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Blyth, Ann (1928—)

Blyth, Ann (1928—)

American actress and singer, nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Mildred Pierce. Born Ann Marie Blyth in Mt. Kisco, New York, on August 16, 1928; attended St. Stephen's and St. Patrick's schools and the New York Professional Children's School; studied voice and spent three years as a soprano with the San Carlo Opera Company; married James McNulty (a doctor, and brother of singer-comedian Dennis Day), on June 27, 1953; children: five.

Filmography:

Chip Off the Old Block (1944); The Merry Monahans (1944); Babes on Swing Street (1944); Bowery to Broadway (1944); Mildred Pierce (1945); Swell Guy (1947); Brute Force (1947); Killer McCoy (1947); A Woman's Vengeance (1948); Another Part of the Forest (1948); Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948); Red Canyon (1949); Top o' the Morning (1949); Free for All (1949); Our Very Own (1950); The Great Caruso (1951); Katie Did It (1951); Thunder on the Hill (1951); The Golden Horde (1951); The House in the Square (1951); I'll Never Forget You (1951); Sally and Saint Anne (1952); One Minute to Zero (1952); The World in His Arms (1952); All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953); Rose Marie (1954); The Student Prince (1954); The King's Thief (1955); Kismet (1955); Slander (1957); The Buster Keaton Story (1957); The Helen Morgan Story (1957).

Actress Ann Blyth, who is often remembered for her dazzling smile and soprano voice in the 1950's musicals The Student Prince and Kismet, was also a fine dramatic actress. For an early film role as Joan Crawford 's vindictive daughter in Mildred Pierce (1945), a role that is sometimes overlooked in light of her later work, Blyth was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress. Another dramatic effort in Lillian Hellman 's Another Part of the Forest (1948) is indicative of her impressive range.

The product of a broken home, Blyth was brought up by her mother on New York City's East Side and knew at an early age that she wanted to be an actress. She began her career on the radio at the age of five and, while still a schoolgirl, sang with the San Carlo Opera Company. In 1941, at only 13, she played the daughter in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine, which caught the attention of a Universal Pictures' talent scout. Blyth made her film debut in Chip off the Old Block (1944), opposite Donald O'Connor, followed by a few other forgettable teenage parts. After her success in Mildred Pierce, performed while on loan to Warner Bros., Blyth was scheduled for another dramatic role in Her Kind of Man (1946), when she fractured her back in a tobogganing accident. After seven months in a steel brace, she returned to wonderful notices for her portrayal of the amoral young Regina Hubbard in Another Part of the Forest (1948). Although she seemed destined for a career as a dramatic actress, she opted instead for more conventional ingenue roles.

In the 1950s, Blyth starred opposite Mario Lanza in The Great Caruso (1951) and Claudette Colbert in Thunder on the Hill (1951). She was also featured in a few adventure films, as well as three operettas: Rose Marie (1954), The Student Prince (1954), and Kismet (1955), all of which made use of her trained singing voice. Her last films were a pair of screen biographies in 1957, The Buster Keaton Story (with Donald O'Connor) and TheHelen Morgan Story. She then retired to a family life that included her husband James McNulty and five children, although she continued to venture forth for an occasional appearance in a summer-stock musical or television commercial.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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