Publicity photo of McGuire, 1940s
Dorothy Hackett McGuire
June 14, 1916
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Died||September 13, 2001 (aged 85)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Other names||Dorothy McGuire Swope|
(m. 1943; died 1979)
|Children||2, including Topo Swope|
Dorothy Hackett McGuire (June 14, 1916 – September 13, 2001) was an American actress. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress for Friendly Persuasion (1956).
Life and career
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, McGuire was the only child of Thomas Johnson McGuire and Isabelle Flaherty McGuire. She made her stage debut at the age of 13 at the local community playhouse in Barrie's A Kiss for Cinderella. Her co-star was Henry Fonda, who was also born in Nebraska and was making a return visit to his home town after becoming a success on Broadway.
After her father's death, McGuire attended a convent school in Indianapolis, Indiana. She later attended Pine Manor Junior College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, serving as president of that school's drama club. She graduated from Pine Manor when she was 19.
She appeared in summer stock at Deertrees, Maine, in 1937 before going to New York.
She acted on radio, playing Sue in the serial Big Sister (1937) and took part in an experimental television broadcast, The Mysterious Mummy Case (1938). She was hired by producer Jed Harris to understudy the ingenue in a Broadway play, Stop Over (1938), which ran only 23 performances.
She toured in My Dear Children opposite John Barrymore and, in 1939, was in a revue with Benny Goodman, Swingin' the Dream. She had a role in the short lived Medicine Show (1940), and a part in the longer running revival of Kind Lady (1940).
McGuire achieved Broadway fame when cast in the title role of the domestic comedy Claudia. It ran for 722 performances from 1941 to 1943. Brooks Atkinson wrote "She gives a splendid performance of a part that would be irritating if it were played by a dull actress. She is personally genuine; the charm she radiates across the play is not merely theatrical mannerism. "
Brought to Hollywood by producer David O. Selznick (who called her "a born actress") on the strength of her stage performance, McGuire starred in her first film Claudia (1943), a movie adaptation of her Broadway success, portraying a child bride who almost destroys her marriage through her selfishness. Selznick developed the project then sold it to 20th Century Fox; under this deal Selznick would share McGuire's services with Fox.
So too was The Spiral Staircase (1946) in which McGuire played the lead role, a mute. It was originally prepared by Selznick who envisioned Ingrid Bergman in the lead; Selznick sold the project to RKO along with the services for his producer Dore Schary.
McGuire and Young made a third film together, Claudia and David (1946), a sequel to Claudia, which was less well received. Schary and RKO put her in Till the End of Time, a popular hit. She later said, "I fought the hardest for this role and it was my least successful. I went right back to playing nice girls and faithful wives. "
Following this film, she and Peck and some other actors helped form the La Jolla Playhouse. She appeared in productions of The Importance of Being Earnest, I Am a Camera, The Winslow Boy and Tonight at 8:30 then went to live in Italy for a year.
McGuire was a member of the cast of Big Sister (playing Sue Evans), and Joyce Jordan, M.D.. She also appeared in This Is My Best (Miracle in the Rain), Screen Directors Playhouse (The Spiral Staircase) and in Theatre Guild on the Air (Hamlet A Doll's House, Our Town).
Decline as star
She made her TV debut in Robert Montgomery Presents, an adaptation of Dark Victory, with McGuire playing the Bette Davis role. Schary had become head of production at MGM, where McGuire appeared in Callaway Went Thataway (1951), which lost money. She did I Want You (1951) for Sam Goldwyn then returned to Broadway for Legend of Lovers (1951–52) but it only had a short run.
McGuire made Invitation (1952) at MGM, which flopped, and Make Haste to Live (1954) at Republic. She had a huge hit with Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) at Fox and appeared in episodes of The United States Steel Hour, Lux Video Theatre, The Best of Broadway (an adaptation of The Philadelphia Story, as Tracey Lord) and Climax!.
McGuire was cast as Gary Cooper's wife in Friendly Persuasion (1956), directed by William Wyler. The success of this performance saw her cast in a series of "mother" roles, continuing with Old Yeller (1957) at Disney.
McGuire returned to Broadway in Winesburg, Ohio (1958) which had a short run, then she played a wife and mother in The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1959) at Fox.
She was the matriarchs in some melodramas: This Earth Is Mine (1959) with Jean Simmons at Universal; A Summer Place (1959) for Delmer Daves with Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue at Warners, a big success; and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960).
