Ann Harding


Actor
Ann Harding

About

Also Known As
Dorothy Walton Gatley
Birth Place
Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USA
Born
August 07, 1901
Died
September 01, 1981

Biography

Established Broadway lead who landed a contract in 1929 with Pathe (very soon thereafter part of RKO) and starred in a series of soap operas through the mid-1930s, most typically as suffering heroines who must make noble sacrifices for the men they love. With her ash-blonde hair usually swept back into a bun, the patrician Harding brought a gentle, serene strength to such worthy star veh...

Photos & Videos

Double Harness - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
The Magnificent Yankee - Publicity Stills
Double Harness - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Harry Bannister
Husband
Actor. Married October 21, 1926, divorced 1932; acted in support of Harding in "Her Private Affair" (1929) and "The Girl of the Golden West" (1930).
Werner Janssen
Husband
Symphony conductor. Married 1937, divorced 1962; adopted Grace Kaye with Ann Harding.

Notes

Harding received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress for her starring role in the 1930 screen adaptation of Philip Barry's play "Holiday" (in the role Katharine Hepburn would essay in the better 1938 remake).

Ann Harding was reportedly responsible for naming the Hedgerow Theatre by quiping "we will perform theater if we have to do it in the hedgerows".

Biography

Established Broadway lead who landed a contract in 1929 with Pathe (very soon thereafter part of RKO) and starred in a series of soap operas through the mid-1930s, most typically as suffering heroines who must make noble sacrifices for the men they love. With her ash-blonde hair usually swept back into a bun, the patrician Harding brought a gentle, serene strength to such worthy star vehicles as "When Ladies Meet" (1933) and "The Life of Vergie Winters" (1934) but fared less well in such awkward efforts as "Devotion" (1931) and "Enchanted April" (1935). Ideal for the philosophical sophistication of playwright Phillip Barry, Harding shone in fine adaptations of two of Barry's best comedy-drama talkfests: "Holiday" (1930), for which she received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress, and "The Animal Kingdom" (1932). Two of her best films came late in her reign as a star: the haunting, almost surreal love story "Peter Ibbetson" (1935, opposite Gary Cooper) and the taut suspense melodrama "Love from a Stranger" (1937, with Basil Rathbone).

Harding's boxoffice power declined sharply after 1935 partly as a result of her typecasting in virtuous roles and she retired two years later after marrying symphony conductor Werner Janssen. In 1942, however, she returned to the screen in the enjoyable mystery "Eyes in the Night," and subsequently kept intermittently busy in a series of maternal character roles through the mid 50s. Her best part during this time was as the wife of Oliver Wendell Holmes (played by Louis Calhern) in "The Magnificent Yankee" (1950), but the gracefully maturing Harding also played notable roles in "Those Endearing Young Charms" (1945) and "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" (1955).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)
Mrs. Helen Hopkins
I've Lived Before (1956)
Jane Stone
Strange Intruder (1956)
Mary Carmichael
The Unknown Man (1951)
Stella Mason
The Magnificent Yankee (1951)
Fanny Bowditch Holmes
Two Weeks with Love (1950)
Katherine Robinson
Christmas Eve (1947)
"Aunt Matilda" [Reid]
It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
Mary O'Connor
Janie Gets Married (1946)
Lucile Conway
Those Endearing Young Charms (1945)
Mrs. Brandt
Nine Girls (1944)
Grace Thornton
Janie (1944)
Lucile Conway
The North Star (1943)
Sophia
Mission to Moscow (1943)
Mrs. Marjorie Davies
Eyes in the Night (1942)
Norma Lawry
Love from a Stranger (1937)
Carol Howard
The Lady Consents (1936)
Anne Talbot
The Witness Chair (1936)
Paula Young
Peter Ibbetson (1935)
Mary, Duchess of Towers
Enchanted April (1935)
Lotty Wilkins
Biography of a Bachelor Girl (1935)
Marion [Forsythe]
The Flame Within (1935)
Doctor Mary White
The Life of Vergie Winters (1934)
Vergie Winters
The Fountain (1934)
Julie Von Narwitz
Gallant Lady (1934)
Sally Wyndham
The Right to Romance (1933)
Dr. Margaret "Peggy" J. Simmons
Double Harness (1933)
Joan Colby [Fletcher]
When Ladies Meet (1933)
Claire [Woodruf]
The Conquerors (1932)
Carolyn Ogden Standish
Prestige (1932)
Therese Du Flos [Verlaine]
The Animal Kingdom (1932)
Daisy [Sage]
Westward Passage (1932)
Olivia [Allen Ottendorf]
East Lynne (1931)
Lady Isabel
Devotion (1931)
Shirley [Mortimer, also known as Mrs. Halifax]
Holiday (1930)
Linda
The Girl of the Golden West (1930)
Minnie
Paris Bound (1929)
Mary Hutton
Condemned (1929)
Madame Vidal
Her Private Affair (1929)
Vera Kessler

