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Ann Harding

ann harding, ann harding actress
Ann Harding August 7, 1902 – September 1, 1981 was an American theatre, motion picture, radio, and television actress


  • 1 Early years
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Death
  • 5 Broadway stage credits
  • 6 Filmography
    • 61 Films
    • 62 Television
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early yearsedit

Harding was born Dorothy Walton Gatley at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas to George G Gatley, a career army officer, and Elizabeth "Bessie" Crabb After travelling often during her early life, she grew up in East Orange, New Jersey, graduated from East Orange High School,1 and attended Bryn Mawr College


After graduation, Harding found employment as a script reader She began acting and made her Broadway debut in Like a King in 19212 Three years later she found her "home theater" in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, after being directed by Hedgerow Theatre founder Jasper Deeter3 in The Master Builder Over the years she returned to Hedgerow to reprise several of her roles She soon became a leading lady, who kept in shape by using the services of Sylvia of Hollywood4 She was a prominent actress in Pittsburgh theatre for a time, performing with the Sharp Company and later starting the Nixon Players with Harry Bannister5 In 1929, she made her film debut in Paris Bound, opposite Fredric March Harding was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Holiday in 1931 That same year she purchased the Hedgerow Theatre building from Deeter for $5,000 and donated it to the company

Leslie Howard and Ann Harding in The Animal Kingdom, 1932

First under contract to Pathé, which was subsequently absorbed by RKO studio, Harding was promoted as the studio's 'answer' to MGM's superstar Norma Shearer She co-starred with Ronald Colman, Laurence Olivier, Myrna Loy, Herbert Marshall, Leslie Howard, Richard Dix, and Gary Cooper, and was often on loan to other studios, such as MGM and Paramount At RKO, Harding, along with Helen Twelvetrees and Constance Bennett, comprised a trio who specialized in the "women's pictures" genre

Harding's performances were often heralded by the critics, who cited her diction and stage experience as assets to the then-new medium of "talking pictures" Harding's second film was Her Private Affair, in which she portrayed a wife of questionable morality The film was an enormous commercial success During this period, she was generally considered to be one of cinema's most beautiful women, with her waist-length blonde hair being one of her most noted physical attributes Films during her peak include The Animal Kingdom, Peter Ibbetson, When Ladies Meet, The Flame Within, and Biography of a Bachelor Girl Harding, however, eventually became stereotyped as the innocent, self-sacrificing young woman Following lukewarm responses by both critics and the public to several of her later 1930s films, she eventually stopped making movies when she married the conductor Werner Janssen in 1937 She returned to the big screen in 1942 to make Eyes in the Night and to take secondary roles in other films In 1956, she again starred with Fredric March, this time in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

The 1960s marked Harding's return to Broadway after an absence of decades — having last appeared in 1927 In 1962, she starred in General Seeger, directed by and co-starring George C Scott, and in 1964 she appeared in Abraham Cochrane Both productions had brief runs, with the former play lasting a mere three performances including previews Harding made her final acting performance in 1965 in an episode of television's Ben Casey before retiring

Personal lifeedit

Harding married actor Harry Bannister3 in 1926 They had one child together before divorcing in 1932 Their daughter Jane was born in 1928 and died in December 2005 In 1937, Harding married Werner Janssen, the famous conductor Harding and Janssen enjoyed life in a number of cities, before settling down in California to work more closely with Hollywood The couple divorced in 1962 Her death certificate states that she had an adopted daughter, Grace Kaye Harding


On September 1, 1981, Harding died at the age of 79 in Sherman Oaks, California After cremation, her urn was placed in the Court of Remembrance wall at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, California

For her contributions to the motion picture and television industries, Harding has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6201 motion picture and 6840 Hollywood Boulevard television

Broadway stage creditsedit

Date Production Role
October 3, 1921 – Oct 1921 Like a King Phyllis Weston
October 1, 1923 – May 1924 Tarnish Letitia Tevis
September 8, 1924 – September 1924 Thoroughbreds Sue
October 7, 1925 – December 1925 Stolen Fruit Marie Millais
March 23, 1926 – April 1926 Schweiger Anna Schweiger
September 28, 1926 – March 1927 The Woman Disputed Marie-Ange
September 19, 1927 – October 1927 The Trial of Mary Dugan Mary Dugan
February 28, 1962 – March 1, 1962 General Seeger Rena Seeger
February 17, 1964 – February 17, 1964 Abraham Cochrane Myra Holliday



