Ann Blyth


Actor
Ann Blyth

About

Also Known As
Ann Marie Blyth
Birth Place
Mount Kisco, New York, USA
Born
August 16, 1928

Biography

Alternating between dramas and musicals, pretty Ann Blyth was already acting in elementary school and emoting on Broadway before she had even reached her teens. Discovered by Universal, she made some unremarkable films with that company before being borrowed by Warner Brothers and cast in their Joan Crawford vehicle "Mildred Pierce" (1945). As Crawford's brazenly ungrateful and downright...

Photos & Videos

The Great Caruso - Movie Poster
Kismet (1955) - Movie Poster
Mildred Pierce - Lobby Card Set

Family & Companions

James McNulty
Husband
Doctor.

Biography

Alternating between dramas and musicals, pretty Ann Blyth was already acting in elementary school and emoting on Broadway before she had even reached her teens. Discovered by Universal, she made some unremarkable films with that company before being borrowed by Warner Brothers and cast in their Joan Crawford vehicle "Mildred Pierce" (1945). As Crawford's brazenly ungrateful and downright evil daughter, Blyth made quite an impression and earned an Academy Award nomination. Although a serious back injury sidelined her for over a year, Blyth bounced back and excelled at MGM, which showcased her considerable singing skills in such glossy productions as "Rose Marie" (1954), "The Student Prince" (1954), and "Kismet" (1955). As the 1960s rolled around, she opted to mostly stay out of the limelight, devoting the majority of her time to a growing family, but did return briefly to stage and television work. Blyth made a lasting impression in "Mildred Pierce," but with her beauty, lovely singing voice and solid dramatic ability, she gave several performances that rightfully earned her a place among the most talented leading ladies of the 1940s and '50s.

Ann Marie Blyth was born in Mount Kisco, NY on Aug. 16, 1928 and from early childhood, she was interested in performing in one capacity or another. Her singing talent earned Blyth spots in San Carlo Opera Company productions of "Carmen" and "La Boheme" and she gained acting experience via radio work. She attended the Professional Children's School and by the ripe old age of 12, Blyth was polished enough to be awarded a role on Broadway in the long running drama "Watch on the Rhine" (1941-42). It would be Blyth's only Great White Way credit, but she also went on tour with the show and thanks to the qualities displayed in a Los Angeles presentation of "Rhine," the teenager soon embarked on a whole new chapter in life.

After her stage work had come to the company's attention, Blyth was put under contract by Universal Pictures and her film career was launched with roles in small budget musicals with titles like "Chip Off the Old Block" (1944) and "The Merry Monahans" (1944). However, her prospects brightened considerably when the studio loaned her out to Warner Brothers to appear in the sudsy melodrama "Mildred Pierce" (1945), where Blyth gave a bravura performance as a scheming, thoroughly amoral young woman who competes with her own mother (Joan Crawford) for the same man. For their brave performances, Crawford won her only Oscar and newcomer Blyth received a nomination for her strong, thoroughly convincing acting, assuring a quick ascent to stardom.

Alas, during the production of "Danger Signal" (1945), Blyth broke her back in a tobogganing accident while on a break from filming. While she ultimately defied a professional prediction that she would never walk again, Blyth remained unable to act for over a year. By the time she returned to the screen in "Brute Force" (1947), some momentum had been lost, but the young actress continued to do laudable work in quality productions like the murder mystery "A Woman's Vengeance" (1948) and the comic fantasy "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid" (1948), where she was a charming siren of the sea accidentally reeled in by William Powell. Blyth's contract with Universal concluded in 1952, but she soon found opportunities at MGM, where her vocal abilities were put to use in "Rose Marie" (1954), "The Student Prince" (1954), and "Kismet" (1955). By that point in the decade, MGM's brand of musical was falling out of favor with the public, but they still made good use of Blyth in other genres, like the adventure "The King's Thief" (1955) and the film noir "Slander" (1957).

