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Ann Rutherford Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 2 November 1917Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Date of Death 11 June 2012Beverly Hills, California, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameTherese Ann Rutherford
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ann Rutherford was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The daughter of a former Metropolitan Opera singer, John Rutherford, and her actress mother, Lillian Mansfield, was destined for show business. Not long after her birth, her family moved to California, where she made her stage debut in 1925. Ann appeared in many plays and on radio for the next nine years before making her first screen appearance in Waterfront Lady (1935). Ann's talent was readily apparent, and she was signed to three films in 1935: Waterfront Lady (1935), Melody Trail (1935), and The Fighting Marines (1935). By now, she was a leading lady in the fabled Westerns with two legends, John Wayne and Gene Autry. By the time Ann was 17, she inked a deal with MGM, where she would gain the status of superstar for her portrayal of "Polly Benedict" in the popular "Andy Hardy" series with Mickey Rooney. Ann's first role as "Polly" was in 1938, in You're Only Young Once (1937). Three more Hardy films were produced that same year: Out West with the Hardys (1938), Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), and Judge Hardy's Children (1938). Ann found time to play in other productions, too. One that is still loved today is the Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol (1938), in which she played the sweet role of the Spirit of Christmas Past. In 1939, Ann played the role of "Annie Hawks" in Of Human Hearts (1938) in addition to three more Andy Hardy films. But that year also saw Ann land a role in the most popular film in film history. She played "Careen O'Hara," Scarlett's little sister, in Gone with the Wind (1939). Plenty of fans of the Andy Hardy series went to see it just for Ann. The film was unquestionably a super hit. She then resumed making other movies. While working for MGM, Ann, along with the other stars, was under the watchful eye of movie mogul Louis B. Mayer. Mayer was no different from any other film tycoon except for the fact that he ran the classiest studio in Hollywood. The bottom line was profit, and Mayer couldn't really maximize profits unless he kept performers' salaries minimized as much as possible. Most tried to get raises and failed. Even Mickey Rooney was decidedly underpaid during his glory years at MGM. But not Ann Rutherford. When she asked for a raise, she took out her bankbook and, showing him the amount it contained, told Mayer she had promised her mother a new house. Ann got her raise. In 1942 at the age of 22, Ann appeared in her last Andy Hardy film, Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942). She then left MGM and freelanced her talent. Ann was still in demand. In 1943, she appeared in Happy Land (1943), but it was a little later in her career when she appeared in two big hits. In 1947, she played Gertrude Griswold in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and Donna Elena in Adventures of Don Juan (1948) in 1948. After that, Ann appeared in several TV programs and didn't return to the silver screen until 1972, in They Only Kill Their Masters (1972). Her last role came in 1976 in the dismal Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976), whereupon she retired. Ann was approached to play the older Rose in 1998's mega hit Titanic (1997) but turned it down. She happily enjoyed her retirement being constantly deluged with fan mail and granting several interviews and appearances. She died at her Beverly Hills home on June 11, 2012 with her close friend Anne Jeffreys by her side. She was 94 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson and K.P. Manning

Spouse (2)

William Dozier (6 October 1953 - 23 April 1991) (his death)
David May (24 December 1942 - 6 June 1953) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (17)

Came from an acting family. Her father, John Defferin Rutherford, was a Metropolitan Opera singer and her mother, Lucille Mansfield, was a cousin of actor Richard Mansfield and herself a former silent screen actress.
On stage from age 4 in a local production of "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch".
Stepmother of Debbie Dozier and Robert Dozier. Mother of Gloria May.
She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 6331 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Naturalized United States citizen since December 18, 1953.
Younger sister of actress Judith Arlen.
Close friends with Anne Jeffreys.
Ann appeared at the Williamsburg Film Festival in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia in 2003 and 2011.
She was a pivotal character in the mystery novel, "Dead at the Box Office" by John Dandola, which is set during the world premiere of Edison, the Man (1940).
Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences [Actors Branch].
Although Waterfront Lady (1935) is usually listed as Ann Rutherford's first film, her first film was actually Student Tour (1934), where she played one of the young female students, and acted under the name "Joan Arlen". Ann's sister was an aspiring actress and performed under the name Judith Arlen. When a phone call came to the house for "Miss Arlen" to audition for this Jimmy Durante film, Ann said she was "Miss Arlen" and went to the audition instead of her sister. Ann recalled that when she and the other attractive actresses would pose for stills with Durante, she would position herself to play with a wisp of his hair. Durante played along, and you would see his gaze fixed on Joan Arlen soon to be known as Ann Rutherford.
Since her mother was born in Kentucky, she always thought she was a United States citizen. It was not until the 1950s when she made plans to visit Europe that she discovered she was not. She later officially got her citizenship papers in order and became one.
Her first big break came after being contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was given the recurring role of girlfriend Polly Benedict in the "Andy Hardy" film series starring Mickey Rooney from 1937 to 1942.
Hollywood, California: Attended the TCM Classic Film Festival, where she walked the red carpet and attended the 50th anniversary premiere of An American in Paris (1951). [April 2011]
Guest of Honor at the Margaret Mitchell Birthday Celebration in Jonesboro, Georgia in celebration of Gone with the Wind (1939). Signed autographs and shared memories for 100 fans at the event. [October 2004]
Williamsburg, Virginia: Attended the annual Film Festival where she spoke at length about her career and about Gone with the Wind (1939). [March 2011]
Following her death, she was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Personal Quotes (3)

It's titillating to do an occasional film, but really, I don't need it. Oh, I suppose, if you were a Helen Hayes, it might mean something if you left the business. You'd be depriving the show world of something. I'm depriving that world of nothing.
There was a quality about Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that was so special... it was just the most exciting studio in the world. They looked after their people so perfectly. And then to go to a place [Lippert Pictures - a B-movie company] where you don't know anybody and they don't know you and they don't give a rip, it was not a happy time. I got so ticked off, I got married!
I don't care -- I want to be in that film! I would even be a gate or part of the scenery just to be in it! -- AR to Louis B. Mayer after he told her he would not loan her out to David O. Selznick for the "nothing" role of Carreen O'Hara, Scarlett's sister, in Gone with the Wind (1939)

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