Year Film Role Notes
1929 Paris Bound Mary Hutton
Her Private Affair Vera Kessler Co-starred Harry Bannister
Condemned Madame Vidal US reissue title: Condemned to Devil's Island, Co-starred Ronald Colman
1930 Holiday Linda Seton Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
The Girl of the Golden West Minnie
1931 East Lynne Lady Isabella The film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar
Devotion Shirley Mortimer
1932 Prestige Therese Du Flos Verlaine
Westward Passage Olivia Van Tyne Allen Ottendorf Co-starred Laurence Olivier
The Conquerors Caroline Ogden Standish US reissue title: Pioneer Builders
The Animal Kingdom Daisy Sage UK Title: The Woman in His House, Co-starred Leslie Howard
1933 When Ladies Meet Claire Woodruff Co-starred Myrna Loy
Double Harness Joan Colby Co-starred William Powell
The Right to Romance Dr Margaret "Peggy" Simmons Co-starred Robert Young
1934 Gallant Lady Sally Wyndham
The Life of Vergie Winters Vergie Winters aka Virginia Wood
The Fountain Julie von Marwitz
The Hollywood Gad About Herself Short subject
1935 Biography of a Bachelor Girl Marion Forsythe
Enchanted April Mrs Lotty Wilkins
The Flame Within Doctor Mary White
Peter Ibbetson Mary, Duchess of Towers Co-starred Gary Cooper
1936 The Lady Consents Anne Talbot
The Witness Chair Paula Young
1937 Love from a Stranger Carol Howard US title: A Night of Terror, Co-starred Basil Rathbone
1942 Eyes in the Night Norma Lawry Starred Edward Arnold
1943 Mission to Moscow Mrs Marjorie Davies
The North Star Sophia Pavlova US recut version: Armored Attack
1944 Nine Girls Gracie Thornton
Janie Lucille Conway
1945 Those Endearing Young Charms Mrs Brandt Captain
1946 Janie Gets Married Lucille Conway
1947 It Happened on 5th Avenue Mary O'Connor
Christmas Eve Aunt Matilda Reed US reissue title: Sinner's Holiday
1950 The Magnificent Yankee Fanny Bowditch Holmes Co-starred Louis Calhern
Two Weeks with Love Katherine Robinson
1951 The Unknown Man Stella Mason US title: The Bradley Mason Story
1956 The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Helen Hopkins Starred Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones
I've Lived Before Mrs Jane Stone
Strange Intruder Mary Carmichael


Year Title Role Notes
1955 Crossroads Hulda Lund 1 episode
Studio 57 Martha Halstead 1 episode
1956 Front Row Center Grammie 1 episode
1959 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Naomi 1 episode, "Ruth and Naomi"
1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Sarah Hale Episode 07x12: ″A Jury of Her Peers″
1963 The Defenders Helen Bernard 1 episode
Burke's Law Annabelle Rogers 1 episode
1964 Dr Kildare Mae Priest 1 episode
1965 Ben Casey Edith Sommers 1 episode


  • Ann Harding – Cinema's Gallant Lady Biography By Scott O'Brien
  1. ^ Percy, Eileen "Durante Will Be Made an M G M Star; 'Schnozzle; Has Ste Record for Saving Pictures", The Milwaukee Sentinel, October 26, 1932 "Ann Harding began hers 15 years ago in a dramatic class at East Orange High school"
  2. ^ "Like a King cast" Playbill Vault Retrieved 13 July 2016 
  3. ^ a b "They Done Her Wrong" Oakland Tribune California,Oakland February 10, 1935 p 55 Retrieved July 12, 2016 – via Newspaperscom 
  4. ^ Hollywood Undressed: Observations of Sylvia As Noted by Her Secretary 1931 Brentano’s
  5. ^ Conner, Lynne 2007 Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater University of Pittsburgh Press pp 105–106 ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3 Retrieved 2011-06-06

External linksedit

  • Biography portal
  • Ann Harding at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Ann Harding on Internet Movie Database
  • Photographs of Ann Harding
  • General Seeger Google Book Search BETA preview of play online
  • Ann Harding at Find a Grave

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