Classic Film Club


Dorris Bowdon

Dorris Bowdon (1940)



Dorris Bowdon was born Dorris Estelle Bowdon in Coldwater, Mississippi, in 1914.

After winning the 1937 Miss Memphis Beauty Pageant, she headed for Hollywood.

Bowdon made her big screen debut, at the age of 25, in Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) starring Henry Fonda.   She appeared in 7 features before retiring after the birth of her first child in 1943.

She met the producer/screenwriter Nunnally Johnson, who was at the time adapting John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath for the screen.   Even though he was 18 years her senior, the two were married in 1939.   They raised three children.   He passed away in 1977.   Her grandchildren include the actor Jack Johnson and the music editor Gene N. Fowler.

Bowdon died of heart failure in Los Angeles, in 2005, at the age of 90.



Young Mr. Lincoln

Young Mr. Lincoln
  • Young Mr. Lincoln
  • 1939
  • This semi-fictional biopic, starring Henry Fonda, examines the early life of President Abraham Lincoln as he sets up his law practice in Illinois and defends his first murder case. John Ford directs.

Drums Along the Mohawk

Drums Along the Mohawk
  • Drums Along the Mohawk
  • 1939
  • Along the Mohawk River Valley in upstate New York, settlers battle Indians backed by the English during the Revolutionary War. Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda are directed by John Ford.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • 1940
  • Dust Bowl era sharecroppers leave for California in hope of a better life only to find ever more hardship.

    John Ford directs Henry Fonda.

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