Ann Rutherford (born November 2, 1920) is a Canadian/American actress in film, radio, and television. She has had a long career starring and co-starring in films, playing Polly Benedict on the big screen of the 1930s and 1940s, and on The Bob Newhart Show as Newhart's character's mother-in-law.
Her first film role was in Melody Trail in 1935. She appeared in seventeen films between 1935 and 1938. It was in 1938 that her first notable role came as Andy Hardy's girlfriend, Polly Benedict, in Judge Hardy's Children. In the long-running, Academy Award-winning Andy Hardy film series, she played Polly twelve times, with the last appearance being in Andy Hardy's Double Life in 1942.
She was born Therese Ann Rutherford to a former Metropolitan Opera tenor and an actress in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At an early age, she performed in various radio shows. She began her film career in starring roles in Waterfront Lady for Mascot Pictures in 1935. Mascot merged with Republic Pictures, and Miss Rutherford soon established herself as a popular leading lady of Westerns with Gene Autry and John Wayne. Afterward, she was placed under contract with MGM. At MGM, she appeared in such films as A Christmas Carol (1938) and Pride and Prejudice (1940). She was loaned to Selznick International to appear as Careen O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).
From 1937 until 1942, she portrayed Polly Benedict in the very successful Andy Hardy series. She also starred in a series of mystery/comedies with Red Skelton (Whistling in the Dark (1941), Whistling in Dixie (1942), and Whistling in Brooklyn (1943).
She left MGM to freelance in the early 1940s, starring in such films as Orchestra Wives (1942) (with the Glenn Miller Orchestra), Two O'Clock Courage (1945) and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).
She retired from films in 1950, but returned to her old studio in 1972 to make They Only Kill Their Masters, ironically (given the film's grisly name), the film was shot on the old Andy Hardy set.
On radio, Ann Rutherford replaced Penny Singleton as Blondie.
She was supposed to make a comeback out of retirement to play Rose Calvert in the 1997 blockbuster movie, Titanic (1997), but turned down the role, which went to Gloria Stuart.
In October 2004, she made a guest appearance with many fans at the Margaret Mitchell Birthday in Jonesboro, Georgia, to honor Gone With the Wind, and she even signed autographs and reminisced old times at this historic event.
On November 2, 2005, Rutherford celebrated her 85th birthday surrounded by her fans & friends at a luncheon in Beverly Hills, California. Neither Evelyn Keyes (who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease) nor Olivia de Havilland, her two surviving Gone With the Wind co-stars, was able to attend.
Rutherford was married twice. On Christmas Eve, 1942, she married David May, and the couple, had a girl, Gloria May (Born 1943). They were divorced in 1953, and in that same year, she married producer William Dozier of Batman fame of the 1960s. Dozier died in 1991.