Ann Doran

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Ann Doran
Stooge057 anndoran.jpg
Born Ann Lee Doran
(1911-07-28)July 28, 1911
Amarillo, Texas, U.S.
Died September 19, 2000(2000-09-19) (aged 89)
Carmichael, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1922–88

Ann Lee Doran (July 28, 1911 – September 19, 2000) was an American character actress.[1]

Early years[edit]

Doran was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Doran;[2] her mother was an actress whose professional name was given as Rose Allen in two sources[3][4] and Carrie Barnett in another source.[5] She was born in Amarillo, Texas,[5] and attended high school in San Bernardino, California.[4]

Film career[edit]

Doran began acting at the age of four. (A 1979 newspaper article said that Doran's debut came when she was 11 years old.)[4]

She appeared in hundreds of silent films under assumed names to keep her father's family from finding out about her work. Rarely in a featured role (with the exception of James Dean's dominating mother in Rebel Without a Cause (1955)), Doran appeared in more than five hundred motion pictures and one thousand episodes of television shows, such as the American Civil War drama Gray Ghost.

Doran worked as a stand-in, then bit player, then incidental supporting player. By 1938 she was under contract to Columbia Pictures, where the company policy was to use the members of its stock company as often as possible. Thus, Doran appears in Columbia's serials (such as The Spider's Web and Flying G-Men), short subjects (including those of The Three Stooges, Charley Chase, Andy Clyde, Harry Langdon, and Vera Vague), B features (including the Blondie, Five Little Peppers, and Ellery Queen series), and major feature films. She became a favorite of Columbia director Frank Capra and appears in many of his productions. Most of these appearances were supporting roles, although she did play leads in Columbia's Charley Chase comedies of 1938-40 and in one Charles Starrett western feature, the Sam Nelson-directed Rio Grande (1938).[6]

Columbia filmed two boy-and-his-dog stories with juvenile star Ted Donaldson in 1945-46. When the Donaldson films became a full-fledged series (featuring the dog "Rusty") in 1947, Doran was cast as Donaldson's mother in the next six films. Her steady, sensible maternal roles led to her being cast as James Dean's mother in Rebel Without a Cause.


Doran played Charlotte McHenry, the housekeeper in Shirley,[7]:962 Agnes Haskell, Eddie Haskell's mother, in Leave It to Beaver[7] and Mrs. Kingston, the housekeeper, in Longstreet.[7]:621-622

Doran guest starred on many television programs, including three appearances in the role of Bonnie Landis in the CBS legal drama, The Public Defender, starring with fellow Texan Reed Hadley. She appeared in the religion anthology series Crossroads in the 1956 episode "The White Carnation", along with Elinor Donahue, James Best, and J. Carrol Naish. In 1952 she appeared in an episode of The Lone Ranger entitled "Hidden Fortune".

Doran was cast in the CBS children's western My Friend Flicka, the story of a boy and his horse on a Wyoming ranch. She also appeared in episodes of Ray Milland's CBS sitcom Meet Mr. McNutley and Kenneth Tobey's syndicated aviation adventure series, Whirlybirds. Doran guest-starred on CBS's Perry Mason in "The Case of the Prodigal Parent" (1958), "The Case of the Lurid Letter" (1962), and "The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito" (1963).

Doran was cast twice in 1959-1960 in episodes of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston.

In 1960, she was cast as Martha Brown, the mother of horse rider Velvet Brown (Lori Martin) in the NBC family drama National Velvet.[7]:746 She made one appearance on ABC's McHale's Navy as Mrs. Martha "Pumpkin" Binghampton, wife of Captain Binghampton (Joe Flynn).

Doran in her later years.

Three years later, she appeared in the first episode of the ABC western series The Legend of Jesse James as Zerelda James Samuel, the mother of Jesse and Frank James.[7]

She also appeared in the program M*A*S*H as "Nurse Meg Cratty," who runs an orphanage in Korea. In the Season Four episode "The Kids," Nurse Cratty and her charges bunked with the M*A*S*H unit to avoid snipers.

Other professional activities[edit]

Doran was an early member of the Screen Actors Guild and served on the board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund for 30 years.[8]

Later years[edit]

Doran continued to work in movies and television until shortly before her death.[citation needed]


Doran died at the age of 89 on September 19, 2000,[5] in Carmichael, California. Following her death her remains were cremated. She bequeathed $400,000 to the Motion Picture Country House, the retirement home for the movie industry.[citation needed]