However, she turned out to be the wrong choice for the titular role in "The Helen Morgan Story" (1957). The largely fictionalized look at the celebrated songstress was considered to be something of a disappointment and critics felt that Blyth failed to impart Morgan's larger-than-life qualities. The actress was also not helped by the studio's decision to replace her vocals during the various songs with new performances by Gogi Grant. Blyth received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, but by that point, she had opted to leave her movie career behind. Aside from a handful of TV guest appearances, including a memorable 1964 outing on "The Twilight Zone," and a return to the stage in revivals of perennials like "Wait Until Dark" and "The King and I," she spent most of the ensuing years out of the limelight with her husband and five children. Blyth briefly resumed acting in the mid-1970s and, like a number of Golden Age stars, gave her final bow in an episode of "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS, 1984-96).

By John Charles

Life Events

1933

Debut as radio performer aged five

1941

Made Broadway debut in "Watch on the Rhine"

1944

Made film debut in "Chip Off the Old Block"

1945

Had one of her greatest roles as Veda in "Mildred Pierce"; earned Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress

1953

Early TV work on "The RCA Victor Show"

1957

Left films after playing the title role in "The Helen Morgan Story"

Photo Collections

The Great Caruso - Movie Poster
Here is a Window Card from MGM's The Great Caruso (1951), starring Mario Lanza. Window Cards were mini posters designed to be placed in store windows around town during a film's engagement. A blank space at the top of the poster featured theater and playdate infromation (although this example has been trimmed).
Kismet (1955) - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Kismet (1955). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Mildred Pierce - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Mildred Pierce (1945), starring Joan Crawford. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
All the Brothers Were Valiant - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from MGM's All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Thunder on the Hill - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Thunder on the Hill (1951), directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Claudette Colbert. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Thunder on the Hill - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Universal Pictures' Thunder on the Hill (1951), starring Claudette Colbert, Ann Blyth, and Philip Friend. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, taken for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Thunder on the Hill - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Universal Pictures' Thunder on the Hill (1951), directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth.
Thunder on the Hill - Movie Posters
Here are a few movie posters from Universal Pictures' Thunder on the Hill (1951), directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth.

Videos

Movie Clip

Mildred Pierce (1945) - He'll Bleed You Dry Partner Wally (Jack Carson) complains to title character (Joan Crawford) about her husband Monte (Zachary Scott) who, after Ida (Eve Arden) interrupts, arrives with daughter Veda (Ann Blyth), in Mildred Pierce, 1945, directed by Michael Curtiz.
Great Caruso, The (1951) - She Can't Sing MGM's version of the meeting of the title character Enrico (Mario Lanza) and his future wife Dorothy Park Benjamin (Ann Blyth) in New York, the date unclear, when he comes to apologize to another Metropolitan Opera singer (Dorothy Kirsten), in The Great Caruso, 1951.
Brute Force (1947) - Finish That Dream Joe (Burt Lancaster), the last of the jail-break plotters to be granted a flashback by writer Richard Brooks and director Jules Dassin, here with disabled girlfriend Ruth (Ann Blyth), pretty much her entire performance, in Brute Force, 1947.
Kismet (1955) - Stranger In Paradise Romantically inclined Caliph (Vic Damone) hasn’t revealed his identity though he’s dazzled by Marsinah (Ann Blyth), whom he’s assumed is a gardener, not that it matters much, as they join in MGM Baghdad for the hit song, adapted by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest, in Kismet, 1955.
Kismet (1955) - Rise And Pray Unlikely these days that Baghdad would be presented in these mystical, romantic tones, the opening of the 1955 MGM musical based on 1953 Broadway show rather than the 1944 MGM fantasy, introducing Howard Keel as the Poet and Ann Blyth as daughter Marsinah, from Kismet.
Kismet (1955) - Baubles, Bangles And Beads Left in the Baghdad bazaar by her impoverished poet father (Howard Keel, not seen) Ann Blyth as Marsinah pretty-much solos the tune, already famous from Broadway, from music by Alexander Borodin, adaptation and lyrics by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest, in MGM’s Kismet, 1955.
Mildred Pierce (1945) - -- Keeps Me Thin Title character (Joan Crawford) commiserates with her maid Lottie (Butterfly McQueen) as they make pies for extra income, narrates, then discovers her snobby older daughter Veda (Ann Blyth) has found out about her lowly job, in Mildred Pierce, 1945.
Mildred Pierce (1945) - Mother, You're A Scream Famous climactic fight on the staircase between title character (Joan Crawford) and daughter Veda (Ann Blyth) who, it turns out, has just blackmailed a boyfriend, in Mildred Pierce, 1945, from James M. Cain's novel.
Mr. Peabody And The Mermaid - Hooked In The Tail Peabody (William Powell) is musing about his troublesome wife, fishing, when he hooks, conveniently not in the mouth, the big fish (Ann Blyth), in Nunnally Johnson's Mr. Peabody And The Mermaid, 1948.
Mr. Peabody And The Mermaid - A Man At Fifty Peabody (William Powell) has just purchased a bunch of swimsuit tops for the "girl" he calls "Lenore," (Ann Blyth), now residing in the fish pond at a Caribbean resort, in Mr. Peabody And The Mermaid, 1948.
Our Very Own (1950) - The Last Word Chaste version of "From Here to Eternity" as Gail (Ann Blyth) and Chuck (Farley Granger) celebrate her birthday on the beach in Samuel Goldwyn's Our Very Own, 1950.

