Sheila Ryan

Sheila Ryan (born Katherine Elizabeth McLaughlin, June 8, 1921 – November 4, 1975) was an American actress who appeared in more than 60 movies.[2]

Sheila Ryan
Ryan in 1941
Katherine Elizabeth McLaughlin

(1921-06-08)June 8, 1921
DiedNovember 4, 1975(1975-11-04) (aged 54)
Years active1939–1968
Allan Lane
(m. 1945; div. 1946)

Edward Norris (1950s)
Pat Buttram
(m. 1952; her death 1975)
Children1 (deceased)


Born in Topeka, Kansas,[2] Ryan went to Hollywood in 1939 at the age of 18. Her acting career began when she tried out for a role on a program at television station W6XAO (later KCBS) in Los Angeles, California. An article in a contemporary magazine reported, "She proved to be a perfect television type and was given a role at once."[3]

At age 19, Ryan was selected by a group of Hollywood directors as one of 13 "baby stars of 1940."[4] She was signed by 20th Century Fox in 1940 and was credited in her early films as Bettie McLaughlin. Adopting the name Sheila Ryan, she starred in the crime drama Dressed to Kill the following year.

Ryan appeared in other memorable films, including two Laurel and Hardy movies, Great Guns (1941) and A-Haunting We Will Go (1942), and the Busby Berkeley musical The Gang's All Here (1943). Ryan also was featured in several Charlie Chan and Michael Shayne mysteries. By the late 1940s, however, her career waned and she began appearing mostly in B movies, especially low-budget westerns.

She worked with Gene Autry, co-starring in several of his films, including The Cowboys and the Indians (1949), and Mule Train (1950) as well as with Roy Rogers in films like Song of Texas.

She also had roles in several television shows such as The Lone Ranger, notably the Pete-and-Pedro episode (#7 in 1949) and another entitled "The Whimsical Bandit" in 1950.

Ryan retired from acting in 1968.

Physical characteristics

Ryan had brown hair, was 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighed 107 pounds.[4] A 1940 newspaper story included her in a group of actresses "whose alluring curves alone might have disqualified them from screen careers not so long ago," in the words of Travis Banton, a Hollywood stylist.[5]

Personal life

Ryan married actor Allan Lane in 1945, but divorced him a year later.[6] Later, she and actor Eddie Norris married, but they had problems in 1948.[7]

While working with Autry, Ryan met actor Pat Buttram. They married in 1952 and remained together until her death in 1975. They had a daughter, Kathleen Buttram, nicknamed Kerry.

Ryan died November 4, 1975, in the Motion Picture Hospital in Woodland Hills, California from lung disease. She was 54 years old.[2] Their daughter Kerry Buttram-Galgano died of cancer in 2008.

Partial filmography


  2. "Sheila Ryan Buttram WWII Pinup Beauty Dies". Maryland, Cumberland. The Cumberland News. November 5, 1975. p. 1. Retrieved January 22, 2016 via
  3. "Television Starlet" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 15 (2): 28. December 1940. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  4. "Directors Favor Brunettes". Arizona Independent Republic. October 19, 1940. Retrieved March 13, 2015 via
  5. "Curves Are Back In Style; Women Healthier & Happier". The Times Recorder. October 6, 1940. p. 16.
  6. "Sheila Ryan Separates". Louisiana, Monroe. The Monroe News-Star. January 18, 1946. p. 10. Retrieved January 22, 2016 via
  7. "Sheila Ryan, Mate Drop Divorce Plan". California, San Bernardino. The San Bernardino County Sun. June 17, 1948. p. 4. Retrieved January 22, 2016 via
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