Dorothy Hart in 1951
April 4, 1922|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||July 11, 2004
Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.
|Resting place||Lewis Memorial Park, Asheville, North Carolina|
|Spouse(s)||Frederick Pittera (1954-2004) (her death)|
Dorothy Hart (April 4, 1922 – July 11, 2004) was an American screen actress, known mostly for her supporting roles. She is best remembered as Howard Duff's fiancée in the 1948 film The Naked City.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she became a model in her late teens, and was signed by Columbia in 1946. Her contract stipulated "A-movies only". Although considered one of the top supporting actresses of her day, she was frequently cast in B movies. Dorothy was attractive, standing 5 ft 6 in, with green eyes and auburn hair.
She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a B.A. degree. She was also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. After gaining some experience at the Cleveland Play House she resolved on a singing career. Miss Hart had saved enough money to go to New York when she learned that she was high on the list of Cover Girl finalists. A newspaper friend had submitted her photo in the Columbia Pictures contest. The studio paid for her trip.
After winning the 1944 National Cinderella Cover Girl Contest, her first big movie break came, starring alongside Randolph Scott, in the 1947 Western Gunfighters. It was a technicolor film for Columbia Pictures directed by George Waggner.
While filming in October, 1946 Hart was sent home from location with an illness which was diagnosed as influenza. In February, 1947 she was injured during horseback sequences in Arizona. Minor corrective surgery was performed at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, California. The Painted Desert. was one of the main sites utilized for this movie. Barbara Britton played the female lead in the adventure drama with Hart heading up the supporting cast.
Columnist Hedda Hopper reported in a June 1947 column that Mary Pickford was suing Dorothy Hart for a sum of $79,000 because the young actress refused to accept a role in the film There Goes Lona Henry. Pickford stated in an interview that she hoped to take an unknown girl and make her into a great star. Hart refused the role because she did not want to sign away seven years of her career for a single movie opportunity.
In 1948, Hart made Larceny with Shelley Winters and The Countess of Monte Cristo with Sonja Henie, both for Universal Pictures. The Naked City, starring Barry Fitzgerald, premiered on March 10, 1948. Hart became the tenth actress to portray Jane when she appeared opposite Lex Barker as Tarzan in Tarzan's Savage Fury. She also co-starred in Outside the Wall (1950) and I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951).
Marriage and death
She was married to Frederick Pittera in 1954. He was a former military pilot instructor on bomber aircraft and test pilot. In 1958, Pittera was awarded the U.S. Air Force Certificate of Appreciation, the highest award bestowed on a civilian for his efforts on behalf of U.S. Air Force reserve between 1950 and 1955. He is an international producer of trade and public affairs from New York.
Hart was survived by her and Frederick's son, Douglas Hart Pittera, a financial officer for the Union Bank of Switzerland. Douglas and wife Cheryll have three children, Nicole, Richard and David. They live in Fairfield, Connecticut.
- Gunfighters (1947)
- Larceny (1948)
- The Countess of Monte Cristo (1948)
- The Naked City (1948)
- Take One False Step (1949)
- "The Story Of Molly X" (1949)
- Undertow (1949)
- Outside the Wall (1950)
- I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951)
- Raton Pass (1951)
- Tarzan's Savage Fury (1952)
- Loan Shark (1952)
- Los Angeles Times, 'Naked City Opens Today', March 10, 1948, Page 18.
- Los Angeles Times, 'Camera Catches Pulse of Naked City', March 11, 1948, Page 23.
- Los Angeles Times, 'Influenza Attack Fells Dorothy Hart', October 23, 1946, Page A12.
- Los Angeles Times, 'Injured Film Actress Will Go Under Knife', February 22, 1947, Page 8.
- Los Angeles Times, 'Desert Saga Scheduled', June 20, 1947, Page A3.
- Los Angeles Times, 'Hedda Hopper Looking At Hollywood', June 2, 1947, Page A3.
- Los Angeles Times, 'Beautiful Starlet Would Save The World', November 7, 1948, Page D1.
- Los Angeles Times, 'Movieland Briefs', April 16, 1948, Page 22.
- McLellan, Dennis (July 17, 2004). "Dorothy Hart, 82; actress began career as cover girl - The Boston Globe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 March 2013.