she “endows the little wife with heroic integrity and strength of character.”[4]

Shirley married actor John Payne on August 22, 1937 in Montecito, California. They had a daughter, former actress Julie Payne.

Her second husband was film producer and screenwriter Adrian Scott. When he was blacklisted and decided to move the family to Europe, she wrote him a “Dear John” letter, stating she’d rather stay behind and divorce him.

Her third husband was Charles Lederer, nephew of Marion Davies. hey had a son named Daniel Lederer.

Shirley had a brief relationship with younger western star Rory Calhoun and another with French movie star Jean-Pierre Aumont.

Shirley died from lung cancer in Los Angeles, aged 75, on July 4, 1993 and was cremated.