Ann Harding in 1930
|Born||Dorothy Walton Gatley
August 7, 1902
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Died||September 1, 1981
Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)|
|Spouse(s)||Harry Bannister (1926–1932) 1 child
Werner Janssen (1937–1962) 1 child
|Children||Jane Bannister (1928-2005)
Grace Kaye Janssen
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, and attended Bryn Mawr College.
Because her father "violently opposed her profession", Harding changed her name.
After graduation, Harding found employment as a script reader. She began acting and made her Broadway debut in Like a King in 1921. Three years later she found her "home theater" in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, after being directed by Hedgerow Theatre founder Jasper Deeter 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 Hollywood. She was a prominent actress in Pittsburgh theatre for a time, performing with the Sharp Company and later starting the Nixon Players with Harry Bannister. In 1929, she made her film debut in Paris Bound, opposite Fredric March. In 1931, she purchased the Hedgerow Theatre building from Deeter for $5,000 and donated it to the company.
First under contract to Pathé, which was subsequently absorbed by RKO Pictures, Harding was promoted as the studio's 'answer' to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer'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 actresses, 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 after 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 ("her last New York stage appearance"). 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.
Harding married actor Harry Bannister They had one child together before divorcing in 1932. The divorce resulted in what her obituary in The New York Times described as "a bitter court fight ... over custody of their daughter." 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.
She was survived by a daughter and four grandchildren.
Harding was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Holiday in 1931. For her contributions to the motion picture and television industries, Harding has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — one in the Motion Pictures section 6201 Hollywood Boulevard and one in the Television section at 6850 Hollywood Boulevard.
Broadway stage credits
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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)
- 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."
- Aaker, Everett (2013). George Raft: The Films. McFarland. p. 127. ISBN 9780786466467. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- "Like a King cast". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "They Done Her Wrong". Oakland Tribune. California,Oakland. February 10, 1935. p. 55. Retrieved July 12, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Hollywood Undressed: Observations of Sylvia As Noted by Her Secretary (1931) Brentano’s.
- 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.
- Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 308–309. ISBN 9781557835512. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- Carman, Emily (2015). Independent Stardom: Freelance Women in the Hollywood Studio System. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9781477307335. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- Lawson, Carol (September 4, 1981). "Ann Harding, Actress Hailed for Roles as Elegant Women". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 23 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- "("Ann Harding" search results)". Academy Awards Database. Retrieved 23 September 2017.[permanent dead link]
- "Ann Harding". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 23 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
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