How tall is Alan Ladd ?

Home :: About  Latest :: Comments :: Top 50 

Alan Ladd's Height is 5ft 6in (168 cm)

American actor, best remembered for roles in films like Shane, Hell on Frisco Bay, Boy on a Dolphin, The Carpetbaggers, The Great Gatsby, The Blue Dahlia, The Proud Rebel, The Badlanders, and Botany Bay. Actress Virginia Mayo once mentioned that "Every one says how short Alan was, but he was not so short. I worked with James Cagney and Edward G Robinson who were both shorter than me. I'm 5'5.5, Alan was about an inch taller," and another actress - Carol Matthews - in the book 'Ladies of Westerns' said "I'm 5'7 and he was shorter. He stood on a box and I wore tennis shoes." In the army, Ladd was listed as standing 5ft 7 inches and in the film Blue Dahlia his character's weight was described as 160 pounds.

Some actresses - like Shelley Winters in Saskatchewan - complained about having to stand in a ditch, with Ladd not liking the idea of being on an apple box. Indeed, many tricks were used in Ladd's films to enhance his stature with leading ladies and deflate the height of bad guys. On one occasion, actor Hugh O'Brian commented that Ladd wasn't much taller than Mickey Rooney and after setting up camera shots a guy would dig a hole for him: "He digs half a hole. He takes my dirt from the first half and uses it as a mound for Ladd to stand on."

Terry Gilliam once mentioned that he liked the idea of "Little guys being as heroic as Alan Ladd, who was only about five foot five," and that in his movies "when he's with the girl their heads are on the same level, but when you look at their belts, his is at the level of her chest, and it's very silly."

The actor Robert Conrad once mentioned "I was complaining because they had me wearing elevator shoes and they were very uncomfortable. They were actually Alan Ladd's and his feet were smaller than mine."

How tall was Alan Ladd
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
You May Be Interested
Veronica Lake
Height of Veronica Lake
4ft 11in (150 cm)
Humphrey Bogart
Height of Humphrey Bogart
5ft 8in (173 cm)
Cheryl Ladd
Height of Cheryl Ladd
5ft 4in (163 cm)
James Cagney
Height of James Cagney
5ft 5in (165 cm)
Comment on the Height of Alan Ladd

Parker said on 17/May/15
He looked to be walking around at 5'8 in Shane, no doubt he had lifts inside his boots and a thick heel.
Ed said on 14/May/15
A chilidhood friend down the block was Van Heflin's nephew. He told me Heflin was 5'9.
Parker said on 2/May/15
According to his biographer, the Army Air Force gave him an honourable discharge in November 1943 due to ill health. His height on his discharge papers was listed as 5'9, which is ludicrous IMO.
Filmnut said on 24/Nov/14
Reading down some, posters seem to think lifts versus bare feet add 2 inches to height. But lifts with heeled or build up shoes can easily add four inches to height. A 5'4" Ladd can stand nose to nose with Bogart in this scenario (but I have no ida how tall Ladd is, the picture of him with Mickey O assumes his height was correctly given at 5'5" but he always seemed even shorter).
Parker said on 12/Nov/14
Elisha Cook Jnr -Enlisted in U.S. Army on 15 August 1942. Height and weight at enlistment given as 5' 5" and 123 lb. Education given as three years of high school.

Here's Elisha next to a barefoot Alan in a still from the Great Gatsby - Cook in footwear. Draw your own conclusions.
Click Here
Arch Stanton said on 12/Nov/14
Rob, there's repetition of the " He was listed as 5ft 7 in the army." part now, perhaps delete that and move the new sentence up, cheers. Funny, the radio report on him as a wanted fugitive in the Blue Dahlia they even described his eye and hair colour and weight but funnily no mention of his height hehe!! I guess it wouldn't sound very impressive if he was described as 5 ft 6!
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Rob you might want to update with "He was listed as 5ft 7 in the army, and in the film The Blue Dahlia his character got described on a radio report as "around 160 pounds".
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
There was definitely a good reason why he got paired with Lake in a string of movies!!
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Funnily enough they made him look like an average-tallish leading man in the Blue Dahlia, although they cast short actors and he was wearing lifts. I think Veronica Lake got the lead actress role for a reason :-)
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Well, I suppose 5'5 and change is not within the realms of possibility but I can't see it..
Arch Stanton said on 10/Nov/14
Yeah there's absolutely no way he was sub 5 ft 6. Granted he often wore lifts and was filmed in advantageous ground with all sorts of tricks to reduce the height, but if anything he generally could seem taller than this proportionally.
Parker said on 8/Nov/14
John says on 5/Nov/14
He wore lifts and had to stand on boxes. Trenches were dug.....CORRECT
He has been described as very short........CORRECT
He was 5ft 4in tall. It's obvious.....

