Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Birthday Tribute to Ann Blyth

The lovely and remarkably talented actress Ann Blyth was born on this date in 1928.

Ann was just 16 when she made her fifth film, MILDRED PIERCE (1945), and she was nominated for the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress. Ann was unforgettable as Veda, Mildred's spoiled, nasty daughter who becomes entangled with her mother's second husband, played by Zachary Scott, with disastrous results.

Ann appeared in a wide variety of films, ranging from the film noir BRUTE FORCE (1947) to the Western RED CANYON (1949) to playing the young Regina Hubbard of THE LITTLE FOXES in ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST (1948), opposite heavyweights such as Fredric March, Dan Duryea, and Edmond O'Brien.

She also appeared in memorable comedies such as MR. PEABODY AND THE MERMAID (1948) opposite William Powell, ONCE MORE, MY DARLING (1949) with Robert Montgomery, and SALLY AND SAINT ANNE (1952), one of my childhood favorites.

Another Blyth film I watched many times while growing up was OUR VERY OWN (1950), in which Ann's character was shocked to learn she was adopted.

More recently, I fell in love with the film I'll NEVER FORGET YOU (1951), a moving time travel fantasy in which she stars opposite Tyrone Power. I highly recommend this haunting film, which is available on DVD.

Besides being a talented actress, Ann also possessed a fine soprano voice which was heard in several musicals, including ROSE MARIE (1954) and KISMET (1955). Her renditions of "Indian Love Call," "Stranger in Paradise," and "And This is My Beloved" are currently available on YouTube.

Her other credits include titles such as TOP O' THE MORNING (1949) with Bing Crosby, THUNDER ON THE HILL (1951) with Claudette Colbert, THE GREAT CARUSO (1951) with Mario Lanza, THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS (1952) with Gregory Peck, ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT (1953) with Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger, THE STUDENT PRINCE (1954) with Edmund Purdom, and the title role in THE HELEN MORGAN STORY (1957), costarring Paul Newman.

And as a child, I knew her as the Hostess Cupcakes Lady!

Off screen, Ann Blyth was happily married to Dr. James McNulty -- the brother of singer Dennis Day -- from 1953 until his death in 2007. The McNultys were the parents of five children.

Ann is still gorgeous today, as seen in a photo linked in this post from 2010.

Sending happiest wishes to a wonderful lady whose work has brought me great pleasure over the years.

Update: I celebrated Ann Blyth's birthday this evening with the very entertaining adventure film THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS (1952), costarring Gregory Peck.

2013 Update: Links to additional Blyth films reviewed in the past year: TOP O' THE MORNING (1949), THUNDER ON THE HILL (1951), ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952), and KISMET (1955), at which Blyth appeared in person at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Also, here's a report with photos of Ann Blyth's appearance at a screening of MILDRED PIERCE at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

2014 Update: Here's a review of the KISMET Blu-ray.

2015 Update: Here's my review of a great book on Ann by Jacqueline T. Lynch, ANN BLYTH: ACTRESS. SINGER. STAR., which fans of Ann will definitely want to pick up!

2018 Update: Here are reviews of ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT (1953) and THE GOLDEN HORDE (1951).

2020 Update: I've now reviewed THE KING'S THIEF (1955), as well as a new Blu-ray release of THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS (1952).

2021 Update: Here are reviews of the lovely new Blu-ray releases of THUNDER ON THE HILL (1951) and THE GREAT CARUSO (1951).


Blogger Estella said...

Laura, (it's been a while--life has been crazy!) thank you so much for this tribute to Ann Blyth, whom I love! Thanks especially for the link to a current photo of her--it was so fun to see how lovely she still is at age eighty-something. What an amazing woman, and isn't it great to hear about a happy "movie-star marriage" ? :0)

1:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Estella, what a great coincidence you dropped a line today in particular! I was thinking of you just this afternoon, when we went to the El Capitan and watched the organist -- I remembered you said you knew him at the time we saw LADY AND THE TRAMP. :) It's worth driving up to see the movie in L.A. just for the pleasure of listening to Disney music on the organ before the show.

So glad to know you share my love for Ann Blyth. Isn't she a gorgeous lady?

Best wishes,

8:53 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Ann Blyth gets a TCM salute for her birthday:,0,6634733.story

11:08 PM  

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