Oscar Actors: Harding, Ann–Background, Career, Awards

Ann Harding was born Dorothy Walton Gatley, on August 7, 1902, and was the daughter of a prominent U.S. Army officer. She was raised primarily in East Orange, New Jersey and graduated from East Orange High School.

Having gained initial acting experience in school drama classes, she decided on a career as an actress and moved to New York City. Because her father opposed her career choice, she used the stage name Ann Harding.

After initial work as script reader, Harding began to win roles on Broadway and in regional theaters, primarily in Pennsylvania. She moved to California to begin working in movies.

Her work in plays had given her notable diction and stage presence, and she became a leading lady. By the late 1930s, she was becoming stereotyped as the beautiful, innocent, self-sacrificing woman, and film work became harder for her to obtain.

After marrying conductor Werner Janssen in 1937, she worked only sporadically, with two notable roles coming in Eyes in the Night (1942) and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956).

Harding also worked occasionally in TV between 1955 and 1965, and she appeared in two plays in the early 1960s, returning to the stage after an absence of over 30 years, including the lead in “The Corn is Green” in 1964 at the Studio Theater in Buffalo, New York.

After her 1965 retirement, she resided in Sherman Oaks, California. She died there September 1, 1981; age 79.