Image of Ann Rutherford

Ann Rutherford

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. The bottom line was profit, and Mayer 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.

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Nov 2, 1917 In Vancouver British Columbia Canada
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Student Tour 1934-10-05
Latest Project:
Movie The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind 1988-10-01
Known For
Poster of Comin' 'Round the Mountain
Poster of The Fighting Marines
Poster of Melody Trail
Movie The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind Herself 1988-10-01
Movie Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage Herself (archive footage) 1983-02-25
Movie Won Ton Ton: the Dog Who Saved Hollywood Grayson's Studio Secretary 1976-07-26
Series The Bob Newhart Show Unknown 1972-09-16
Movie They Only Kill Their Masters Gloria 1972-11-22
Series Perry Mason Unknown 1957-09-21
Series General Electric Theater Unknown 1953-02-01
Series Robert Montgomery Presents Unknown 1950-01-30
Movie Operation Haylift Clara Masters 1950-05-05
Series Suspense Unknown 1949-01-06
Movie Adventures of Don Juan Donna Elena 1948-12-01
Movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Gertrude Griswold 1947-09-01
Movie The Madonna's Secret Linda 'Morgan' North 1946-02-16
Movie Murder in the Music Hall Gracie 1946-04-10
Movie Inside Job Claire Norton 1946-06-14
Movie Two O'Clock Courage Patty Mitchell 1945-04-13
Movie Her Favorite Patient Lola Cross 1945-06-22
Movie Bermuda Mystery Constance Martin 1944-05-01
Movie Show-Business at War Herself 1943-05-21
Movie Whistling in Brooklyn Carol Lambert 1943-12-01
Movie Happy Land Lenore Prentiss 1943-11-10
Movie The Courtship of Andy Hardy Polly Benedict 1942-03-03
Movie This Time for Keeps Katherine 'Kit' White 1942-03-01
Movie Orchestra Wives Connie Ward Abbot 1942-09-04
Movie Whistling in Dixie Carol Lambert 1942-12-31
Movie Washington Melodrama Laurie Claymore 1941-04-17
Movie Andy Hardy's Private Secretary Polly Benedict 1941-02-21
Movie Whistling in the Dark Carol Lambert 1941-08-08
Movie Life Begins for Andy Hardy Polly Benedict 1941-08-15
Movie Badlands Of Dakota Anne Grayson 1941-09-15
Movie Pride and Prejudice Lydia Bennet 1940-07-26
Movie Andy Hardy's Dilemma: A Lesson in Mathematics... and Other Things Polly Benedict (uncredited) 1940-01-01
Movie The Ghost Comes Home Billie Adams 1940-03-08
Movie Hollywood: Style Center of the World Herself 1940-05-29
Movie Cavalcade of the Academy Awards Herself 1940-07-31
Movie Keeping Company Mary Thomas 1940-12-27
Movie Wyoming Lucy Kincaid 1940-09-13
Movie Angel of Mercy Sister of Dead Soldier (uncredited) 1939-05-20
Movie Four Girls in White Patricia 'Pat' Page 1939-01-27
Movie Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever Polly Benedict 1939-07-21
Movie The Hardys Ride High Polly Benedict 1939-04-21
Movie These Glamour Girls Mary Rose Wilston 1939-08-18
Movie Judge Hardy and Son Polly Benedict 1939-12-22
Movie Gone with the Wind Carreen O'Hara 1939-12-15
Movie Dancing Co-Ed Eve Greeley 1939-09-29
Movie Judge Hardy's Children Polly Benedict 1938-03-26
Movie Of Human Hearts Annie Hawks 1938-02-11
Movie Love Finds Andy Hardy Polly Benedict 1938-07-22
Movie Out West with the Hardys Polly Benedict 1938-11-25
Movie Dramatic School Yvonne 1938-12-09
Movie A Christmas Carol Spirit of Christmas Past 1938-12-16
Movie Carnival in Paris Lisette 1937-05-29
Movie Public Cowboy No. 1 Helen Morgan 1937-06-11
Movie Espionage Train Passenger 1937-02-26
Movie You're Only Young Once Polly Benedict 1937-12-10
Movie The Devil Is Driving Kitty Wooster 1937-06-25
Movie The Bride Wore Red Third Peasant Girl 1937-10-15
Movie The Lawless Nineties Janet Carter 1936-02-15
Movie The Oregon Trail Anne Ridgeley 1936-01-18
Movie Comin' 'Round the Mountain Dolores Moreno 1936-04-13
Movie Doughnuts and Society Joan Dugan 1936-03-27
Movie The Harvester Ruth Jameson 1936-04-18
Movie Annie Laurie Annie Laurie 1936-10-31
Movie Down to the Sea Helen Pappas 1936-05-30
Movie The Lonely Trail Virginia Terry 1936-05-25
Movie Waterfront Lady Joan O'Brien 1935-10-04
Movie Melody Trail Millicent Thomas 1935-10-21
Movie The Singing Vagabond Lettie Morgan 1935-12-16
Movie The Fighting Marines Frances Schiller 1935-11-22
Movie Student Tour Student 1934-10-05
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