It was with a heavy heart that I learned of Ann Rutherford’s passing yesterday. She lived to be 94, which is itself an accomplishment, but my heart just breaks as we continue to lose these classic stars. Their era is fading away, and with them goes their memories.
I met Ann for the first time in November 2009 at the 70th anniversary of Gone with the Wind event in Marietta, GA . She was full of life, very spunky and those big brown eyes were quite the giveaway to her youthful self. I only spoke with her briefly. At the time I was pregnant and she congratulated me and said, “I hope you’ll show Gone with the Wind to your child…that is what is important, that is what keeps it going, people passing it down through generations. If you would have told me in 1939 that seventy years later I would be attending events for Gone with the Wind, I would thought you were off your rocker.” I told her that she was the reason I had watched the Andy Hardy movies (I am no Mickey Rooney fan) and she brightened. “Those were so fun, wholesome…” I commented how her character Polly and Andy, despite being sweethearts on and off through the film series, didn’t end up together. She said, “Goodness, no! You never end up with your childhood sweetheart. Besides, Polly was too good for him!”
During the Q&A portion of the event, Ann was asked by an audience member about Clark Gable. She said, “I didn’t have any scenes with Clark Gable….but I could look at him!” The whole place erupted into laughter. She also talked about how “cool” he was and how he was the perfect Rhett Butler.
In 2011, Ann attended what would be her last GWTW event in Marietta. The first morning there was a breakfast held at a country club. The other stars–Mickey Kuhn, Patrick Curtis, Morgan Brittany, along with several authors–were all in attendance. We were told that Ann was supposed to have been there but she was still asleep when they went to get her and decided best to let her sleep and to see her at the afternoon events.
My friend and I were mingling around the room and were one of the last to leave at the end of the breakfast. Imagine our surprise when who should waltz in at the last minute but Ann! She realized she had been left behind and had called a cab and got there herself! She was all bubbly about her crazy cab driver and so apologetic about being late. When the organizers told her she could have slept in, she said indignantly, “I said I would be here so I am here.” She posed for pictures with some of the remaining fans and could not have been sweeter or nicer.
The next day at the autograph event, we stood in line for over an hour. Ann was the last one in the line, after Patrick, Mickey, Morgan and authors such as Susan Lindsey and Ann Edwards. When we finally reached where Ann Rutherford was in sight, we realized why the line was taking so long. Ann was signing away, chatting with everyone who approached her and letting people take as many pictures as they wanted. Everyone wanted to stop and chat with her!
Ann was quite the little social bee back in her heyday. She is pictured often at nightclubs and hot spots, on the arms of many different famous men! Here are some shots of dear little Ann.
Ann caught the bouquet at Ann Shirley’s wedding in 1939. Looks like she was already interviewing grooms…
Adorable shot of Ann at the happenin’ nightclub Ciro’s. She’s seated next to Maureen O’Hara, who is still with us.
These two are her horsing around with Robert Stack, one of her frequent companions, 1940:
Bowling the night away:
With fellow actresses Maureen O’Hara, Brenda Marshall, Laraine Day and Rita Hayworth:
With Lana Turner and Joan Crawford:
Attending Susan Peters’ baby shower, along with Donna Reed, Laraine Day, June Allyson and others.
Catching up with frequent co-star Mickey Rooney ( I hope they get a quote from him in the next few days):
This one is interesting. She is modeling a replica of Scarlett’s barbecue dress from GWTW, being sold in stores to captialize on the film
Ann teaches us the fine art of sewing:
I learned today that Ann will be laid to rest next to her husband, producer William Dozier, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.
Rest in peace, Ann. “Can’t I stay up for the ball tomorrow night?”
Turner Classic Movies has announced that it is changing its programming on July 3 to honor Ann Rutherford. The new lineup is as follows:
6:00 AM Of Human Hearts (’38)
7:45 AM Love Finds Andy Hardy (’38)
9:30 AM Four Girls in White (’39)
10:45 AM Pride and Prejudice (’40)
12:45 PM Washington Melodrama (’41)
2:15 PM This Time for Keeps (’42)
3:30 PM Whistling In Dixie (’42)
4:45 PM Two O’Clock Courage (’45)
6:00 PM The Adventures of Don Juan (’48)
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