Life Events

1921

Made stage acting debut with the Provincetown Players of Greenwich Village; made it to Broadway the same year

1923

Was associated with the Hedgerow Theatre in Pennsylvania; appeared in inaugural production of "Candida"

1929

Began as a film actress at Pathe (soon to be absorbed into RKO) with a leading role in "Paris Bound" opposite fellow newcomer from the stage Fredric March; immediately became a popular star

1936

Contract dropped by RKO

1937

Last starring role, in "Love from a Stranger", made in Britain

1942

Returned to films after a five-year absence to play opposite Edward Arnold in "Eyes in the Night"

1956

Appeared in last feature film, "Strange Intruder"

Photo Collections

Double Harness - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken during production of RKO's Double Harness (1933), directed by John Cromwell and starring Ann Harding and William Powell.
The Magnificent Yankee - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize The Magnificent Yankee (1950), starring Louis Calhern and Ann Harding. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Double Harness - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to publicize RKO's Double Harness (1933), starring William Powell, Ann Harding, and Lilian Bond. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Double Harness - Movie Poster
Here is a Window Card from RKO's Double Harness (1933), starring William Powell and Ann Harding. 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.
Double Harness - Pressbook
Here is the campaign book (pressbook) for the American release of RKO's Double Harness (1933). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
(Pressbook images courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
Double Harness - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from RKO's Double Harness (1933), starring Ann Harding and William Powell.

Videos

Movie Clip

When Ladies Meet (1933) - One Of My Horses First scene, golfing, for Ann Harding (as "Claire"), being schmoozed by Jimmy (Robert Young), unhappy that his not-girlfriend, novelist Mary (Myrna Loy) is staying with her amorous publisher, Claire's husband (Frank Morgan), at the home of Bridget (Alice Brady), in When Ladies Meet, 1933.
When Ladies Meet (1933) - There Are Cousins And Cousins Jimmy (Robert Montgomery) has contrived to arrive with Claire (Ann Harding), posing as his "cousin" and date, annoying his hoped-for girlfriend, novelist Mary (Myrna Loy), who doesn't know she's the wife of her lusty publisher, Alice Brady their hostess, in When Ladies Meet, 1933.
Janie Gets Married (1946) - I'll Have The Screaming Meanies! Mayhem on wedding day at the Conway household, mom (Ann Harding) greets bridesmaids (Anne Gillis, Ruth Tobey), meets Dad (Edward Arnold) and preoccupied Joan Leslie (title character) tangles with her sly little sister (Clare Foley), Hattie McDaniel the exasperated maid, early in Janie Gets Married, 1946.
Janie Gets Married (1946) - Sort Of A War Emergency On their wedding day, engaged only briefly after his return from the war, Joan Leslie (title character) and Robert Hutton as Dick confer in secret, him disoriented by advice from his dad, her offering a contract, the parents (Edward Arnold, Ann Harding, Robert Benchley, Barbara Brown) intervening, in Janie Gets Married, 1946.
Double Harness (1931) - Make His Future Mine Joan (Ann Harding), with her dad (Henry Stephenson) , has been wedding shopping for her sister Valerie (Lucile Browne) when they encounter man-about-town Fletcher (William Powell) for whom she, we learn, has big plans, opening Double Harness, 1931.
Double Harness (1931) - You Even Have The Moon Trained Joan (Ann Harding) who has confided to allies her plan to snag bachelor shipping heir Fletcher (William Powell), accepts his after-theater invitation, which she predicted, to his plush San Francisco flat, in RKO's Double Harness, 1931.
Christmas Eve (1947) - We Have No License Opening scenes, we meet Philip (Reginald Denny) who's brought a judge and doctor (Clarence Kolb, Carl Harbord) to meet his maybe-nutty New York heiress Aunt Matilda (Ann Harding), in the holiday crime-comedy hybrid Christmas Eve (a.k.a. Holiday For Sinners), 1947.
Christmas Eve (1947) - The Sea Is A Wide Place In the byzantine tale of his imperiled maiden aunt back in New York, ex-pat South American club owner Mario (George Raft) discovers a fugitive Nazi (Konstantine Shayne) has been scamming his girlfriend (Virginia Field), in the crime-comedy Christmas Eve (a.k.a. Holiday For Sinners), 1947.
Eyes In The Night (1942) - Not Having Eyes In director Fred Zinnemann's second feature, early plotting as the baffled butler (Mantan Moreland) brings friend Norma (Ann Harding) to see blind detective Duncan MacLain (Edward Arnold, his first of two appearances in the role), in Eyes In The Night, 1942, from the Baynard Kendrick novel.
Eyes In The Night (1942) - He's A Bad Man Well-meaning stepmother Norma (Ann Harding) attempts to warn stepdaughter Barbara (Donna Reed, especially mean) away from an older man she once knew, early in Eyes In The Night, 1942, directed by Fred Zinnemann from the Duncan MacLain detective novel series.
Devotion (1931) - She Must Be Middle-Aged The Mortimer family (O.P. Heggie, Louise Closser Hale, Ruth Weston, Joan Carr) are entertaining Trent (Leslie Howard) a successful widowed lawyer seeking a governess, who is surprised to meet the third daughter Shirley (Ann Harding), acting more like a servant, early in Devotion, 1931.
Devotion (1931) - Two Lumps Of Camphor Widowed lawyer Trent (Leslie Howard) arrives home, greeted by son Derek (Douglas Scott), then meeting the governess he's indirectly hired, Mrs. Halifax (Ann Harding), who is really the lovestruck Shirley, frumped-up and playing cockney, in Devotion, 1931.

