Dorothy Hart

Dorothy Hart
Dorothy Hart 1951.jpg
Dorothy Hart in 1951
Born (1922-04-04)April 4, 1922
Died July 11, 2004(2004-07-11) (aged 82)
Resting place Lewis Memorial Park, Asheville, North Carolina
Alma mater Case Western Reserve University
Occupation Film actress
Years active 1947-1955
Spouse(s) Frederick Pittera (1954-1965) (divorced)[citation needed]
Parent(s) Walter Hart

Dorothy Hart (April 4, 1922 – July 11, 2004) was an American screen actress, mostly in supporting roles. She portrayed Howard Duff's fiancée in the 1948 film The Naked City.[1][2]

Early life

Born in Cleveland, Ohio,[3] Hart was the daughter of insurance executive Walter Hart.[4]

Hart attended Denison University for one year[5] before graduating from Case Western Reserve University with a B.A. degree. She was also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. After gaining some experience at the Cleveland Play House[6] she decided on a singing career.

In 1944, a newspaper friend submitted her photo[note 1][7] in the Columbia Pictures "National Cinderella Cover Girl Contest of 1944." Hart had saved enough money to go to New York when she learned that she was high on the list of Cover Girl finalists. After winning the contest,[8] the studio paid for her trip in August 1944, and she was given a screen test for the Rita Hayworth film "Tonight and Every Night", as her contest award.[9]

Winning the "National Cinderella Cover Girl Contest" brought with it a contract for Hart to be a model with the Harry Conover agency, which in turn led to pictures of her "appearing in fashionable magazines all over the world."[10]

Film career

On August 25, 1946, Hart signed a contract with Columbia Pictures.[11] Her first big movie break came, starring alongside Randolph Scott and Barbara Britton in the 1947 Western, Gunfighters, a Cinecolor film for Columbia.[citation needed]

While filming in October, 1946 Hart was sent home from location with an illness which was diagnosed as influenza.[12] In February, 1947 she was injured during horseback sequences in Arizona. Minor corrective surgery was performed at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, California.[13] The Painted Desert.[14] was one of the main sites utilized for this movie. Barbara Britton played the female lead in the adventure drama with Hart heading up the supporting cast.

Columnist Hedda Hopper reported in a June 1947 column that Mary Pickford was suing Dorothy Hart for a sum of $79,000 because the young actress refused to accept a role in the film There Goes Lona Henry.[15] Pickford stated in an interview that she hoped to take an unknown girl and make her into a great star. Hart refused the role because she did not want to sign away seven years of her career for a single movie opportunity.[16]

In 1948, Hart made Larceny with Shelley Winters and The Countess of Monte Cristo with Sonja Henie, both for Universal Pictures. The Naked City, starring Barry Fitzgerald, premiered on March 10, 1948. Hart became the tenth actress to portray Jane when she appeared opposite Lex Barker as Tarzan in Tarzan's Savage Fury.[17] She also co-starred in Outside the Wall (1950) and I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951).[6]

United Nations

In 1952, Hart left acting to work with the American Association for the United Nations in New York. The organization's first female entertainer, she spoke at the United Nations and was an observer at the 1957-1958 meeting of the World Federation of United Nations in Geneva.[10]

Personal life

Hart was twice married and divorced. She died of Alzheimer's disease on July 11, 2004, in Asheville, North Carolina, at age 82. She was survived by a son, a sister, and three grandchildren.[18]


Year Title Role Notes
1947 Gunfighters Jane Banner
1947 Down to Earth The New Terpsichore
1947 The Exile Lady in Waiting Uncredited
1948 The Naked City Ruth Morrison
1948 Larceny Madeline
1948 The Countess of Monte Cristo Peg Manning
1949 Take One False Step Helen Gentling
1949 Calamity Jane and Sam Bass Katherine 'Kathy' Egan
1949 The Story of Molly X Anne
1949 Undertow Sally Lee
1950 Outside the Wall Ann Taylor
1951 Raton Pass Lena Casamajor
1951 I Was a Communist for the FBI Eve Merrick
1951 Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison Jane Pardue Uncredited
1952 Tarzan's Savage Fury Jane
1952 Loan Shark Ann Nelson