Dorothy McGuire

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Dorothy McGuire
Studio publicity Dorothy McGuire.jpg
Publicity photo of McGuire, 1940s
Dorothy Hackett McGuire

(1916-06-14)June 14, 1916
DiedSeptember 13, 2001(2001-09-13) (aged 85)
Other namesDorothy McGuire Swope
Years active1943–1990
Spouse(s)John Swope (m.1943–1979; his death)
Children2, 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[edit]

Dorothy McGuire and Spring Byington in the short film Reward Unlimited (1944)
Dorothy McGuire and John Garfield in Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Early years[edit]

Born in Omaha, Nebraska,[1] McGuire was the only child of Thomas Johnson McGuire and Isabelle Flaherty McGuire.[2] She began her acting career on the stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse.[1]

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.[2]


McGuire was a member of the cast of Big Sister (playing Sue Evans[3]), and Joyce Jordan, M.D.. She also appeared in This Is My Best (Miracle in the Rain),[4] Screen Directors Playhouse (The Spiral Staircase) and in Theatre Guild on the Air (Hamlet[5] A Doll's House, Our Town[6]).


Eventually, she reached Broadway, first appearing as an understudy to Martha Scott in Our Town, and subsequently starring in the domestic comedy Claudia.[1]


Brought to Hollywood by producer David O. Selznick (who called her "a born actress"[7]) on the strength of her stage performance, McGuire starred in her first film Claudia, a movie adaptation of her Broadway success,[1] portraying a child bride who almost destroys her marriage through her selfishness. Her screen performance was popular with both the public and critics, and it was the catalyst for a sequel titled Claudia and David and other film roles.

By 1945, at age 29, she played the mother in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1947 for Gentleman's Agreement. Other notable films include Till the End of Time, The Enchanted Cottage, A Summer Place, Three Coins in the Fountain, Friendly Persuasion, Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

McGuire had a long Hollywood career. She appeared in taut melodramas, such as The Spiral Staircase and Make Haste to Live, and in light, frothy comedies, such as Mother Didn't Tell Me and Mister 880.

Personal life and death[edit]

Married to Life magazine photographer John Swope (1908–1979) for more than 35 years, she had a son, photographer Mark Swope, and a daughter, actress Topo Swope[2] (born 1948).[8]

McGuire died of cardiac arrest on Thursday, September 13, 2001, following a brief illness, at the age of 85.


For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Dorothy McGuire has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard. It was dedicated February 8, 1960.[9]

Complete filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1943 Claudia Claudia Naughton
1944 Reward Unlimited Peggy Adams Short film for the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps[10]
1945 The Enchanted Cottage Laura Pennington
1945 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Katie Nolan
1945 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
1955 Trial Abbe Nyle
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
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
1987 Summer Heat Narrator (voice)
1990 Caroline? Flora Atkins Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie
1990 The Last Best Year Anne TV movie

Complete TV credits[edit]

Year Title Role Episode
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 Hotel Mrs. Christopher "Skeletons"
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"

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1947 Radio Reader's Digest Sweet Rosie O'Grady
1953 Lux Summer Theatre The Fall of Maggie Phillips[11]


  1. ^ a b c d 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.
  2. ^ a b c Severo, Richard (September 15, 2001). "Dorothy McGuire, Steadfast Heroine of Film, Dies at 83". New York Times. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Say Hello To ..." (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. December 1939. p. 43. Retrieved 6 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "What's Playing?" (PDF). Radio Life. December 10, 1944. p. 25. Retrieved 6 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "KECA mike memos" (PDF). Radio Life. March 23, 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 6 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Johnson, Erskine (May 18, 1943). "Hollywood Column". The Escanaba Daily Press. p. 2. Retrieved May 6, 2015 – via open access
  8. ^ "Gets Distaff Lead". The Times Recorder. October 3, 1971. p. 8. Retrieved May 6, 2015 – via open access
  9. ^ "Dorothy McGuire". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Reward Unlimited". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
  11. ^ Kirby, Walter (June 21, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved July 1, 2015 – via open access

External links[edit]