Dan Duryea Before Hollywood
In-depth facts about Dan Duryea's pre-Hollywood days can prove rather elusive. I'm always on the lookout for stories, trivia or photos from this time, so don't be afraid to check back for updates and additions to this page.
I was absolutely thrilled to find an obscure webpage filled with pictures of Dan's older brother, Hewlett, and his family. Included there are two pictures showing Dan as a young boy. This is the first time that I've been able to find a photo showing Dan as a little boy! So far, I've been unable to contact the owner of the page for permission to post the photo here, so to see the page of photos, just click here.
Thanks to Richard M. (a distant cousin of Dan D.), I have scan of a xerox showing Dan and Hewlett Duryea in what appear to be their highschool years. The paper was undated, but the boys are definitely pretty young in these nice pictures. Click to enlarge.
Here is the yearbook photograph of the class of 1924 from White Plains High School. Dan D. is seated in the front row (fourth from the right) at the age of seventeen. Click to enlarge.
Dan Duryea went on to Cornell University upon his graduation from White Plains. The picture at left comes from his entry in the yearbook for his Senior year (Class of 1928). A lot of newspaper clippings and short biographies state that he graduated with a degree in English, but his entry in the yearbook reads "Arts and Sciences". Dan would be twenty-one years old in this picture! After graduating, he went into the advertising business (following the advice of his parents), but the stress was too much for him and he had a major heart-attack in 1932. He spent months in bed, and the doctors did not even think that he would survive. Finally, they told him that he was past the "touch and go" point, but that he would have to choose an easier career without stress. Dan Duryea the Actor went to work!
The pair of photographs above are unidentified. Dan appears to be around college age, but it could also be shortly after. I've never read anything that stated whether he played an instrument or not, so I haven't got a clue as to the significance of the quartet.