Teaching Students About Ann Sheridan: A Tribute to an Icon


Ann Sheridan, a talented and dynamic American actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood, left an indelible mark on the film industry. With a career spanning over three decades and more than 60 films, her magnetic screen presence and fiery spirit made her a favorite among audiences. Introducing students to Ann Sheridan’s life and accomplishments not only exemplifies her talent but also provides valuable insights into the history of cinema and the role of women in the entertainment industry.

Early Life:

Ann Sheridan was born on February 21, 1915, in Denton, Texas. Discussing her humble beginnings offers students an opportunity to explore the themes of perseverance and determination. Despite experiencing numerous hardships during her youth amidst the Great Depression, Sheridan pushed through adversity to pursue her passion for acting.

 Career Highlights:

Incorporating some of Ann Sheridan’s most memorable roles will help students appreciate her versatility as an actress. Some prime examples include:

1. “Angels with Dirty Faces” (1938): As Laury Martin in this classic James Cagney film, Sheridan demonstrated her adeptness at performing alongside male leads while holding her own as a powerful female character.

2. “Kings Row” (1942): Starring as Randy Monaghan alongside Ronald Reagan, Sheridan’s heart-wrenching portrayal gained critical acclaim and further established her reputation as a leading actress.

3. “The Man Who Came to Dinner” (1942): Showcasing Sheridan’s comedic timing, this role cemented her place as a versatile performer who could transition effortlessly between genres.

4. “Nora Prentiss” (1947): As a femme fatale in this film noir classic, Sheridan reaffirms that she was more than just a pretty face – she had depth and range as an actress.

Teaching students about these films can pique their interest in Ann Sheridan and help them explore different cinematic styles prevalent at the time.

The “Oomph Girl”:

Ann Sheridan was dubbed the “Oomph Girl” in the late 1930s, a moniker she initially resisted but later embraced. The term “oomph” was used to describe sex appeal and allure; so teaching about this phase of her life enables students to examine how marketing, publicity, and image played an influential role during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Discussing her preference for acting over being solely a glamour figure can lead to meaningful discussions on women’s empowerment and self-image.


Although Ann Sheridan passed away on January 21, 1967, her spirit and contributions to cinema live on. Encouraging students to not only watch her films but also analyze her performances allows them to recognize her impact as an actress and cultural figure. Students may be inspired to conduct further research into film history and examine how female actresses like Ann Sheridan navigated a male-dominated industry.


Introducing students to Ann Sheridan’s life, career, and accomplishments not only pays homage to an iconic actress but also encourages them to dive deeper into the ever-fascinating world of cinema. By exploring pivotal films, events, and themes in her life, teachers can cultivate inquisitive minds who appreciate both the art of filmmaking and the role of influential individuals within it.

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