The dark, petulant beauty of this petite American film and musical starworked to her advantage, especially in her early dramatic career. AnnMarie Blyth was born of Irish stock to Harry and Nan Blyth on August16, 1928, in Mt. Kisco, New York. Her parents split while she was youngand she, her mother and sister moved to New York City, where the girlsattended various Catholic schools.
Already determined at an early ageto perform, Ann attended Manhattan's Professional Children's School andwas already a seasoned radio performer, particularly on soap dramas,while in elementary school. A member of New York's Children's OperaCompany, the young girl made an important Broadway debut as'Paul Lukas (I)' ' and 'Mady Christians' ' daughter in theclassic 'Lillian Hellman' WWII drama "Watch on the Rhine" (1941),billed as Anne (with an extra "e"). She stayed with the show for twoyears. While touring with the play in Los Angeles, the teenager was noticed bydirector 'Henry Koster' at Universal and given a screen test. Signed on as Ann (without the "e") Blyth, the pretty, photographiccolleen displayed her warbling talent in her debut film Chip Off the Old Block (1944) , a swing-era teen musical starringUniversal song-and-dance favorites 'Donald O'Connor' and'Peggy Ryan' .
She followed it pleasantly enough with other "B"tunefests such as The Merry Monahans (1944) and Babes on Swing Street (1944) . It wasn't until Warner Bros. borrowed her to make self-sacrificing mother 'Joan Crawford (I)' 'slife pure hell as malicious, spiteful daughter Veda in the classic,Oscar-winning wallow Mildred Pierce (1945) that she reallyclicked with viewers and set up her dramatic career. With murder on heryoung character's mind, Hollywood stood up and took notice of thisfresh-faced talent. Although Ann lost the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year to anotherAnne ('Anne Revere' ), she was borrowed again by Warner Bros.
tofilm Danger Signal (1945) . During filming, Ann suffered a brokenback in a sledding accident while briefly vacationing in Lake Arrowheadand had to be replaced in the role. After a long convalescence (over ayear and a half in a back brace) Universal used her in awheelchair-bound cameo in Brute Force (1947) . Her first starring role was an inauspicious one opposite'Sonny Tufts' in Swell Guy (1946) , but she finally begangaining some momentum again. Instead of offering her musical gifts, shecontinued her serious streak with Killer McCoy (1947) and adangerously calculated role in Another Part of the Forest (1948) , a prequel to The Little Foxes (1941) in which Ann played the'Bette Davis' role of Regina at a younger age.
Her attempts atlighter comedy were mild at best, playing a fetching creature of thesea opposite 'William Powell (I)' in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948) and a teen infatuated withmuch-older movie star 'Robert Montgomery (I)' in Once More, My Darling (1949) . At full-throttle as a star in the early 1950s, Ann transitioned easilyamong glossy operettas, wide-eyed comedies and all-out melodramas, someof which tended to be overbaked and, thereby, overplayed. When notdishing out the high dramatics of an adopted girl searching for herbirth mother in Our Very Own (1950) or a wrongly-convictedmurderess in Thunder on the Hill (1951) , she was introducingclassic standards as wife to 'Mario Lanza (I)' in The Great Caruso (1951) or playing pert and perky in such lightconfections as Katie Did It (1951) . A well-embraced romanticleading lady, she made her last film for Universal playing a Russiancountess courted by 'Gregory Peck' in The World in His Arms (1952) .
MGM eventually optioned her for its musical outings, having borrowed hera couple of times previously. She became a chief operatic rival to'Kathryn Grayson' at the studio during that time. Grayson,however, fared much better than Ann, who was given rather stiltedvehicles. Catching 'Howard Keel' 's roving eye while costumed to the nines inthe underwhelming Rose Marie (1954) and his daughter in Kismet (1955) , she also gussied up other stiff proceedings like The Student Prince (1954) and The King's Thief (1955) will attest. Unfortunately, Ann came to MGM at the tail end of theGolden Age of musicals and probably suffered for it.
