Ann Dvorak

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Ann Dvorak
Ann Dvorak.jpg
Ann Dvorak (1940s)
Anna McKimm

(1911-08-02)August 2, 1911 [1]
DiedDecember 10, 1979(1979-12-10) (aged 68)
EducationCatherine's Convent
Page School for Girls
Years active1916–52
Leslie Fenton
(m. 1932;div. 1945)

Igor Dega
(m. 1947;div. 1951)

Nicholas Wade
(m. 1951;died 1975)
Parent(s) Anna Lehr
Edwin McKim

Ann Dvorak (born Anna McKim; August 2, 1911 – December 10, 1979) was an American stage and film actress.


Asked how to pronounce her adopted surname, she told The Literary Digest in 1936: "My fake name is properly pronounced vor'shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock." [2]

Early years

Dvorak was born Anna McKim in New York City on August 2, 1911 to silent film actress Anna Lehr and actor/director Edwin McKim. While in New York, she attended St. Catherine's Convent. After moving to California, she attended Page School for Girls in Hollywood. [3]

Anna Lehr actress

Anna Lehr was an American silent film and stage actress.

Samuel Edwin McKim was an actor and director of American silent films.

She made her film debut when she was five years old in the silent film version of Ramona (1916) and was credited "Baby Anna Lehr". She continued in children's roles in The Man Hater (1917) and Five Dollar Plate (1920), but then stopped acting in films. Her parents separated in 1916 and divorced in 1920, and she was not to see her father again until 13 years later when she made a public plea to the press to help her find him.

<i>Ramona</i> (1916 film) 1916 film by Donald Crisp

Ramona is a 1916 American silent drama film directed by Donald Crisp based on Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel Ramona. The film is considered to be lost with only reel 5 preserved at the Library of Congress.


Paul Muni and Ann Dvorak in Scarface (1932) Scarface-Muni-Dvorak.jpg
Paul Muni and Ann Dvorak in Scarface (1932)

In the late 1920s, Dvorak worked as a dance instructor and gradually began to appear on film as a chorus girl. Her friend Karen Morley introduced her to Howard Hughes, who groomed her as a dramatic actress. She was a success in such pre-Code films as Scarface (1932) as Paul Muni's sister; in Three on a Match (1932) with Joan Blondell and Bette Davis as the doomed, unstable Vivian, in Love Is a Racket (1932) and in Sky Devils (1932) opposite Spencer Tracy. Known for her style and elegance, she was a popular leading lady for Warner Bros. during the 1930s, and appeared in numerous contemporary romances and melodramas.

Karen Morley American film actress

Karen Morley was an American film actress.

Howard Hughes American billionaire aviator, engineer, industrialist, and film producer

Howard Robard Hughes Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, record-setting pilot, engineer, film director, and philanthropist, known during his lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world. He first became prominent as a film producer, and then as an influential figure in the aviation industry. Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle—oddities that were caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain from a near-fatal plane crash, and increasing deafness.

<i>Scarface</i> (1932 film) 1932 American gangster film

Scarface is a 1932 American gangster film directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Hawks and Howard Hughes. The screenplay, by Ben Hecht, is loosely based on the 1929 novel by Armitage Trail which was inspired by Al Capone. The film stars Paul Muni as gangster Antonio "Tony" Camonte violently rises through the Chicago gangland. Meanwhile, Camonte pursues his bosses's mistress as Camonte's sister pursues his best hitman. In an overt tie to the life of Capone, one scene depicts a version of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.

At age 19, Dvorak eloped with Leslie Fenton, her English co-star from The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932), and they married March 17, 1932. [4] They left for a year-long honeymoon without giving adequate notice to the studio and in spite of her contractual obligations. This led to a period of litigation and pay dispute during which she discovered she was making the same amount of money as the boy who played her son in Three on a Match. She completed her contract on permanent suspension and then worked as a freelancer, but although she worked regularly, the quality of her scripts declined sharply.

Leslie Fenton actor, film director

Leslie Fenton was an English-born American actor and film director. He appeared in 62 films between 1923 and 1945.

<i>The Strange Love of Molly Louvain</i> 1932 film by Michael Curtiz

The Strange Love of Molly Louvain is a 1932 American pre-Code crime drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Ann Dvorak and Lee Tracy. The script was based on the play Tinsel Girl by Maurine Dallas Watkins.

She appeared as secretary Della Street to Donald Woods' Perry Mason in The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1937). She also acted on Broadway. With her then-husband, Leslie Fenton, Dvorak traveled to England where she supported the war effort by working as an ambulance driver and appeared in several British films. She appeared as a saloon singer in Abilene Town , released in 1946. The following year she showed she could handle comedy well by giving an assured performance in Out of the Blue (1947).

Della Street

Della Street is the fictional secretary of Perry Mason in the long-running series of novels, short stories, films, and radio and television programs featuring the fictional defense attorney created by Erle Stanley Gardner.

Donald Woods (actor) Canadian-born American film and television actor

Donald Woods was a Canadian-American film and television actor whose career in Hollywood spanned six decades.

