Dana Andrews was born Carver Andrews on a farm outside of Collins, Mississippi, in 1909. His father was a Baptist minister. The family later moved to Huntsville, Texas. Andrews attended college there and also studied business administration in Houston, working briefly as an accountant for Gulf & Western.
In 1931, he traveled to Los Angeles, seeking his fortune in the entertainment industry. He worked at various odd jobs, including pumping gas. One of his employers believed in him and paid for singing lessons and an acting program at the Pasadena Playhouse. Andrews later signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn and was given his first movie role in 1940.
By the 1950’s, alcoholism had derailed Andrews' career and nearly cost him his life in a couple of automobile accidents. He was forced into supporting roles and character parts in B-movies. In 1972, after four years of sobriety, he became one of the first celebrities to appear in a public service announcement for AA.
In 1963, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. With a career spanning over 75 feature films, his last film role was in 1985.
Andrews married Janet Murray in 1932. She died of pneumonia in 1935, not long after the birth of their son, David (a musician who died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1964).
In 1939, he married Mary Todd. They raised three children.
In the last years of his life Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease and, in 1992, died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. He was 83 years old.