She was dropped bythe studio in 1956. She reunited with old Universal co-star Donald O'Connor in The Buster Keaton Story (1957) , but both were oddly cast withAnn playing a totally fictional love interest to O'Connor's Keaton. Annended her career on a high note, however, playing the tragic title rolein the The Helen Morgan Story (1957) opposite a gorgeouslysmirking 'Paul Newman (I)' . Ann has a field day as thepiano-sitting, kerchief-holding, liquor-swilling torch singer whosetrain wreck of a personal life was destined for celluloid. Disappointing for Ann personally, no doubt, was that her singing voicehad to be dubbed (albeit superbly) by the highly emotive, non-operaticsongstress 'Gogi Grant' .
Through with films, Ann's later concentration (besides family life) wasthe musical stage, with dramatic TV guest appearances thrown in now andthen. Over the years a number of classic songs have been tailored tosuit Ann's glorious lyric soprano both in concert form and on the civiclight opera/summer stock stages. "The Sound of Music", "The King andI", "Carnival", "Bittersweet", "South Pacific", "Show Boat" and "ALittle Night Music" are but a few of her stage credits. During thistime Ann appeared as the typical American housewife for Hostess in itsTwinkie, cupcake and fruit pie commercials, a job that lasted well overa decade. She made the last of her sporadic TV guest appearances on "Quincy M.
E. " (1976) and "Murder, She Wrote" (1984) inthe mid-'80s. Married since 1953 to Dr. James McNulty, the brother oflate Irish tenor 'Dennis Day (I)' , she is the mother of five. Anncontinues to be seen occasionally at social functions and conventions.
|1||Another Part of the Forest||1948||as Regina Hubbard|
|2||Cancer Fund Film Notables Attend Glittering Benefits||1951||as Herself|
|3||Crawford at Warners||2008||as Veda Pierce Forrester|
|4||The Dinah Shore Chevy Show||1956||as Herself - Guest|
|5||A Most Unusual Man||1993||as Herself|
|6||A Womans Vengeance||1948||as Doris Mead|
|7||All the Brothers Were Valiant||1953||as Priscilla 'Pris' Holt|
|8||All-Star Party for Dutch Reagan||1985||as Herself|
|9||Babes on Swing Street||1944||as Carol Curtis|
|10||Bowery to Broadway||1944||as Bessie Jo Kirby|
|11||Brute Force||1947||as Ruth|
|12||Chip Off the Old Block||1944||as Glory Marlow III|
|13||Crusade for Prayer||1952||as Herself|
|14||Free for All||1949||as Alva Abbott|
|15||Katie Did It||1951||as Katherine Standish|
|16||Killer McCoy||1947||as Sheila Carrson|
|18||Mildred Pierce||1945||as Veda Pierce|
|19||Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid||1948||as Mermaid|
|20||Once More, My Darling||1949||as Marita Connell|
|21||One Minute to Zero||1952||as Mrs. Linda Day|
|22||Our Very Own||1950||as Gail Macaulay|
|23||Red Canyon||1949||as Lucy Bostel|
|24||Rose Marie||1954||as Rose Marie Lemaitre|
|25||Sally and Saint Anne||1952||as Sally O'Moyne|
|26||Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Night Life||1952||as Herself|
|27||Slander||1957||as Connie Martin|
|28||Swell Guy||1946||as Marian Tyler|
|29||The 18th Annual Academy Awards||1946||as Herself - Nominee: Best Actress in Supporting Role|
|30||The 21th Annual Academy Awards||1949||as Herself - Presenter: Best Sound Recording|
|31||The 22th Annual Academy Awards||1950||as Herself - Performer|
|32||The 26th Annual Academy Awards||1954||as Herself - Performer|
|33||The 30th Annual Academy Awards||1958||as Herself - Performer|
|34||The 32nd Annual Academy Awards||1960||as Herself - Accepts Documentary Award|
|35||The Buster Keaton Story||1957||as Gloria Brent|
|36||The Citadel||1960||as Christine Barlow|
|37||The Golden Horde||1951||as Princess Shalimar|
|38||The Great Caruso||1951||as Dorothy Benjamin|
|39||The Helen Morgan Story||1957||as Helen Morgan|
|40||The House in the Square||1951||as Helen Pettigrew/Martha Forsyth|