Anne Shirley (actress)

Anne Shirley (born Dawn Evelyeen Paris, April 17, 1918 July 4, 1993) was an American actress.

Anne Shirley
Dawn Evelyeen Paris

(1918-04-17)April 17, 1918
DiedJuly 4, 1993(1993-07-04) (aged 75)
Other namesDawn O'Day
Years active19221944
John Payne
(m. 1937; div. 1943)

Adrian Scott
(m. 1945; div. 1948)

Charles Lederer
(m. 1949; died 1976)
Children2, including Julie Payne

Beginning 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,[1]after which she achieved a successful career in supporting roles. Among her films is Stella Dallas (1937), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

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.[2]

Early life

Born in New York City[2] as a baby she began modeling, and made her film debut with a featured role in 1922's Moonshine Valley.[3] 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 such films 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 such movies as 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 commented that she "endows the little wife with heroic integrity and strength of character."[4]

Personal life

Shirley married actor John Payne on August 22, 1937, in Montecito, California.[5] 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, at the last minute she wrote him a "Dear John" letter saying she'd rather stay behind and divorce him.[6] Her third husband was Charles Lederer, nephew of Marion Davies. They had a son named Daniel Lederer. Shirley had also 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. For her contributions to the motion picture industry, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7020 Hollywood Blvd.


Year Title Role Notes
1922The Hidden WomanGirlas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
Moonshine ValleyNancyas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
1923The Rustle of SilkGirlas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
The Spanish DancerDon Balthazar Carlosas Dawn O'Day
1924The Man Who Fights AloneDorothyas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
The Fast SetLittle Margaretas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
1925Riders of the Purple SageFay Larkinuncredited
Alice's Egg PlantAliceShort, as Dawn O'Day
1927The Callahans and the MurphysMary Callahanas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
Night LifeDaughter of War Profiteeras Dawn O'Day
1928Mother Knows BestSally, as a childas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
4 DevilsMarion, as a girlas Dawn O'Day
Lost film
Sins of the FathersMary, as a childas Dawn O'Day
1930City GirlMarie Tustineas Dawn O'Day
LiliomLouiseas Dawn O'Day
1931Gun SmokeHorton's Daughteras Dawn O'Day
Hello NapoleonThe Little GirlShort, as Dawn O'Day
Howdy Mate-Short, as Dawn O'Day
Rich Man's FollyAnne, as a childas Dawn O'Day
1932EmmaIsabelle as a ChildUncredited
Young AmericaMabel Saundersas Dawn O'Day
So Big!Selina Peake, as a ChildUncredited
The Purchase PriceSarah Tipton, the DaughterUncredited
Three on a MatchVivian Revere as a Childas Dawn O'Day
Rasputin and the EmpressPrincess AnastasiaUncredited
1933The Life of Jimmy DolanMary LouUncredited
1934This Side of HeavenFlower Girl(scenes deleted), as Dawn O'Dayas Dawn O'Day
School for GirlsCatherine Fogarty
Finishing SchoolBillieas Dawn O'Day
The KeyFlower Girlas Dawn O'Day
Bachelor BaitMiriam Ann Johnson, Marriage License Applicantuncredited
Anne of Green GablesAnne Shirley
Picture PalaceDawnShort, as Dawn O'Day
Private LessonsDawnShort, as Dawn O'Day
1935Chasing YesterdayJeanne Alexandre
Steamboat Round the BendFleety Belle
1936ChatterboxJenny Yates
M'LissM'liss Smith
So and Sew-Short, Uncredited
Make Way for a LadyJune Drew
1937Too Many WivesBetty Jackson
Meet the MissusLouise Foster
Stella DallasLaurel "Lollie" DallasNominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1938Condemned WomenMillie Anson
Law of the UnderworldAnnabelle Porter
Mother Carey's ChickensNancy Carey
Girls' SchoolNatalie Freeman
A Man to RememberJean Johnson
1939Boy SlavesAnnie
Sorority HouseAlice Fisher
CareerSylvia Bartholomew
1940Vigil in the NightLucy Lee
Saturday's ChildrenBobby Halevy
Anne of Windy PoplarsAnne Shirley
1941West Point WidowNancy Hull
Unexpected UncleKathleen Brown
The Devil and Daniel WebsterMary Stone
1942Four Jacks and a JillKaranina 'Nina' Novak
The Mayor of 44th StreetJessey Lee
1943Lady BodyguardA.C. Baker
The Powers GirlEllen Evans
BombardierBurton Hughes
Government GirlMay Harness Blake
1944Man from FriscoDiana Kennedy
Music in ManhattanFrankie Foster
Murder, My SweetAnne Grayle(final film role)


  1. "Anne Shirley At Weller". The Times Recorder. Ohio, Zanesville. July 7, 1940. p. 16. Retrieved July 13, 2016 via
  2. Shipman, David (October 22, 2011). "Obituary: Anne Shirley". The Independent. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  3. "Information Desk". Modern Screen. July 1935. p. 10. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  4. Crowther, Bosley (1940-05-04). "THE SCREEN; John Garfield and Anne Shirley Seen at Strand in 'Saturday's Children'--'Star Dust' at Roxy". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. para. 4. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  5. "Anne Marries". News-Journal. Ohio, Mansfield. United Press. August 23, 1937. p. 10. Retrieved July 13, 2016 via
  6. "The Red and the Blacklist" by Norma Barzman.
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