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Ann Rutherford
Born November 2, 1917
Died June 11, 2012

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, Ann 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. Ann 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, and Donna Elena in Adventures of Don Juan 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.

Ann Rutherford died at her Beverly Hills home on June 11, 2012 with her close friend Anne Jeffreys by her side. She was 94 years old.


1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year
The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind
 1988, Herself
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage
 1983, Herself (archive footage)
Won Ton Ton: the Dog Who Saved Hollywood
 1976, Grayson's Studio Secretary
They Only Kill Their Masters
 1972, Gloria
Operation Haylift
 1950, Clara Masters
Adventures of Don Juan
 1948, Donna Elena
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
 1947, Gertrude Griswold
Inside Job
 1946, Claire Norton
Murder in the Music Hall
 1946, Gracie
The Madonna's Secret
 1946, Linda 'Morgan' North
Bedside Manner
 1945, Lola Cross
Two O'Clock Courage
 1945, Patty Mitchell
Take It or Leave It
 1944, Herself
Bermuda Mystery
 1944, Constance Martin
Whistling in Brooklyn
 1943, Carol Lambert
Happy Land
 1943, Lenore Prentiss
Show-Business at War
 1943, Herself
Whistling in Dixie
 1942, Carol Lambert
Andy Hardy's Double Life
 1942, Polly Benedict
Orchestra Wives
 1942, Connie Ward Abbot
The Courtship of Andy Hardy
 1942, Polly Benedict
This Time for Keeps
 1942, Katherine 'Kit' White
Badlands Of Dakota
 1941, Anne Grayson
Life Begins for Andy Hardy
 1941, Polly Benedict
Whistling in the Dark
 1941, Carol Lambert
Washington Melodrama
 1941, Laurie Claymore
Andy Hardy's Private Secretary
 1941, Polly Benedict
Keeping Company
 1940, Mary Thomas
 1940, Lucy Kincaid
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards
 1940, Herself
Pride and Prejudice
 1940, Lydia Bennet
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante
 1940, Polly Benedict
Hollywood: Style Center of the World
 1940, Herself
The Ghost Comes Home
 1940, Billie Adams
Andy Hardy's Dilemma: A Lesson in Mathematics... and Other Things
 1940, Polly Benedict (uncredited)
Judge Hardy and Son
 1939, Polly Benedict
Gone with the Wind
 1939, Carreen O'Hara
Dancing Co-Ed
 1939, Eve Greeley
These Glamour Girls
 1939, Mary Rose Wilston
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
 1939, Polly Benedict
Angel of Mercy
 1939, Sister of Dead Soldier
The Hardys Ride High
 1939, Polly Benedict
Four Girls in White
 1939, Patricia 'Pat' Page
A Christmas Carol
 1938, Spirit of Christmas Past
Dramatic School
 1938, Yvonne
Out West with the Hardys
 1938, Polly Benedict
Love Finds Andy Hardy
 1938, Polly Benedict
Judge Hardy's Children
 1938, Polly Benedict
Of Human Hearts
 1938, Annie Hawks
You're Only Young Once
 1937, Polly Benedict
The Bride Wore Red
 1937, Third Peasant Girl
The Devil Is Driving
 1937, Kitty Wooster
Public Cowboy No. 1
 1937, Helen Morgan
Carnival in Paris
 1937, Lisette
 1937, Train Passenger
Annie Laurie
 1936, Annie Laurie
Down to the Sea
 1936, Helen Pappas
The Lonely Trail
 1936, Virginia Terry
The Harvester
 1936, Ruth Jameson
Comin' 'Round the Mountain
 1936, Dolores Moreno
Doughnuts and Society
 1936, Joan Dugan
The Lawless Nineties
 1936, Janet Carter
The Oregon Trail
 1936, Anne Ridgeley
The Singing Vagabond
 1935, Lettie Morgan
The Fighting Marines
 1935, Frances Schiller
Melody Trail
 1935, Millicent Thomas
Waterfront Lady
 1935, Joan O'Brien
Student Tour
 1934, Student



The Bob Newhart Show
Perry Mason
General Electric Theater
The Donna Reed Show
Robert Montgomery Presents
Love, American Style
 1969, Mrs. Glassmire


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