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(From Old Corral collection)
Sheila Ryan

Real name:

Katherine Elizabeth McLaughlin

1921 - 1975

Born in Topeka, Kansas, pretty Sheila Ryan became a contract player at 20th Century Fox in the 1940s, and appeared in various pictures at the studio including a Cesar Romero/Cisco Kid western, Charlie Chan and Michael Shayne mysteries, and a couple of the Laurel & Hardy escapades.

Her biggest and best work during that period occurred in THE GANG'S ALL HERE (20th Century Fox, 1943). That starred Alice Faye and is a fun Busby Berkely musical in full Technicolor glory. The male love interest for Faye and Ryan is James Ellison (of Hopalong Cassidy films).

You can also catch a glimpse of Sheila in the 1941 SUN VALLEY SERENADE. Starring ice skater Sonja Henie and John Payne, that film is remembered more as a showcase for Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Keep on eye out for "pretty ladies doing bit parts" and you'll see Sheila as well as Lynne Roberts, as both were under contract to 20th Century Fox at the time. Hint: office receptionist and telephone operator.

The WAMPAS Baby Stars, a yearly selection of 13 promising starlets, was conducted by The Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers from the early 1920s through the mid 1930s. Sheila was a "Baby Star" but not during the WAMPAS sponsorship. In 1940, the Motion Picture Publicists Association selected 13 "Baby Stars": Ella Bryan, Lucia Carroll, Peggy Diggins, Lorraine Elliott, Jayne Hazard, Joan Leslie, Kay Leslie, Gay Parkes, Lois Ranson, Marilyn [Lynn] Merrick, Patricia Van Cleve, Tanya Widrin ... and Sheila Ryan.

By the mid 1940s, Ryan had been dropped by 20th Century Fox and many of her subsequent roles were in B productions, generally of the western, mystery or potboiler type. For example, she had a meaty role in JUNGLE MANHUNT (Columbia, 1951), one of the 'Jungle Jim' adventures starring former Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller.

Somehow she connected with Gene Autry in the late 1940s. At that time, Gene was producing his own films and releasing them through Columbia Pictures. Sheila appeared in four with Autry: THE COWBOYS AND THE INDIANS (Columbia, 1949), MULE TRAIN (Columbia, 1950), ON TOP OF OLD SMOKY (Columbia, 1953), and PACK TRAIN (Columbia, 1953). She also had roles in many of Autry's television shows.

While working on the Autry oaters, she met and fell in love with Gene's comedic trail pardner Pat Buttram. Sheila and Pat married in late 1951 and were proud parents of a daughter named Katherine.

Prior to her successful marriage to Buttram, she tied the knot with Allan 'Rocky' Lane on October 5, 1945 in Las Vegas. That ended in a separation and divorce in early 1946 after only a few months of marriage. Later, she was married and divorced from actor Edward Norris.

Ill for several years with a lung ailment, 54 year old Sheila Ryan Buttram passed away on November 4, 1975 at the Motion Picture Home and Hospital.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Sheila Ryan:

November 6, 1975 Los Angeles Times had a death and funeral notice for Sheila Ryan Buttram. She passed away from a lung ailment and "physicians were unable to diagnose the specific disease that killed her".:

November 5, 1975 Fresno Bee paper had a death notice for Sheila Ryan Buttram and mentions that she passed at the Motion Picture Hospital:

Find A Grave notes that Sheila Ryan was cremated and ashes scattered at sea off Marina del Rey:

The Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen website includes timelines and details on Sheila Ryan's film and personal life:

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Sheila with Cesar Romero in the Cisco Kid adventure THE GAY CABALLERO (20th Century Fox, 1940).

Trade publication ad for Roy Rogers and Sheila Ryan in SONG OF TEXAS (Republic, 1943).

(From Old Corral collection)

Sheila Ryan and Alan Curtis in a lobby card from PHILO VANCE'S SECRET MISSION (PRC, 1947).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from L-to-R are Vince Barnett, Sheila Ryan, Gene Autry and Pat Buttram in MULE TRAIN (Columbia, 1950). Interesting twist in both the plot and casting - Sheila plays the local law officer as well as the brains heavy/gang leader in cahoots with Bob Livingston.

She portrayed another no-good in Autry's PACK TRAIN (Columbia, 1953), which featured Kenne Duncan and Sheila as greedy storekeepers peddling supplies at inflated prices to the local settlers.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left is a pressbook ad for Don Barry's RINGSIDE (Screen Guild/Lippert, 1949) which featured Sheila Ryan (lower left).

One of the fighters in this boxing tale was John/Bob Cason as the brutal "Tiger Johnson".

Note the upper right drawing of Barry pummeling Cason.

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