A winning combination of cute, blonde, and perky made Joan Blondell a big star in Hollywood in the 30's. She was born to a Vaudevillian comic in New York City, and was already on stage with her parents by the age of three.
She hit it big in Sinner's Holiday in 1930, captivating audiences against James Cagney; she would be teamed with Cagney in many more films. She drove audiences wild in 1930's The Office Wife, when she was shown dressing for work. It was an extremely sexy scene in the 30's, but is mild by today's standards.
However, while the films of Warner Brothers made Cagney a celebrity, Joan never reached star status. She would often be paired with Dick Powell; they were actually married to each other for ten years. She generally played airheads, gold-diggers, and naïve girlfriends. By 1939, Joan had left Warner Brothers to become an independent actress. The move helped her career, and she received an Academy Award nomination for The Blue Veil in 1951.
Movie appearances grew slim, but she made a big impact in the TV series, The Real McCoys in 1957 and as Lottie Hatfield in Here Come the Brides from 1968-1970. She is most recognized by the current generation for her appearance in the 1978 film musical Grease as the sympathetic waitress. Her last movie was The Woman Inside which wasn't released until 1981. She had been in 102 productions by the time she died in Santa Monica, California of leukemia on Christmas Day in 1979. The good time gal with the wide smile and big blue eyes was 73.