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Ann Harding Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 7 August 1902Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USA
Date of Death 1 September 1981Sherman Oaks, California, USA
Birth NameDorothy Walton Gatley
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Ann, born Dorothy Gatley, spent most of her childhood as an "army brat" constantly moving around before the family finally settled in New York. Ann first appeared on the stage while she spent a year attending Bryn Mawr College. She became a clerk and freelance script reader with a film company before she made her stage debut in Greenwich Village. From there she went to Broadway, and when pictures needed actors who could walk and talk, she went to Hollywood. She was signed by Pathe and made her debut, with Fredric March in Paris Bound (1929). She became a leading lady, and the roles that she played were always the same, but her co-stars changed. She was the gentle refined heroine as in The Animal Kingdom (1932), when she played Daisy, the rejected fiancée of Leslie Howard. By 1933, her popularity started to decline as she appeared in a parade of tearjerkers - always ready to sacrifice herself for good of others. She quit films in 1937 when she married conductor Warner Janssen, but she could not stay away. She came back five years later in Eyes in the Night (1942). Her roles after that were mature character roles for the next five years. Another break, another 3 films and then in 1956, she appeared once again with Fredric March the man with whom she started her career in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956). She continued to appear sporadically on TV in the 1960s and died at age 80 in 1981.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Ann Harding was born Dorothy Walton Gatley on August 7, 1901, in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The daughter of an Army captain and his wife, Ann spent a lot of time traveling around the US whenever her West Point-educated father was transferred. Moving to such places as Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Cuba and Pennsylvania made it very hard to put down roots. By the time the family settled in New York, Ann was well out of high school and began work with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., her college education put aside due to financial difficulties. She already had some stage experience in a couple of productions when she was a high-school student in Pennsylvania, but that was as far as it went. She left the insurance company welfare division when she went to work as a reader with the Famous Players-Lasky Co. After attending a play in New York City, Ann discovered that the acting company was holding auditions for a part, and she decided to give it a try. She was asked to come back the next evening and read for a larger part; to her surprise, she won it. She received critical acclaim for her role in "Inheritors" (1921) and decided she would continue her budding career. Her father was less than pleased with Ann's decision, but she felt it was her life and she would decide what was right for her. For the next eight years Ann performed in a variety of stage productions--after all, she was Broadway's bright new star. Ann was signed by Pathe Studios in 1929 and made her film debut, as "Mary Hutton", in Paris Bound (1929), co-starring with Fredric March. Later that year she starred with her husband Harry Bannister (whom she married in 1926 and divorced in 1932). Her role in Condemned! (1929), for which she was loaned out to United Artists, rounded out her work for that year. Back at Pathe she starred in Holiday (1930), the film that solidified her image as an actress. Next up was The Girl of the Golden West (1930), which again had her husband in the second role. Ann was loaned out to Fox to play Lady Isabella in East Lynne (1931). During production her husband would show up on the set and try to tell the director how to run the film. He was finally banned from the set, and it hastened the demise of Ann's marriage to him. In 1932 she appeared in four films--Prestige (1932), Westward Passage (1932), The Conquerors (1932) and The Animal Kingdom (1932). Four more followed in 1933. Ann didn't appear in as many films as a lot of her contemporaries did, because she was very careful in choosing the roles she played. She was more concerned with quality than quantity. After appearing in the British-made A Night of Terror (1937), Ann took a five-year hiatus from acting, not appearing on-screen until Eyes in the Night (1942). After Christmas Eve (1947) in 1947, Ann didn't work for three years, showing up second-billed in Two Weeks with Love (1950). She followed that with The Unknown Man (1951) but took another five-year break, until appearing in Strange Intruder (1956) and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), which turned out to be her last big-screen appearance. Ann was far from idle, however, keeping busy with appearances on stage and especially in television, in such programs as Kraft Theatre (1947), The Defenders (1961), Dr. Kildare (1961) and Ben Casey (1961). On September 1, 1981, Ann died in Sherman Oaks, California. She was 80 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

Werner Janssen (17 January 1937 - 7 February 1963) (divorced) (1 child)
Harry Bannister (21 October 1926 - 7 May 1932) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Waist-length blonde hair

Trivia (11)

Her daughter Jane was born in 1928 and died in December 2005. She had another daughter, Grace Kaye Janssen, with her second husband.
Was the first major female star to join the Screen Actors Guild and later held the rank of 2nd Vice-President.
Her vehicle The Life of Vergie Winters (1934), portraying an unwed woman who carries on an illicit love affair with a married man and bears his child, was banned in Chicago and placed on the Catholic Church's films to be boycotted.
Was estranged from her only child Jane for several years before her death in 1981.
Unlike most film stars at that time, Ann dressed down off-camera and had little concern for her outwardly appearance. She often attended premieres without makeup or fancy hair-dos. Gossip maven Adela Rogers St. Johns claimed that Ann was "...the worst dressed woman I ever saw in my life!".
Met actor Harry Bannister while she at Detroit's Garrick Theatre in 1926 as its lead actress, producer, casting director and business manager. She hired him as a last-minute replacement leading man and they married later that year (daughter Jane was born in 1928). Their divorce in 1932 led to a year-and-a-half-long custody battle.
Was once a Dictaphone operator for the welfare division of Metropolitan Life.
Attended high school in East Orange High in New Jersey.
Her father was Brig. Gen. George Grant Gatley, commander of the U.S. Rainbow Division in France during World War I. Mother Bessie Crabbe Gatley's father was also a military man. She had an older sister named Edith.
[May 4, 1933] Was saved, along with traveling companions Alexander Kirkland and Marie Lombard, from shark infested waters off the coast of Havana, Cuba, when their sailboat overturned. They were accompanied by a sailor, Magin Alvarez Prieda, who did not survive the incident.
She joined the NAACP in 1934, having been disgusted by what she considered racism in her 1932 movie Prestige. In 1935, she attended a benefit in support of the group's Anti-Lynching bill.

Personal Quotes (1)

I believe that the actress who wears her profession on her sleeve, as it were, outside of her work, is, as a rule, merely dramatizing herself. When she acts off-stage as well as on, she is wasting her talent. It is like using nectar to quench a casual thirst.

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