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(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Luana Walters

Real name may be:
Luana J. Walter

1912 - 1963

The first film role for Luana Walters was circa 1930 when she was under contract with Joseph M. Schenck. She may or may not be in the Schenck production of the Douglas Fairbanks and Bebe Daniels REACHING FOR THE MOON (United Artists, 1930), a film which I've never seen. Appears that after the initial contract period, Schenck did not pick up her option and Luana was released to find work elsewhere.

Above - a crop/blowup of Luana and Fred 'Snowflake' Toones from THE TULSA KID still that is shown at the bottom of this webpage.

Most of her movie appearances occurred during the period from 1932 - 1942 at Republic, Columbia, RKO, Monogram, Puritan ... anywhere and everywhere. Her first western was the Tim McCoy END OF THE TRAIL (Columbia, 1932), and over the next ten years, she did about two dozen oaters with Rex Bell, Jack Randall, Tim Holt, Gene Autry, Don Barry, Tim McCoy, Tom Keene, Charles Starrett, Russell Hayden, Wild Bill Elliott, Dennis Moore, the Range Busters, and the Rough Riders. In most, she was the leading lady and a good example is MEXICALI ROSE (Republic, 1939), one of Gene Autry's best. However, there were a few oaters in which she played second string to the main heroine. An example is THE RETURN OF WILD BILL (Columbia, 1940) which starred Bill Elliott and Iris Meredith. Luana is killed in the ending gunfight.

She had support roles - but not the female lead - in four serials:

  • in SHADOW OF CHINATOWN (Victory, 1936), Walters (as "Sonya Rokoff", the Dragon Lady) and Bela Lugosi were the protaganists to Bruce Bennett (Herman Brix) and Joan Barclay. Luana dies in this cliffhanger, saving Bruce Bennett's life.
  • she appears in the DRUMS OF FU MANCHU (Republic, 1940) in which William Royle and Robert Kellard battle against Henry Brandon.
  • in CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT (Columbia, 1942), it was James Craven (as "Ivan Shark") and Luana (as Craven's daughter "Fury Shark") vs. Dave O'Brien and Dorothy Short.
  • among Walters' last acting jobs was playing the mother of the "man of steel" in the Kirk Alyn SUPERMAN (Columbia, 1948).

Relegated to mostly B grade films, she never recovered from the death of her husband, actor Max Hoffman, the son of Gertrude Hoffman (who portrayed "Mrs. Odetts" on the MY LITTLE MARGIE TV program). In late 1944 - early 1945, Luana and Max were living in New York City. Hoffman was appearing in the Broadway play "Good Night, Ladies", which ran from January 17 - March 24, 1945. On March 31, 1945, Luana found him unconscious and he passed away shortly thereafter in their New York hotel room. Hoffman had been married earlier to Helen Kane (the "boop-boop-a-doop" girl with her signature song, "I Want to Be Loved By You").

She grew frustrated with the lack of good film roles ... plus the loss of her husband. She turned to alcohol, and at the time of her death on or about May 19, 1963 at age 50, Luana was clerking in a drug store. There was a coroner's investigation ... her remains were cremated at the Los Angeles County crematory on June 10, 1963 ... and I've yet to discover a funeral notice, obituary or any mention of her passing in newspapers or Hollywood tradepapers. A sad ending for one of the prettiest and busiest of the B western leading ladies.

(From Old Corral collection)

Left to right are Tim McCoy, Wade Boteler, Luana Walters and Chief White Eagle in McCoy's END OF THE TRAIL (Columbia, 1932).

The Family Search website (free), the California Birth Index, the California Death Index, and the death certificate provide more information:

  • 1900 census: living in Roanoke, Virginia are 41 year old Paul Walters, his 35 year old wife Lydia A. Walters and one son and three daughters. All were born in Virginia. The son is 13 year old Vernon S. Walters, born about March, 1887, and he will be the father of Luana Walters:
  • California Birth Index has a record for Luana J. Walter, born July 22, 1912 in Los Angeles, California:
  • 1920 census: 7 year old Louanna Walter (born California) is living in Roanoke, Virginia with her grandparents, 64 year old Paul Walter and 53 year old Lydia Walter (and four of their children):
  • 1940 census: living in Los Angeles, California are 38 year old Max Hoffman (born Virginia) and his 26 year old wife Luana J. Hoffman (born California):
    1940 census takers worksheet: renting at the Villa Monterey Apartments, 2270 Beachwood Drive, Los Angeles, California are 38 year old Max Hoffman and his 26 year old wife Luana J. Hoffman. Max's occupation is "Actor - Motion Pictures", and in 1939, he worked 10 weeks and earned $2134.00. Luana's occupation is "Actress - Motion Pictures", and in 1939, she worked 36 weeks and earned $1800.00:
  • Death Certificate: a coroner's investigation was completed June 5, 1963 on the death of Louanna Walters, AKA Louanna Hoffman. She was found dead at her residence at 1415 Dewey Avenue, Los Angeles, on or about May 19, 1963 (the death certificate shows her death date as "Approx. May 19, 1963"). Cause of death was "severe fatty metamorphosis of liver". She was born July 22, 1912 in California; parents were Vernon Walter (unknown birth place) and Georgia Clarke (unknown birth place); currrent occupation was "Clerk - Thrifty Drug Stores". Death certificate informant was "Public Records"; funeral director was Los Angeles County Hospital and she was cremated on June 10, 1963 at the Los Angeles County Crematory.
  • The California Death Index mirrors the death certificate and has her listed in two records: Louanna Walters and Louanna Hoffman, with birth date of July 22, 1912 in California, Mother's maiden name of Clarke, and she passed away on May 19, 1963 in Los Angeles County, California:

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on:

          Luana Walters:
          Her husband, Max Hoffman, Jr.:

and the Internet Broadway Database includes info on Max Hoffman, Jr.:

Find A Grave website mentions that Luana Walters was cremated and the cremains were given to family or friends:

It's always interesting to click through excerpts of newspaper headlines and clippings at the Google newspaper archives at:
Here's a few free articles on Luana Walters and Max Hoffman:

You can download or stream several Luana Walters' films from the Internet Archive (including ACES AND EIGHTS (Puritan, 1936 with Tim McCoy) and THE CORPSE VANISHES (Monogram, 1942 with Bela Lugosi)):

(Courtesy of Belinda Kirkhuff)

Above is a still from the Don Barry THE TULSA KID (Republic, 1940). From left to right are Matty Roubert, Fred 'Snowflake' Toones, Luana Walters, Ethan Laidlaw, George Douglas, Noah Beery Sr., John Beach and Jack Kirk.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Ray Corrigan and Luana Walters in a lobby card from Range Busters adventure #5, THE KID'S LAST RIDE (Monogram, 1941). Luana also worked in the first entry in the series, THE RANGE BUSTERS (Monogram, 1940).

Left is a screen capture of Luana Walters and Tris Coffin from the colorized version of THE CORPSE VANISHES (Monogram, 1942).

Their adversary was Bela Lugosi.

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