She returned to Disney with Swiss Family Robinson (1960), one of the most popular films of the year. She made a second film with Daves and Donahue, Susan Slade (1961) playing a mother who passed off her daughter's illegitimate child as her own. She was a mother in Disney's Summer Magic (1963).
McGuire appeared in some TV movies, She Waits (1972) and a PBS adaptation of Another Part of the Forest (1972). She provided voice work for Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973) and made one final appearance on Broadway in a revival of The Night of the Iguana (1976–77) alongside Richard Chamberlain.
However most of McGuire's later career work was for the small screen: The Runaways (1975), Rich Man, Poor Man (1976), the pilot for Little Women (1976), The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel (1979), Ghost Dancing (1983), Amos (1985), Between the Darkness and the Dawn (1985), American Geisha (1986), Caroline? (1990) and The Last Best Year (1990).
She was also in episodes of Fantasy Island, Hotel, The Love Boat, Glitter, St Elsewhere and Highway to Heaven. She provided the narration for Summer Heat (1987) and toured in 1987 in I Never Sang for My Father.
In 1982, she said, "I love my career, but I never felt much about it--about how to nurture it...It's been very erratic, after all. . . .To this day, I don't know what shapes a Hollywood career. . . .I was never a classic beauty. I had no image. So I found myself in a lot of things accidentally."
Personal life and death
McGuire died of cardiac arrest on Thursday, September 13, 2001, following a brief illness, at the age of 85.
|1944||Reward Unlimited||Peggy Adams||Short film for the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps|
|1945||The Enchanted Cottage||Laura Pennington|
|1945||A Tree Grows in Brooklyn||Katie Nolan|
|1946||The Spiral Staircase||Helen Capel|
|1946||Claudia and David||Claudia Naughton|
|1946||Till the End of Time||Pat Ruscomb|
|1947||Gentleman's Agreement||Kathy Lacy||Academy Award nomination for Best Actress|
|1950||Mother Didn't Tell Me||Jane Morgan|
|1950||Mister 880||Ann Winslow|
|1951||Callaway Went Thataway||Deborah Patterson|
|1951||I Want You||Nancy Greer|
|1952||Invitation||Ellen Bowker Pierce|
|1954||Make Haste to Live||Crystal Benson|
|1954||Three Coins in the Fountain||Miss Frances|
|1956||Friendly Persuasion||Eliza Birdwell|
|1957||Old Yeller||Katie Coates|
|1959||The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker||Mrs. Emily 'Ma' Pennypacker|
|1959||This Earth Is Mine||Martha Fairon|
|1959||A Summer Place||Sylvia Hunter|
|1960||The Dark at the Top of the Stairs||Cora Flood|
|1960||Swiss Family Robinson||Mother Robinson|
|1961||Susan Slade||Leah Slade|
|1963||Summer Magic||Margaret Carey|
|1965||The Greatest Story Ever Told||The Virgin Mary|
|1971||Flight of the Doves||Granny O'Flaherty|
|1972||She Waits||Sarah Wilson||TV movie|
|1972||Another Part of the Forest||Lavinia Hubbard||TV movie|
|1973||Jonathan Livingston Seagull||Mother||Voice|
|1975||The Runaways||Angela Lakey||TV movie|
|1978||Little Women||Marmee March||7 episodes|
|1979||The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel||Effie Webb||TV movie|
|1983||Ghost Dancing||Sarah Bowman||TV movie|
|1985||Amos||Hester Farrell||TV movie (EMMY nomination: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special)|
|1985||Between the Darkness and the Dawn||Beryl Foster||TV movie|
|1986||American Geisha||Ann Suzuki||TV movie|
|1990||Caroline?||Flora Atkins||Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie|
|1990||The Last Best Year||Anne||TV movie, (final film role)|
Complete TV credits
|1951||Robert Montgomery Presents||Judith Traherne||"Dark Victory"|
|1954||The United States Steel Hour||Tina||"A Garden in the Sea"|
|1954||Lux Video Theatre||Jody Norris||"To Each His Own"|
|1954||The Best of Broadway||Tracy Lord||"The Philadelphia Story"|
|1954||Climax!||Janet Spence||"The Gioconda Smile" (EMMY nomination: Best Actress in a Single Performance)|
|1954||What's My Line||Herself (Celebrity Mystery Guest)|
|1956||Climax!||Miranda||"Pale Horse, Pale Rider"|
|1964||The Red Skelton Hour||Guest Vocalist||"A Man and His Money Are Soon Parted"|
