Andrea Leeds

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Andrea Leeds
Andrea Leeds ca. 1930s.png
Leeds in a publicity photo ca. 1930s
Antoinette Lees

(1914-08-18)August 18, 1914
Butte, Montana, U.S.
DiedMay 21, 1984(1984-05-21) (aged 69)
Resting placeDesert Memorial Park, Cathedral City, California, U.S.
Alma materUCLA
Years active1934–1940
Robert Stewart Howard (m. 1939–1962)
Parent(s)Charles and Lina Lees

Andrea Leeds (born Antoinette Lees,[1] August 18, 1914 – May 21, 1984) was an American film actress. A popular supporting player of the late 1930s, Leeds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Stage Door (1937).[2] She was progressing to leading roles, when she retired from acting following her marriage in 1939, and was later a successful horse breeder.[3]

Early life[edit]

Leeds was born in Butte, Montana,[4] the daughter of Chas (Charles)[5] and Lina Lees.[6] Her father, a mining engineer,[4] was an immigrant from England.[citation needed] She lived most of her younger life in Mexico, where her father had mining interests.[4]

Planning to be a writer, Leeds earned a bachelor of arts degree from UCLA.[4]


She began her film career in 1933 playing bit parts and using her given name. As Andrea Leeds she played her first substantial role in the film Come and Get It (1936) and achieved another success with her next film It Could Happen to You! (1937).

As part of an ensemble cast that included Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball, Leeds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as an aspiring actress in Stage Door (1937).[3] She read for the role of Melanie in Gone with the Wind, however the role was given to Olivia de Havilland.

Her wholesome quality led to her being cast in The Goldwyn Follies (1938) playing "Miss Humanity" – a woman considered by a jaded Hollywood executive to represent the ideal American woman. The film was not a success and received poor reviews.

She next appeared in two films opposite Joel McCrea (who earlier played her brother in Come and Get It), Youth Takes a Fling (1938) and They Shall Have Music (1939), for the first time playing the lead female role. She continued to play the romantic female lead in an adventure film set in the 1906 Philippines, The Real Glory, opposite Gary Cooper and David Niven, and opposite Don Ameche in the first Technicolor biography of Stephen Foster, Swanee River (1939).

Her final film, Earthbound (1940), was a fantasy murder mystery in which Leeds' character solves the murder of her husband, aided by his ghost.

These films were relatively successful and Leeds remained a popular actress.

Personal life[edit]

On October 25, 1939, Leeds married Robert Stewart Howard,[5] son of California businessman and racehorse owner Charles S. Howard, and decided to leave films to devote herself to raising a family. Her father-in-law owned and raced Seabiscuit, and with her husband she became a successful horse owner/breeder.

The Howards also owned the Howard Manor in Palm Springs, a hotel originally built as the "Colonial House" by Las Vegas casino owner and Purple Gang member Al Wertheimer.[7] The hotel is now operated as the Colony Palms Hotel, and features the "Winner's Circle Suite" in honor of Seabuscuit and the Howards.[8] After her husband's death in 1962, Leeds ran a jewelry business. It was her only marriage, and produced two children. Her son is Robert Howard Jr. and her daughter Leann died of cancer in 1971.


Leeds died on May 21, 1984 from cancer in Palm Springs, California, aged 69. A resident of the city for many years, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to her in 1994.[9]

She was interred in Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1933 Meet the Baron College Girl Uncredited
1934 Elinor Norton Nurse Uncredited
1934 Bachelor of Arts Student Occupations Bureau Clerk Uncredited
1935 Asegure a su mujer
1935 Dante's Inferno Anna Uncredited
1935 Anna Karenina Girl in Bar Uncredited
1935 Life Hesitates at 40 Dr. Finlayson's Nurse Short, Uncredited
1935 Magnificent Obsession Nina Uncredited
1936 The Bohemian Girl Maid & Governess Uncredited
1936 The Count Takes the Count Gloria Grayson Short, As Antoinette Lees
1936 Sutter's Gold Nurse Uncredited
1936 Song of the Trail Betty Hobson As Antoinette Lees
1936 The Moon's Our Home Perfume Salesgirl As Antoinette Lees
1936 Forgotten Faces Salesgirl As Antoinette Lees
1936 My Man Godfrey Socialite at Scavenger Hunt Uncredited
1936 Come and Get It Evvie Glasgow
1937 It Could Happen to You Laura Compton
1937 Stage Door Kay Hamilton Best Supporting Actress Oscar Nom.
1938 The Goldwyn Follies Hazel Dawes
1938 Letter of Introduction Katherine 'Kay' Martin
1938 Youth Takes a Fling Helen Brown
1939 They Shall Have Music Ann Lawson
1939 The Real Glory Linda Hartley
1939 Swanee River Jane McDowell Foster
1940 Earthbound Ellen Desborough (final film role)


  1. ^ Fidler, Jimmie (September 9, 1939). "Andrea Leeds' Courage to Keep Fighting Wins Her New Role in 'Swanee River'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, Salt Lake City. McNaught Syndicate, Inc. p. 11. Retrieved August 25, 2018 – via open access
  2. ^ "("Leeds" search results)". Academy Awards Database. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 26 August 2018.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "ANDREA LEEDS, 70, EX-ACTRESS". The New York Times. May 23, 1984. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d "Andrea Leeds, Movie Star, Is Daughter of Montana Miner". Great Falls Tribune. Montana, Great Falls. March 29, 1938. p. 6. Retrieved August 25, 2018 – via open access
  5. ^ a b "Andrea Leeds Wed To Robert S. Howard". Star Tribune. Minnesota, Minneapolis. October 26, 1939. p. 17. Retrieved August 26, 2018 – via open access
  6. ^ 1920 Census Record accessed 8-3-2015
  7. ^ Niemann 2006, p. 268.
  8. ^ "Escape to Palm Springs". South Bay Magazine. October 30, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2012.
  10. ^ John "J-Cat" Griffith (September 21, 1998). "Andrea Leeds". Actress. Find a Grave.


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