1950’s Western movie actress best known for her roles opposite John Wayne such as “Red River” and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” died today in 1996. Now WE know em


Joan “Joanne” Letitia LaCock was born January 31, 1922 in Logan, West Virginia.

Four years later, younger brother Ralph Pierre LaCock was born.

At the age of 18, Joanne moved to New York City to become a model in 1940.

One of her first auditions was for Al Jolson’s Broadway show “Hold Onto Your Hats.” She was chosen as one of the showgirls and she was on her way.

When the show closed in 1941, nineteen year old Joanne married popular singer Dick Haymes on September 21, 1941 and moved to Hollywood with him. The couple would have three children.

During World War II, Joanne found work in local theater as “Joanne Dru.”

After the war, Joanne was spotted by a talent scout.

Joanne Dru made her first film appearance in the 1946 film “Abie’s Irish Rose.”

Over the next decade, Joanne appeared frequently in films and on television.

John Wayne and Joanne Dru in Red River

John Wayne and Joanne Dru in Red River

She was often cast in westerns. Joanne played opposite John Wayne in the 1948 film “Red River” and John Ford’s 1949 film “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.”

John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, and Ben Johnson in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, and Ben Johnson in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Joanne’s performance in the 1949 dramatic film “All the King’s Men” was well received.

Joanne with John Ireland in All the Kings Men

Joanne with John Ireland in All the Kings Men

Also in 1949, Joanne divorced husband Dick Haymes June 28th and less than a month later married her co-star from the film All the Kings Men, John Ireland on August 7, 1949.

In 1950, she appeared in another John Ford western “Wagon Masters” which became the basis for the TV series “Wagon Train” in 1957.

Then in 1952, Joanne co-starred with Dan Dailey in “The Pride of St. Louis” about major-league baseball pitcher Jerome “Dizzy” Dean.

In 1953, she appeared with Jimmy Stewart in “Thunder Bay” and with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in their 1954 comedy “3 Ring Circus.”

On May 16,1957, Joanne and John Ireland divorced.

By the end of the 1950’s, Joanne’s film career petered out due to her being typecast as a ‘Western’ movie actress with westerns running out of steam.

She continued working frequently in television, where she appeared on shows such as “Playhouse 90” in 1956, and most notably as “Babs Wooten,” the owner of a dude ranch on the 1960 sitcom “Guestward, Ho!”

On March 16, 1963, Joanne married George Pierose.

Joanne’s last major film was “Sylvia” in 1965.

Her younger brother Ralph joined her in Hollywood in the 60’s where as “Peter Marshall” he became host of the daytime game show “Hollywood Squares” in 1966.

Third husband George Pierose died January 5, 1972.

On December 29, 1972, Joanee married C.V. Wood, the vice president of Walt Disney’s Disneyland and the brother-in-law of her own brother Peter Marshall.

C.V. Wood died March 14, 1992.

Joanne Dru died September 10, 1996 from a respiratory ailment that developed from lymphedema, a swelling of the extremities.

Her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.

For Joanne Dru’s contribution to the television industry, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Now WE know em

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