July 28, 2016 was designated as Ann Doran Day in Amarillo, Texas.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1922 Robin Hood Page to Richard Uncredited
1934 Servants' Entrance Marie, the Maid Uncredited
1936 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Girl on Bus Uncredited
Palm Springs Schoolgirl Uncredited
1937 Paid to Dance Rose Trevor Alternative title: Hard to Hold
1938 Penitentiary Blanche Williams
You Can't Take It With You Maggie O'Neill
Rio Grande Jean Andrews Lead role
1939 Blind Alley Agnes
The Man They Could Not Hang Betty Crawford
Three Sappy People Party guest
1940 His Girl Friday Newspaper Office Worker Uncredited
1941 Sun Valley Serenade Waitress Uncredited
1941 Meet John Doe Bert Hansen's wife Uncredited
1941 Penny Serenade Dotty "Dot"
1942 They All Kissed the Bride Helene - the Drew's Maid Uncredited
1943 So Proudly We Hail! Lt. Betty Peterson
Air Force Mrs. Mary Quincannon Uncredited
1944 Mr. Skeffington Maria, a nursemaid Uncredited
1945 Pride of the Marines Ella Mae Merchant Alternative title: Forever in Love
1946 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Bobbi St. John
1947 My Favorite Brunette Miss Rogers
1948 Pitfall Maggie
1949 The Kid from Cleveland Emily Barrows Novak
1950 Never a Dull Moment Jean Morrow
1951 The People Against O'Hara Betty Clark, Policewoman
1952 The Rose Bowl Story Mrs. Addie Burke
1952 Love Is Better Than Ever Mrs. Levoy
1952 Rodeo Mrs. Martha Durston
1953 Island in the Sky Moon's wife Uncredited
1954 Them! Child Psychiatrist Uncredited
1954 The High and the Mighty Mrs. Joseph
1955 Rebel Without a Cause Carol Stark
1955 The Desperate Hours Mrs. Walling Uncredited
1957 Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend Sarah Devlin
1958 The Deep Six Elsie - Mike's Wife Uncredited
1958 It! The Terror from Beyond Space Mary Royce
1959 Warlock Mrs. Richardson Uncredited
1959 Riot in Juvenile Prison Bess Monahan
1959 Cast a Long Shadow Charlotte Calvert
1959 The FBI Story Mrs. Ballard Uncredited
1959 A Summer Place Mrs. Talbert Uncredited
1963 Captain Newman, M.D. Mrs. Pyser Uncredited
1964 The Carpetbaggers Reporter Uncredited
1964 The Brass Bottle Martha Kenton
1964 Where Love Has Gone Mrs. Geraghty
1964 Kitten with a Whip Mavis Varden
1965 Mirage Tenant in Apartment 3R Uncredited
1966 Not with My Wife, You Don't! Doris Parker
1967 The Hostage Miss Mabry
1967 Rosie! Old Lady
1968 Live a Little, Love a Little Landlady Uncredited
1969 Once You Kiss a Stranger Lee's Mother
1969 The Arrangement Nurse Costello Uncredited
1969 Topaz Mrs. Forsyth Uncredited
1970 There Was a Crooked Man... Mrs. Lomax
1971 The Hired Hand Mrs. Sorenson
1976 The Gumball Rally Mrs. Ontley
1976 Flood! Emma Fisher
1981 All Night Long Grandmother Gibbons
1981 First Monday in October Storekeeper
1986 Wildcats Mrs. Chatham Alternative title: First and Goal
Year Title Role Notes
1952 Adventures of Superman Mrs. King 1 episode
1953 The Danny Thomas Show Teacher 1 episode
1954 Ramar of the Jungle Irene Loring 1 episode
1955 Brave Eagle Whispering Grass 1 episode
1956 Father Knows Best Dorothy Tyler 1 episode
1957 December Bride Miss Moore 1 episode
1958 M Squad Mrs. Rainey 1 episode
Perry Mason Mrs. Claire Durrell in "The Case of the Prodigal Parent" 1 episode
Official Detective Charlotte Episode: "The Cover-Up"
1959 Frontier Doctor Ma "Dallas" Bell 1 episode
Bourbon Street Beat Mary Dumont 1 episode, "The Tiger Moth"
1960 Wagon Train Aunt Lizzie 1 episode
1963–1970 The Virginian Various 5 episodes
1965 McHale's Navy Mrs. Binghamton 1 episode
1966–1967 Hey, Landlord Marcy Banner 2 episodes
1968 The Guns of Will Sonnett Margaret Stover 1 episode
1970 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Mrs. Grimbi 1 episode
1970 Ironside Dora Copeland 1 episode
1971–1972 Longstreet Mrs. Kingston 23 episodes
1972 The Odd Couple Loretta Spoon 1 episode
1973 Emergency! Mrs. Perigrew and Hannah 2 episodes
1973 Barnaby Jones Nurse Nora Randall 1 episode
1974 The Rookies Mrs. Coleman 1 episode
1974 Little House on the Prairie Mrs. Tyler 1 episode
1975 M*A*S*H Nurse Meg Cratty 1 episode
1978 Fantasy Island Emma Howard 1 episode
1979 Eight Is Enough Ms. Ryder 1 episode
1980 Shriley Charlotte McHenry 13 episodes
1982 Father Murphy Abby 1 episode
1983 Tales of the Unexpected Mary Deacon 1 episode
1984 Knots Landing Mercy 1 episode
1985 Highway to Heaven Mrs. Bradley 2 episodes
1986 The A-Team Nora 1 episode
1986 Trapper John, M.D. Mrs. McAndrew 1 episode
1987 The Twilight Zone Mrs. Clark 1 episode
1988 Hunter Mrs. Rawling 1 episode


  1. ^ "Ann Doran, 89, Character Actress". The New York Times. October 3, 2000. 
  2. ^ "Ann Doran, Mother Are Greeted by Old Friends". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. March 28, 1948. p. 35. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Todd, John (January 10, 1945). "Hollywood". The Tipton Daily Tribune. Indiana, Tipton. International News Service. p. 2. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ a b c "Ann Doran: Never A Star But Back This Fall". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Indiana, Logansport. United Press International. August 1, 1979. p. 11. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ a b c "Ann Doran, 89; character actress". Santa Cruz Sentinel. California, Santa Cruz. The New York Times. October 3, 2000. p. 6. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Film 0786420286 Boyd Magers, Michael G. Fitzgerald - 2004 "Asked about Rio Grande (1938), her starring lead opposite Charles Starrett, Ann matter-of-factly states, "It was just another job. Nothing unpleasant happened on it — but then nothing pleasant did, either. Charles Starrett was very tall and good looking, we got along just fine."
  7. ^ a b c d e Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 591.
  8. ^ Scott, Vernon (July 25, 1979). "Never a star, but plenty of work". The Ottawa Journal. Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. United Press International. p. 33. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read

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