|A.K.A.||Ann Marie Blyth|
|Is||Actor Film actor Singer Stage actor Television actor|
|From||United States of America|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music|
|Birth||16 August 1928, Mount Kisco, USA|
|Residence||Santa Fe, USA|
|Politics||California Republican Party|
Ann Marie Blyth (born August 16, 1928) is an American retired actress and singer, often cast in Hollywood musicals, but also successful in dramatic roles. For her performance as Veda Pierce in the 1945 film Mildred Pierce, Blyth was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
She is one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Life and career
Blyth was born August 16, 1928, in Mount Kisco, New York, to Harry and Nan Lynch Blyth. After her parents separated, she, her mother and sister moved to a walk-up apartment on East 31st Street in New York City, where her mother took in ironing. Blyth attended St. Patrick's School in Manhattan.
Watch on the Rhine
Blyth performed on children's radio shows in New York for six years, making her first appearance when she was five. When she was nine she joined the New York Children's Opera Company.
Her first acting role was on Broadway in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine (from 1941 until 1942). She played the part of Paul Lukas's daughter, Babette. The play ran for 378 performances, and won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. After the New York run, the play went on tour, and while performing at the Biltmore Theatre in Los Angeles, Blyth was offered a contract with Universal Studios.
Blyth began her acting career initially as "Anne Blyth", but changed the spelling of her first name back to "Ann" at the beginning of her film career. She made her film debut in 1944, teamed with Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan in the teen-age musical Chip Off the Old Block (1944).
She followed it with two similar films: The Merry Monahans (1944) with O'Connor and Ryan again, and Babes on Swing Street (1944) with Ryan. She had a support role in the bigger budgeted Bowery to Broadway (1944), a showcase of Universal musical talent.
On loan to Warner Brothers, Blyth was cast "against type" as Veda Pierce, the scheming, ungrateful daughter of Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce (1945). Her dramatic portrayal won her outstanding reviews, and she received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Blyth was only 16 when she made the Michael Curtiz film. (Crawford won the Best Actress award for that film.)
After Mildred Pierce, Blyth sustained a broken back while tobogganing in Snow Valley, and was not able to fully capitalize on the film's success.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer borrowed her to play the female lead in Killer McCoy (1947), a boxing film with Mickey Rooney that was a box office hit.
Back at Universal she did a film noir with Charles Boyer, A Woman's Vengeance (1948). She was then cast in the part of Regina Hubbard in Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest (1948), an adaptation of the 1946 play where Regina had been played by Patricia Neal. The play was a prequel to The Little Foxes.
In April 1949, Universal suspended her for refusing a lead role in Abandoned (1949). Gale Storm played it.
Blyth was borrowed by MGM for The Great Caruso (1951) opposite Mario Lanza which was a massive box office hit.
20th Century Fox borrowed her to star opposite Tyrone Power in I'll Never Forget You (1952), a last minute replacement for Constance Smith. She appeared on TV in Family Theater in an episode called "The World's Greatest Mother" alongside Ethel Barrymore.
Universal teamed Blyth with Gregory Peck in The World in His Arms (1952). She was top billed in the comedy Sally and Saint Anne (1952) and was borrowed by RKO for One Minute to Zero (1952), a Korean War drama with Robert Mitchum where she replaced Claudette Colbert who came down with pneumonia.
MGM had been interested in Blyth since The Great Caruso. In December 1953, Blyth left Universal and she signed a long term contract with MGM.
On television she was in a version of A Place in the Sun for Lux Video Theatre alongside John Derek.
Back at MGM Blyth had the lead in the remake of Rose Marie (1954) with Howard Keel, which earned over $5 million but lost money due to high costs. Plans to make other Nelson-Eddy films (The Girl from the Golden West) was discussed ) did not work out.
She was meant to be reteamed with Lanza in The Student Prince (1954) but he was fired from the studio and was replaced in the picture by Edmund Purdom; the film did well at the box office.
Blyth and Purdom were reunited on a swashbuckler, The King's Thief (1955). She was teamed again with Keel on the musical Kismet (1955). Despite strong reviews the film was a financial flop.
She was named for the female lead in The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955) but was eventually not cast in the film.
MGM put Blyth in Slander (1957) with Van Johnson.
Sidney Sheldon cast Blyth in The Buster Keaton Story (1957) with O'Connor at Paramount.
Warner Bros then cast her in the title role of The Helen Morgan Story (1957) directed by Michael Curtiz with Paul Newman. Blyth reportedly beat 40 other actos for the part. Even though her voice was more like the original Helen Morgan, her vocals were dubbed by Gogi Grant. That soundtrack was much more successful than the film itself. Blyth made no further films.
In 1957, she sued Benedict Bogeaus for $75,000 for not making the film Conquest.
Theatre and television
From the late 1950s into the 1970s, Blyth worked in musical theater and summer stock, starring in the shows The King and I, The Sound of Music, and Show Boat. and also on television, including co-starring opposite James Donald in the 1960 adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel, The Citadel.
She guest starred on episodes of The DuPont Show with June Allyson, The Dick Powell Theatre, Saints and Sinners, The Christophers, Wagon Train (several episodes), The Twilight Zone ("Queen of the Nile"), Burke's Law, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Insight, and The Name of the Game. Several of these appearances were for Four Star Television with whom Blyth signed a multi-appearance contract.
Blyth also became the spokesperson for Hostess Cupcakes.
Her last television appearances were in episodes of Switch and Quincy, M.E. in 1983 and Murder, She Wrote in 1985 (the year she officially retired).
For her contributions to the film industry, Blyth has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6733 Hollywood Boulevard.
In the December 1952 edition of Motion Picture and Television Magazine, Ann Blyth stated in an interview that she was a Republican who had endorsed Dwight D. Eisenhower for president, the month before during the 1952 presidential election.
In 1955, an armed man who had written her fan letters was arrested near her house.
In 1953, Blyth married obstetrician James McNulty, brother of singer Dennis Day, who had introduced them. The bridesmaids were actresses Joan Leslie, Jane Withers, and Betty Lynn. The couple received special commendation from the Pope.
After her marriage, Blyth took somewhat of a reprieve from her career to focus on raising their five children, Timothy Patrick (born June 10, 1954); Maureen Ann (born December 14, 1955); Kathleen Mary (born December 23, 1957); Terence Grady (born December 9, 1960); and Eileen Alana (born April 10, 1963).
In 1973, she and McNulty, both devout Catholics, were accorded the honorific rank of Lady and Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in a ceremony presided over by Terence Cardinal Cooke. McNulty died on May 13, 2007, in La Jolla, California.
|1948||Lux Radio Theatre||A Woman's Vengeance|
|1952||Family Theater||The Presentation|
|1952||Lux Radio Theatre||Top o' the Morning|
|1953||Family Theater||The Finding in the Temple|
|1946||Academy Award||Nominated||Best Supporting Actress||Mildred Pierce|
|1958||Laurel Awards||Top Female Musical Performance||The Helen Morgan Story|