Trailer

Janie - (Original Trailer) A small-town girl (Joyce Reynolds) defies her father by falling for a soldier (Robert Hutton).
Two Weeks With Love - (Original Trailer) Two sisters (Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds) find romance during a turn-of-the-century family vacation in MGM's Technicolor musical Two Weeks With Love (1950).
Eyes In The Night - (Original Trailer) Blind detective Duncan Maclain (Edward Arnold) gets mixed up with Nazi agents when he tries to help an old friend in Eyes In The Night (1942).
Flame Within, The - (Original Trailer) Ann Harding is a psychiatrist who thinks she is remote from her patients' problems until she falls in love with one of them.
Magnificent Yankee, The - (Original Trailer) Lionel Barrymore, though not appearing in the film himself, takes the lead in MGM's trailer for The Magnificent Yankee 1950, starring Louis Calhern as the famed American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Mission to Moscow - (Original Trailer) Mission to Moscow (1943) features the true story of U.S. Ambassador Joseph E. Davies' attempts to forge a wartime alliance with the Soviet Union.
Right To Romance, The - (Original Trailer) A plastic surgeon (Ann Harding) jeopardizes her marriage when she must operate on her husband's ex-girlfriend in The Right to Romance (1933).
Janie Gets Married - (Original Trailer) In the sequel to Janie (1944), Janie (Joan Leslie) marries her soldier boy and helps him adjust to civilian life.
Biography of a Bachelor Girl - (Original Trailer) Ann Harding had a fling with Edward Everett Horton. For some reason she wants people to know in Biography of a Bachelor Girl (1935).
Unknown Man, The - (Original Trailer) A scrupulously honest lawyer discovers that the client he's gotten off was really guilty in The Unknown Man (1951), starring Walter Pidgeon and Ann Harding.
Double Harness - (French release Trailer) After tricking a playboy into marriage, a woman sets out to win his love honestly in Double Harness (1933).

Family

Jane Bannister
Daughter
Father Harry Bannister.
Grace Kaye Janssen
Daughter
Adoptive father Werner Janssen.

Companions

Harry Bannister
Husband
Actor. Married October 21, 1926, divorced 1932; acted in support of Harding in "Her Private Affair" (1929) and "The Girl of the Golden West" (1930).
Werner Janssen
Husband
Symphony conductor. Married 1937, divorced 1962; adopted Grace Kaye with Ann Harding.

Bibliography

Notes

Harding received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress for her starring role in the 1930 screen adaptation of Philip Barry's play "Holiday" (in the role Katharine Hepburn would essay in the better 1938 remake).

Ann Harding was reportedly responsible for naming the Hedgerow Theatre by quiping "we will perform theater if we have to do it in the hedgerows".