|1976||Rich Man, Poor Man||Mary Jordache||7 episodes (EMMY nomination: Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)|
|1982||The Love Boat||Hanna Hamilton||"Thanksgiving Cruise: The Best of Friends/Too Many Dads/Love Will Find a Way"|
|1983||Fantasy Island||Joan Mallory||"Three's a Crowd/Second Time Around"|
|1984||The Love Boat||Sarah Webster||"Aerobic April/The Wager/Story of the Century"|
|1984||The Young and the Restless||Cora Miller|
|1985||Glitter||The Matriarch||"The Matriarch"|
|1986||St. Elsewhere||Augusta Endicott||3 episodes|
|1986||Highway to Heaven||Jane Thompson||"Keep Smiling"|
|1988||Highway to Heaven||Jane Thompson||"We Have Forever: Part 1"|
"We Have Forever: Part 2"
|1988||American Playhouse||Margaret Garrison||"I Never Sang for My Father"|
|1945||Lux Radio Theater||I'll Be Seeing You|
|1947||Radio Reader's Digest||Sweet Rosie O'Grady|
|1953||Lux Summer Theatre||The Fall of Maggie Phillips|
- Dorothy McGuire Actress who was often cast as a mother and had the talent, but not the will, for stardom The Daily Telegraph 18 Sep 2001: 29.
- Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2. Pp. 755-756.
- Severo, Richard (September 15, 2001). "Dorothy McGuire, Steadfast Heroine of Film, Dies at 83". New York Times. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- Obituary: Dorothy McGuire: [FOREIGN Edition] Vallance, Tom. The Independent 17 Sep 2001: 6.
- Johnson, Erskine (May 18, 1943). "Hollywood Column". The Escanaba Daily Press. p. 2. Retrieved May 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- SELZNICK ASSETS ACQUIRED BY FOX: Latter Buys Rights to 'Keys of the Kingdom,' 'Claudia' and Script of 'Jane Eyre' PLAYERS' SERVICES IN DEAL Joan Fontaine and Dorothy McGuire Included -- Many Contracts Involved New York Times 16 Nov 1942: 15.
- Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
- "60 Top Grossers of 1946", Variety 8 January 1947 p8
- STAGE: FATE TAKES A HAND AGAIN FOR MCGUIRE Rosenfield, Paul. Los Angeles Times 7 Feb 1982: l52.
- "Top Grossers of 1948", Variety 5 January 1949 p 46
- 'DARK MEDALLION' SOLD TO SELZNICK: Ethel Barrymore and Dorothy McGuire Expected to Star in Film of Langley Novel Plans Arthurian Picture Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES 11 Nov 1946: 50.
- SELZNICK TO FILM A STORY BY IBSEN: Planning to Do 'Doll's House,' With Dorothy McGuire -- Clears Foreign Rights By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES 22 Apr 1947: 34.
- SELZNICK TO FILM VICKI BAUM STORY: ' Sands of Time' to Have Cary Grant and Dorothy McGuire in the Leading Roles By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES 28 Jan 1947: 27.
- "Say Hello To ..." (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. December 1939. p. 43. Retrieved 6 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "What's Playing?" (PDF). Radio Life. December 10, 1944. p. 25. Retrieved 6 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
- Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Pp.86, 376, 600, 662.
- "KECA mike memos" (PDF). Radio Life. March 23, 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 6 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
- Obituary: Dorothy McGuire: Actor of intelligence, integrity and charm on and off the screen Bergan, Ronald. The Guardian 17 Sep 2001: 1.20.
- Dorothy Mcguire..: A name from the past reappears for TV special Beck, Marilyn. Chicago Tribune 30 Mar 1975: i3.
- Dorothy McGuire: [FINAL Edition] ALLAN HUNTER Obituary. The Scotsman 20 Sep 2001: 14.
- Obituaries; Dorothy McGuire, 85; Favorite Leading Lady: [Home Edition] McLELLAN, DENNIS. Los Angeles Times 15 Sep 2001: B.10.
- "Gets Distaff Lead". The Times Recorder. October 3, 1971. p. 8. Retrieved May 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Dorothy McGuire". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- "Reward Unlimited". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- Kirby, Walter (June 21, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved July 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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