- Birth name:
- Dorothy Walton Gatley
- Date of Birth:
- 1 September 1901 Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USA
- 5' 2" (1.57 m)
Ann Harding was born on August 7, 1901 in Fort Sam Houston, Texas with the birth name of Dorothy Walton Gatley. The daughter of an Army captain and his wife, Ann spent a lot of time traveling around the US and Cuba whenever her West Point educated father was transferred. Moving to such places as Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Cuba, and Pennsylvania, made it very hard to put down roots. By the time the family settled in New York, Ann was well out of high school and began work with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, her college education put aside due to financial difficulties. She already had some stage experience with a couple of productions, when she was a high school student in Pennsylvania, but that was as far as it went. She left the insurance company welfare division when she went to work as a reader with the Famous Players-Laskey Company. After attending a play in New York City, Ann discovered that the thespian company was auditioning for a part and decided to give it a try. She was asked to come back the next evening whereupon she read for a larger part and to her surprise she won it. She received critical acclaim for her role in INHERITORS (1921) and decided she would continue her budding career. Her father was less than pleased with Ann's decision, but she felt it was her life and she would decide what was right for her. For the next eight years Ann performed in several stage productions. After all she was Broadway's bright new star. Ann was signed by Pathe' Studios in 1929 and performed in her first film as Mary Hutton in PARIS BOUND. Her co-star was Frederic March. Later that year she starred with her husband Harry Bannister (whom she married in 1926 and divorced in 1932). Her roll in CONDEMNED rounded out her work for that year, a film in which she was loaned out to United Artists. Back at Pathe' she starred in HOLIDAY (1930), the film which solidified her image as an actress. Next up was THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST which again had her husband in the second role. Ann was then loaned out to Fox for her portrayal of Lady Isabella in EAST LYNNE (1931). By this time, her husband was visiting the set trying to tell the director how to run the film. He was finally banned from coming onto the set and it hastened the demise of Ann's marriage to him. In 1932 she appeared in four films -- PRESTIGE, WESTWARD PASSAGE, THE CONQUERORS, and THE ANIMAL KINGDOM. Four more followed in 1933. Ann didn't appear in a lot of movies like some of the performers of her day because she was very careful in choosing the roles she played. She was more concerned with quality rather than quantity. After appearing in LOVE FROM A STRANGER in 1937 (a British production), Ann took a hiatus from acting until 1942's EYES IN THE NIGHT. After CHRISTMAS EVE in 1947, Ann was again out of films until she got second billing in TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE in 1950. Again, after THE UNKNOWN MAN in 1951, Ann again wasn't seen on the silver screen until STRANGE INTRUDER (1956). THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT that same year was to be her last before big screen audiences was her to be her last, but Ann was far from idle. She was busy appearing on stage and especially in television in such programs as Kraft Television Theater, The Defenders, Dr. Kildare, and Ben Casey. On September 1, 1981, Ann died in Sherman Oaks, California. She was 80 years old.