Ann Blyth is an American actress and singer, often cast in Hollywood musicals, possibly best known performance as Veda Pierce in the 1945 film "Mildred Pierce" which won her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is considered one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Born Ann Marie Blyth, she was born August 16, 1928 in Mount Kisco, New York to Harry and Nan Lynch Blyth. After they separated, her mother took Ann and her sister moved into a walk-up apartment on East 31st Street in New York City, where her mother took in ironing to support them. Blyth eventually attended St. Patrick's School in Manhattan.
Performed on children's radio shows in New York for six years, Blyth's first acting role was on Broadway in Lillian Hellman's "Watch on the Rhine" which ran from 1941 until 1942 for 378 performances. She won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for the performance. After the New York run, the play went on tour, and while in Los Angeles, she was offered a contract with Universal Studios.
Briefly using the name, "Anne Blythe," early in her career, she made her film debut in with Donald O'Connor in the teen-age musical, "Chip Off the Old Block," in 1944. She also appeared In musical films such as "Babes on Swing Street" and "Bowery to Broadway." Usually playing the part of the sweet and demure teenager, she played against type by portraying Veda Pierce, the scheming, ungrateful daughter of Joan Crawford in the 1945 film "Mildred Pierce" while on loan to Warner Brothers. She received a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Following "Mildred Pierce," Blyth sustained a broken back while tobogganing in Snow Valley and was not able to fully capitalize on the film's success, although she was still able to make a few movies. She had roles in the movies "Another Part of the Forest," "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid," "Our Very Own," "The Great Caruso," "One Minute to Zero" with Robert Mitchum), "The World in His Arms" with Gregory Peck), "Rose Marie," "The Student Prince," "Kismet," "The Buster Keaton Story" and her final film role, "The Helen Morgan Story" with Paul Newman.
In 1953, Blyth married obstetrician James McNulty, the brother of singer Dennis Day, and she cut back on her movie roles to focus on being a wife and mother to her five children. During the late 1950s and 1960s, Blyth mostly worked in musical theater, summer stock and television, including co-starring opposite James Donald in the 1960 adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel, "The Citadel." Both devout Catholics, she and McNulty were accorded the honorific rank of Lady and Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in a ceremony presided over by Cardinal Terence Cooke in 1973. McNulty passed away on May 13, 2007.
Her television appearances included roles on "The Ford Show with Tennessee Ernie Ford," "The Dick Powell Theatre," "The Christophers," "Saints and Sinners," "Wagon Train" and a fairly notable role as an immortal Cleopatra in an iconic episode of "The Twilight Zone." She also appearead in "Burke's Law," "Switch," "Quincy M.E." and "Murder, She Wrote." She also briefly became the spokesperson for Hostess Cupcakes, but she retired in 1987.
For her contributions to the film industry, Blyth has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6733 Hollywood Boulevard.