Trailer

Top O' The Morning (1949) -- (Original Trailer) From Paramount and Bing Crosby Enterprises, with direct reference to their earlier hits Going My Way, 1944 and Welcome, Stranger!, 1947, the trailer for Top O’ The Morning, 1949, in which Bing plays a singing insurance investigator come to Ireland following the theft of the Blarney Stone, with Barry Fitzgerald as the local cop.
One Minute To Zero (1952) -- Original Trailer Noisy and spectacular, if uninformative, theatrical trailer for producer Edmund Grainger’s contemporary Korean War drama, One Minute To Zero, 1952.
One Minute To Zero - (Original Trailer) A U.S. colonel (Robert Mitchum) tries to evacuate American civilians during the Korean War in One Minute To Zero (1952).
Mildred Pierce -- (Original Trailer) A woman turns herself into a business tycoon to win her selfish daughter a place in society in Mildred Pierce (1945) starring Joan Crawford in an Oscar-winning role.
Helen Morgan Story, The - (Original Trailer) Ann Blyth portrays the 20's torch singer who rose to fame and fortune and lost it all in The Helen Morgan Story (1957).
King's Thief, The - (Original Trailer) David Niven takes a rare villainous role in the swashbuckling adventure The King's Thief (1955) co-starring George Sanders and Roger Moore.
Student Prince, The (1954) - (Original Trailer) A prince falls in love with a barmaid during his last fling before assuming the crown in the operetta The Student Prince (1954).
Killer McCoy - (Original Trailer) Mickey Rooney stars as a lightweight boxer who gets mixed up in murder in Killer McCoy (1947).
Rose Marie (1954) - (Original Trailer) A trapper's daughter is torn between the Mountie who wants to civilize her and a dashing prospector in the widescreen color musical Rose Marie (1954).
All the Brothers Were Valiant - (Original Trailer) Brothers on a whaling schooner become romantic rivals in All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953) starring Robert Taylor.
Slander - (Original Trailer) M-G-M takes on the then-current "tell-all" magazines in Slander (1957) with Van Johnson as the victim of rumor.
Kismet (1955) - (Original Trailer) The "king of the beggars" infiltrates high society when his daughter is wooed by a handsome prince in Kismet (1955), starring Howard Keel & Ann Blyth.

Family

Dennis Day
Brother-In-Law
Singer. Born in 1917; died in 1988.
Maureen McNulty
Daughter
Actor.

Companions

James McNulty
Husband
Doctor.

Bibliography