Through a happy mixture of luck, timing, and talent, Ann Rutherford made her screen debut at the age of fifteen when she appeared in the title role of Waterfront Lady (1935). Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, she played the leading lady opposite such screen legends as John Wayne, Gene Autry, and James Stewart. However, it is for her featured roles that she is arguably best known, be it Polly Benedict, Andy Hardy’s faithful girlfriend in the Hardy Family series (1927 – 1942); the flirtaious and slightly scandalous Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (1940); or perhaps her best-known role, Scarlett O’ Hara’s youngest sister, Carreen, in Gone with the Wind (1939).
While her contemporaries may have fought and strived for splashy roles and top billing, Ann made the conscious choice early on to find her bliss in featured roles. It was a lesson she learned from character actor Lewis Stone who portrayed the venerable Judge Hardy in the Hardy Family series. Stone had been groomed as a leading man during the silent era and warned Ann about the perils of achieving full-blown stardom. “He noticed what a good time I was having every day on the set,” Ann recalls, “and I was. I was just so thrilled to go to the studio every day.” Stone cautioned her against trying to become a major star. “Stars peter out,” he said, “but featured players last forever.” Ann followed his advice and, when she retired in 1976, she could look back on more than forty years of work in film, radio, and television with fondness and satisfaction and nary a regret. “It was all so much fun,” she relates. “I’ve just had a wonderful, wonderful life.”
As she begins to gracefully approach her 90th birthday, Ann Rutherford remains as enthusiastic about her life and career as she was as a teenager under contract with MGM. She is still extremely active and much sought after as an honored guest at various film society events and festivals. 2009 has been an especially busy one for Ann as it is the seventieth anniversary of Gone with the Wind, and she has been busy traveling throughout much of the country attending celebrations for the film. “Back then,” Ann remembers, “once a film was released, it was only around for a few months, never more than a year. And here’s this wonderful movie that has been seen and loved by so many generations. I was thrilled to have been a part of it then, and I certainly am now. It [her role as Carreen O’Hara] was really a nothing part. But, you know, that nothing part has turned my golden years into platinum!”
Ann shares stories of working on the Hardy Family series and also talks about how she spent her time in between films.https://imrud.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/ann-blog-mp3.mp3″