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Ann Rutherford


B: November 2, 1917 in Toronto, Ontario
D: June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California

Ann Rutherford began life as Mary Cecilia Ramone Theresa Ann Rutherford. Showbiz was in her genes. Her father was John Defferin Rutherford, a Metropolitan Opera singer and her mother, Lucille Mansfield, was a cousin of actor Richard Mansfield, and was herself a former silent screen actress. Although Ann was born in Canada, she grew up in California and made her stage debut at the age of six in Raggedy Ann. She went on to appear in many plays and on radio before being signed by Mascot/Republic in 1934 as a leading lady of low-budget Westerns, usually opposite Gene Autry and John Wayne. By the time Ann was seventeen, she had moved over to MGM, where she would gain the status of superstar for her portrayal of Polly Benedict in the popular Andy Hardy series that starred Mickey Rooney. Polly was Andy’s girlfriend and they would make 13 Andy Hardy films together. Another Northern Star, Cecilia Parker played Andy’s older sister. Ann is also remembered by fans of the classic, Gone With The Wind in which she played Careen O’Hara, Scarlett’s younger sister. Canadian-born director James Cameron approached Ann to play the role of the older Rose in his film, Titanic, but she decided not to accept the role. Rare episodic TV appearances filled some of her time through the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, her last being two episodes of The Bob Newhart Show in 1974 in which she played mom to Suzanne Pleshette. Some sources say she was born in Vancouver. Rutherford, who had heart problems and had been in declining health, died at her home in Beverly Hills.