Sunday, February 03, 2008

Ann Harding

Born Dorothy Walton Gatley on August 7, 1901, as the daughter of a career army officer, Ann traveled often during her early life. The family finally settled in New York, where she attended Bryn Mawr College, and eventually made her stage debut in a small theater production in Greenwich Village. From there she went to Broadway, and then to Hollywood, where they were looking for actresses who could make the leap to "talking" pictures.

In 1929 Ann made her film debut in Paris Bound, opposite Fredric March. Within only 2 years she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Holiday (1931). Her performances were lauded by the critics, who cited her diction and stage experience, and she became one of Hollywood's highest salaried stars. During this time Ann was also considered to be one of filmdom's most beautiful women, her long waist-length blond hair a notable trademark. Her films during her peak include East Lynne (1931), The Animal Kingdom (1932), When Ladies Meet (1933), Double Harness (1933), and Biography of a Bachelor Girl (1935). All these films were made opposite the leading men of the era.

However, Ann eventually became stereotyped as the innocent young woman willing to sacrifice herself for others. Lukewarm responses by the critics and the public to several of her later 1930s films helped her make the decision to stop making films. In 1937 she married conductor Werner Janssen. Ann was lured back in 1942 to make Eyes in the Night and sporadically take on some other roles. By the end of her career she had appeared in 37 films and over 30 television productions, the last in a 1965 episode of Ben Casey. Ann died in September of 1981 at the age of 80.

Ann's popularity can be witnessed by her appearances on
the cover of the leading film magazines of the day.

Photoplay - June 1930

Photoplay - August 1931

New Movie Magazine - December 1932

Photoplay - December 1933

Early Portrait

Publicity still from East Lynne.

Publicity still from Her Private Affair.

Ann Harding - What do you think- Allure?

1 comment:

Ned Merrill said...

I love the focus of your site and graphics. The more attention paid to the pre-Code era and its great female stars, the better. I own a copy of the 1930 Photoplay with Ann on the cover.

I've added a link to your blog via my new blog, Natural's Not In It,