Obvious? Here he is next to 5'3 Jean Arthur
Click Here
Click Here

Next to 5'8 Humphrey Bogart
Click Here

He stood 5ft 6in or so with lifts (STANDING 5'8 WITH BOGART)

Bare feet 5ft 4 - INCORRECT
John said on 5/Nov/14
He wore lifts and had to stand on boxes. Trenches were dug.
He has been described as very short.
He was 5ft 4in tall. It's obvious.
He stood 5ft 6in or so with lifts.
Bare feet 5ft 4
Parker said on 13/Oct/14
aldo 93 says on 11/Oct/14
he had to stand on a box of oranges to kiss the woman in the ion mistress

Not true. Virginia Mayo played opposite him in Iron Mistress and has commented in his biography she estimated him an inch taller than her 5'5.5. She also stated in his biography she never stood in a ditch, or he on a box. She did however always wear flats opposite him.
aldo 93 said on 11/Oct/14
he had to stand on a box of oranges to kiss the woman in the ion mistress so he must have been under 5 ft4 or he would have been able to kiss her without standing on a box lol
Parker said on 9/Sep/14
I watched Shane again last night - you can easily spot what the director did to make Alan look as tall as possible, starting with his footwear which I estimate would have given him 2-3 inches. At the end of the dance scene where he is talking to Elisha Cook Jnr he looks 4 inches taller, when in fact they were similar in height. The director made sure was on the higher ground.
Click Here

I actually posted a video of the above scene from Great Gatsby, and Alan barefoot was a smidge shorter than Elisha in his footwear. Elisha's army listing is 5'5.

My guess for Alan is 5'5.5/5'6. A 2.5 inch footwear boost would make put him at 5'8, which is what he looked in Shane.
Arch Stanton said on 5/Sep/14
Rob can you update this?
[Editor Rob: yes I improved this page a bit and found another quote about him from an actor about ditches.]
Arch Stanton said on 1/Sep/14
Rob you might want to add the quote from the Virginia Mayo page and update with a photo from Shane era and "American actor, best remembered for roles in films like Shane, Hell on Frisco Bay, Boy on a Dolphin, The Carpetbaggers, The Great Gatsby, The Blue Dahlia, The Proud Rebel, The Badlanders, and Botany Bay."
Those are the ones which spring to mind which I've seen and associate him with but I haven't seen many of his 40s films so Sam at some point might have other suggestions as replacements. I think I've mostly covered the more notable roles though.
Parker said on 22/Aug/14
Egan says on 19/Aug/14
Based on his film appearances, I would estimate his height at 5'5.25".

Possible. Under 5'5 is not.
Egan said on 19/Aug/14
Based on his film appearances, I would estimate his height at 5'5.25".
aldo 93 said on 14/Aug/14
5 ft 4 max then
Parker said on 8/Aug/14
Zero chance he was as short as 5'3.

100% chance he was 5'5-5'7. You can argue any height between that range. Nobody but Alan would have known exactly,he might not even have known himself.
aldo said on 30/Jul/14
he was about 5 ft 3 if hes lucky
Robby D. said on 26/Jul/14
@Parker. Thank you. I order almost everything from Amazon and I love reading biographies, I have a lot on movie stars.
Parker said on 25/Jul/14
@Robby - You can get it from Amazon

Click Here
John said on 25/Jul/14
5ft 6in in lifts.
5ft 4in without.
Robby D said on 24/Jul/14
@Parker, very interesting. I think Alan Ladd was an early version of Tom Cruise when it came to his height. He never came across as looking exceptionally short in the movies and a lot of actors did look shorter. One actor who comes to mind is Richard Jaeckel who is always listed as 5'7" but appeared a lot shorter on screen and yet unlike Ladd and Cruise his height has never been a major topic. I am an avid reader of biographies and I would like to read Alan Ladd's biography myself as I am a huge fan of his movies.
Parker said on 22/Jul/14
@Robby, Alan Ladd was probably the primary reason I first visited this site. I remember a GF's father stating he was ~5'3 as we watched one of his films on TV. I found it difficult to believe he was that height. After reading his biography and comments from family (Catch 'Alan Ladd The true Quiet Man' on U tube,) and looking at various pics I originally estimated(and lobbied) 5'7 for him.

