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Dorothy Hart in 1951
|Born||(1922-04-04)April 4, 1922
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||July 11, 2004(2004-07-11) (aged 82)
|Resting place||Lewis Memorial Park, Asheville, North Carolina|
|Alma mater||Case Western Reserve University|
|Spouse(s)||Frederick Pittera (1954-2004) (her death)|
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Hart was the daughter of insurance executive Walter Hart. She became a model in her late teens, and was signed by Columbia in 1946. Her contract stipulated "A-movies only". Although one of the top supporting actresses of her day, she was frequently cast in B movies. Dorothy was attractive, standing 5 ft 6 in, with green eyes and auburn hair.
Hart attended Denison University for one year 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 she resolved on a singing career.
In 1944, a newspaper friend submitted her photo[note 1] 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, 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.
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."
On August 25, 1946, Hart signed a contract with Columbia Pictures. Her first big movie break came, starring alongside Randolph Scott, in the 1947 Western Gunfighters, a Cinecolor film for Columbia.
While filming in October, 1946 Hart was sent home from location with an illness which was diagnosed as influenza. 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. The Painted Desert. 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. 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.
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. She also co-starred in Outside the Wall (1950) and I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951).
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.
- Gunfighters (1947)
- Larceny (1948)
- The Countess of Monte Cristo (1948)
- The Naked City (1948)
- Take One False Step (1949)
- The Story of Molly X (1949)
- Undertow (1949)
- Calamity Jane and Sam Bass (1949)
- Outside the Wall (1950)
- I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951)
- Raton Pass (1951)
- Tarzan's Savage Fury (1952)
- Loan Shark (1952)
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