Perry Mason fictional human

Perry Mason is an American fictional character, a criminal defense lawyer who is the main character in works of detective fiction written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Perry Mason is featured in more than 80 novels and short stories, most of which involve a client's murder trial. Typically, Mason establishes his client's innocence by implicating another character, who then confesses.

Later years and death

Dvorak's marriage to Fenton ended in divorce in 1946. In 1947, she married her second husband, Igor Dega, a Russian dancer who danced with her briefly in The Bachelor's Daughters . The marriage ended in divorce two years later.

Dvorak retired from the screen in 1951, when she married her third and last husband, Nicholas Wade, to whom she remained married until his death in 1975. She had no children. In 1959, she and her husband moved to Hawaii, a place she had always loved.

Several weeks before her death, Dvorak suffered severe stomach pains. She was diagnosed with cancer that had metastasized beyond cure. She died on December 10, 1979, aged 68, in Honolulu. [5] [6] She was cremated and her ashes scattered off Waikiki Beach.


Dvorak has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6321 Hollywood Boulevard for her contribution to motion pictures. It was dedicated February 8, 1960. [7]



1916 Ramona Ramona (age 4)
1917 The Man Hater Phemie's Little Sister
1929 The Hollywood Revue of 1929 Herself – Chorus GirlUncredited
So This Is College StudentUncredited
It's a Great Life Chorus GirlUncredited
Devil-May-Care ChorineUncredited
1930 Chasing Rainbows
The Woman Racket Chorus GirlUncredited
Lord Byron of Broadway Chorus GirlUncredited
Free and Easy ChorineUncredited
Children of Pleasure Chorus GirlUncredited
Estrellados ChorineUncredited
Our Blushing Brides One of the 'Quartet' of Models with TonyUncredited
Way Out West Carnival Show GirlUncredited
Good News StudentUncredited
Doughboys ChorineScenes deleted
The March of Time Chorus GirlUncredited
Love in the Rough Chorus GirlUncredited
Madam Satan Zeppelin RevelerUncredited
War Nurse Nurse in VA HospitalUncredited
1931 Dance, Fools, Dance Chorus GirlUncredited
A Tailor Made Man BitUncredited
Just a Gigolo Cafe PatronUncredited
Politics Rally Audience ExtraUncredited
Son of India Village DancerUncredited
Stranger in Town Marian Crickle
This Modern Age Party GuestUncredited
The Guardsman Fan Saying 'There He Is'Uncredited
1932 Sky Devils Mary Way
Scarface Cesca Camonte
The Crowd Roars Lee Merrick
The Strange Love of Molly Louvain Molly Louvain
Love Is a Racket Sally Condon
Crooner Judith 'Judy' Mason
Three on a Match Vivian Revere
1933 The Way to Love Madeleine
College Coach Claire Gore
1934 Massacre Lydia
Heat Lightning Myra
Side Streets Marguerite Gilbert
Midnight Alibi Joan Morley
Friends of Mr. Sweeney Miss Beulah Boyd
Housewife Nan
I Sell Anything Barbara
Gentlemen Are Born Susan Merrill
Murder in the Clouds Judy
1935 Sweet Music Bonnie Haydon
G Men Jean Morgan
Bright Lights Fay Wilson
Dr. Socrates Josephine Gray
Thanks a Million Sally Mason
1937 We Who Are About to Die Miss Connie Stewart
Racing Lady Ruth Martin
Midnight Court Carol O'Neill
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop Della Street
She's No Lady Jerry
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round Ann Rogers
1938 Merrily We Live Minerva Harlan
Gangs of New York Connie Benson
1939 Blind Alley Mary
Stronger Than Desire Eva McLain
1940 Cafe Hostess Jo
Girls of the Road Kay Warren
1942 This Was Paris Ann Morgan
1943 Squadron Leader X Barbara Lucas
Escape to Danger Joan Grahame
1945 Flame of Barbary Coast 'Flaxen' Tarry
Masquerade in Mexico Helen Grant
1946 Abilene Town Rita
The Bachelor's Daughters Terry Wilson
1947 Out of the Blue Olive Jensen
The Private Affairs of Bel Ami Claire Madeleine Forestier
The Long Night Charlene
1948 The Walls of Jericho Belle Connors
1950 Our Very Own Mrs. Gert Lynch
A Life of Her Own Mary Ashlon
The Return of Jesse James Susan (Sue) Ellen Younger
Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone Connie Kepplar
1951 I Was an American Spy Mrs. Claire 'High Pockets' Phillips
The Secret of Convict Lake Rachel Schaeffer

Short subjects

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  1. Rice, Christina (2013). Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. Pg. 13.
  2. Funk, Charles Earle (1936). What's the name, please? A guide to the correct pronunciation of current prominent names. New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls.
  3. "Dvorak Details". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle . June 12, 1932. p. 59. Retrieved September 15, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  4. "Ann Dvorak, Actor Marry After Airplane Elopement". Chicago Tribune . March 18, 1932. p. 8. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  5. Obituary, Honolulu Star-Bulletin , October 14, 1965
  6. Ann Dvorak, Los Angeles Times, 24 December 1979
  7. "Ann Dvorak". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved September 16, 2015.