After watching the clip with Elisha Cook I've moderated my opinion to a 'weak' 5'6.

Have a look at this article by his son - an interesting read

Click Here

He was a very good actor. Its unfortunate that in 'Boy on a Dolphin' his co star, 5'8 Sophia Loren, was made to play all her scenes in a ditch, and spoke to the media about it. Ladd was then the object of much derision by them (the media), who I think propogated the 5'3 'myth' you and I have both heard.

Shane was one of my favourite movies - Really can't see him under 5'5. If he was, they must have used some amazing camera trickery.
Robby D said on 21/Jul/14
@Parker. That is interesting. It says his US enlistment height was 5'7". I am not sure how they measure someone for enlistment. Do they measure them on a stadiometer barefoot or take an estimate standing against a wall with shoes on? Perhaps Rob would know. I don't understand why Joan Collins said he was about three inches shorter than her though. Obviously she exaggerated because although she claims she is 5'6" there are more sites which say she is 5'4". I know three inches shorter than her is out of the question whichever of her height listings is true, however, I thought if she were 5'6" perhaps he were an inch shorter which would have made him 5'5" but you could well be right when you said 167cm. I will add that when I was a child and I watched Alan Ladd's films, he never came across as short to me unlike some actors. It was only when the older generation told me he was exceptionally short and wore elevated shoes that I even thought about it. Someone at the time mentioned he was only 5'4" in height and I suppose that stuck in my mind.
Parker said on 21/Jul/14
@Robby - Have a look at the paragraph on Ladd's height here
Click Here

The barefoot shot with Elisha Cook is the only barefoot pic I've seen. I did post the video clip, but it appears infringed copyright. Must admit, he did look marginally shorter barefoot than Cook in footwear, but I don't believe he was under 5'5.
Robby D said on 20/Jul/14
Good pictures Parker but I am still not convinced. It was common knowledge he wore lifts. Show me a photograph of him standing barefoot with those actors and actresses showing the same height difference and that might convince me. Incidentally, I did notice the photo of Frankie Avalon in the picture with Alan Ladd but although Avalon is ridiculously listed as 5'8" and is listed on celebheights as 5'6.5", I think he was more like 5'5".
Parker said on 20/Jul/14
Robby D - Look at my last few posts
9 May barefoot with 5'5 Elisha Cook in Footwear
24th June - With 5'3 Jean Arthur

Dancing scene from Shane with 5'3 Jean Arthur
Click Here
Click Here

With 5'5 Edward G Robinson
Click Here

I highly doubt he could have been under 5'5 no matter what Joan Collins said.

Virginia Mayo, who starred in several Ladd films said he was taller than her 5'5,whereas Cagney was shorter.

My guess is 167.
Robby D said on 19/Jul/14
I have always heard that he was shorter than 5'6" and reading Joan Collins autobiography "Second Act" merely reinforces my belief. In the book, Joan says she had to play alongside Alan Ladd and that she was three inches taller than him. She said she had to be barefoot whilst he wore elevated shoes when they did their scenes together. Although I think she may have exaggerated by saying she was three inches taller, she is listed as 5'6" on some sites and 5'4" on others so assuming she was 5'6" (which I doubt) and she was just an inch taller than him that would make him 5'5" which I think would be generous. I think his height should be reduced on here.
littlesue said on 26/Jun/14
Ladd was about 5ft 6,he was the old Hollywood equivalent to tom cruise, everyone trying to make out he was some sort of dwarf
Parker said on 24/Jun/14
Here's Ladd with 5'3 Jean Arthur and close to 6' Van Heflin
Click Here

@Mr R. He can't have been 5'4, dont you agree?
Mr. R said on 24/Jun/14
I've always heard he was 5-4. I take my students to his grave sometimes and I tell them that he was the one to create the standard for short guys like Tom Cruise.
Parker said on 22/Jun/14
Here's a 21 year old Frankie Avalon next to Ladd. Frankie is listed at 5'6.5 on this site.
Click Here
Parker said on 21/Jun/14
No chance of him being 5'4. They got him to 5'8 in Shane in the dance scene with ~5'3 Jean Arthur. 2-3 inch footwear from a normal looking boot I can accept, 4 inches ludicrous.

With Mariliyn Monroe
Click Here
John said on 11/Jun/14
5ft 6in - no chance.
5ft 4in - completely
Sam said on 12/May/14
Can't help but laugh...I think he borrowed one of the ladies swimsuits from a Bugsby Berkeley movie for that shot that Parker posted.
Parker said on 9/May/14
Alan with Elisha Cook Jnr, 5'5 measured army listing.
Click Here
Vaughn said on 5/Feb/14
A friend was acquainted with his granddaughter in high school. According to her he was 5'2".
spiderman said on 1/Feb/14
5'5" the most
John said on 9/Jan/14
5ft 4
Blackmamba said on 7/Jan/14
Having just watched The Black Night and with my Tailors eye I would guess at between 5ft 3in and 5ft 4in. He has very short legs, no more than 26'' inside leg.
Parker said on 13/Oct/13
A weak 5'6 IMO now. I argued for a long time for a 5'7 listing fot Alan, but recent film clips have altered my opinion. Virginia Mayo has always quoted her own height as 5'5.5. There's a dancing scene in the Iron Mistress where she appears to have ballet shoes where he has at least 2 inch footwear advantage, and he only looks 2 inches taller.

I'd post it but You tube censors have removed all of the Ladd films posted.
Arch Stanton said on 3/Sep/13
Does look shortish in Shane, surprised he was quite this short. He had the face of a tall man. His hair in Shane reminds me of my own. I came here thinking he was 5'7"-5'8"
Laddie said on 27/Aug/13
Tom Cruise and Ladd could be fraternal twins in a way. 5 foot 6 inches is about correct.
marcus said on 21/May/13
Alan Ladd's arms and legs were not in proportion to his head and torso. Made him look like a midget in some scenes.
Parker said on 20/May/13
twizzle says on 7/May/13
I had it on good authority that he was 5'1

Well I'd sack them
twizzle said on 7/May/13
I had it on good authority that he was 5'1
Marcus said on 11/Mar/13
Ladd was listed at various heights throughout his acting career. If you watch closely in his films and compare him with other actors, his height appears to be in the 5'5.5" - 5'6" range.
Parker said on 2/Nov/12
Probably the widest height range estimations I've ever seen for an actor.His height on his air force discharge papers was listed at 5'9. Throughout the years his height has been quoted by friends,family and the media as ranging from 5'4-5'9. There is a number of internet listings that still list him at 5'4.

He stood on a box with a number of his leading lady's, as quoted above. Sophia Loren filmed all her scenes from lower ground on 'Boy on a Dolphin' - Ladd hated it.

Virginia Mayo quotes her own height as 5'5.5 and said Alan was about an inch taller. Carol Matthews says she is 5'7 and he was shorter. 5'5.5-5'6.5 pretty much nails it.

Rob's listing is fair.
Parker said on 27/Oct/12
Jim says on 22/Oct/12
According to George Stevens Jr. in his analysis of Shane (see Shave DVD) he credits Alan Ladd with being 5' 7" tall.

I used to think he was that height, and I saw a quote from his son in law in a recent biography that said the same. However if you look at the clip I posted 12th November last year he stands barefoot next to Elisha Cook (Who was in footwear) and looked marginally shorter - Cook's Army listing put him at 5'5.

I now believe Alan was 5'5.5/5'6. Of course we'll never know. What is not in doubt is he was a great actor.
Jim said on 22/Oct/12
According to George Stevens Jr. in his analysis of Shane (see Shave DVD) he credits Alan Ladd with being 5' 7" tall. Maybe he was just being kind but I have heard similar comments in the past. Even 5' 7" is not tall when compared to actors like Van Hefflin and other male actors Ladd worked with.
Parker said on 3/Oct/12
Very good article on Alan
Click Here

The studios went to such great lengths to disguise his height - ramps, ditches for his leading ladies, boxes, pieces of wood etc. that when the press got hold of it he was pitched at 5'2 or 5'3. A lot of sites still give him 5'4 max. As his son says in the article below, the reality was different - 5'6.

Click Here
Patrick said on 6/Feb/12
5'4 is just ridiculous. Even with good tricky angles and ditches ets. he never could have appeared as he did in many movies surrounded with tall actors as in Shane. Just impossible. I already find hard to believe he was so short but have to go along common opinion.
elvis said on 27/Jan/12

All heights are barefeet Estimates, derived from quotations by celebrities, official websites, agency resumes, actors I've met at conventions and pictures/films.

Vital statistics like weight, shoe or bra size measurements have been taken from quotes in newspapers, books and resumes.

Celebrity Fan Photos and Agency Pictures of stars are © to their respective owners.