Ann Rutherford Titanic Old Rose, notable roles. (See previous article GONE WITH THE WIND Actress Ann Rutherford Dies. Gone with the Wind photo: Ann Rutherford as Carreen O’Hara, Evelyn Keyes as Suellen O’Hara.]
Ann Rutherford’s most notable screen roles were in films made away from both MGM and Wallace Beery. She was a young woman who falls for trumpeter George Montgomery in Archie Mayo’s 20th Century Fox musical Orchestra Wives (1942), and became enmeshed with (possibly) amnesiac Tom Conway in Anthony Mann’s RKO thriller Two O’Clock Courage (1945).
Following a couple of minor supporting roles — in the Danny Kaye comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) at Goldwyn and the Errol Flynn costumer The Adventures of Don Juan (1948) at Warner Bros. — and the female lead in the independently made cattle drama Operation Haylift (1950), opposite Bill Williams, Ann Rutherford retired from the screen. (Rutherford would later say that her Operation Haylift experience was anything but pleasant.)
She then turned to television, making regular television appearances in the ’50s (The Donna Reed Show, Playhouse 90, Robert Montgomery Presents) and sporadic ones in the ’60s (Perry Mason; Love, American Style).
In the ’70s, Ann Rutherford returned to the big screen in two feature films: James Goldstone’s critical and box-office flop They Only Kill Their Masters (1972), starring James Garner and Katharine Ross, and featuring fellow MGM alumni June Allyson and Peter Lawford; and Michael Winner’s Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976), in which Rutherford had a cameo along with dozens of Hollywood veterans (e.g., Dennis Morgan, Virginia Mayo, Richard Arlen, Ricardo Montalban, Dorothy Lamour, Joan Blondell, Yvonne De Carlo).
Ann Rutherford: Old Rose in Titanic?
In the late ’90s, Ann Rutherford said she was asked to read for the role of Old Rose in James Cameron’s Titanic, but declined.
"Honey, I retired over twenty five years ago! They wanted me to read for the part, and I just don’t do that anymore," she told Patrick Picking in 1998. "They told me I would have to go for location shooting in Mexico, and Poland. I said ‘Mexico? Are you crazy?!’ I’ve been to location shoots in Mexico before, and everyone ends up getting sick. And me, playing someone who’s 101 years old? I’m not there yet!"
Gloria Stuart, a minor leading lady at Universal in the early ’30s, played Old Rose. For her efforts, Stuart received one of Titanic‘s 14 Oscar nominations.
Ann Rutherford was married twice. Her first husband (1942-1953) was David May, of the May Company department store. Her second husband (1953 to his death in 1991) was producer William Dozier (formerly married to Joan Fontaine), among whose few film credits are the Joan Crawford melodrama Harriet Craig (1950) and the Lizabeth Scott / Edmond O’Brien crime thriller Two of a Kind (1951). Dozier was much more successful on television. His credits include The Green Hornet, Batman (which he also narrated), and The Loner.
Gone with the Wind cast members still living
Reportedly, there remain four surviving members of the Gone with the Wind cast: Alicia Rhett (India Wilkes), who’s 97; Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Wilkes), 96 next July 1; Mary Anderson (Maybelle Merriweather), 92; and Mickey Kuhn (Beau Wilkes), 80 next September 21.
Among the other Gone with the Wind cast members are Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel, Evelyn Keyes, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O’Neil, Cammie King, George Reeves, Butterfly McQueen, Victor Jory, Laura Hope Crews, Jane Darwell, Fred Crane, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Harry Davenport, Ona Munson, Isabel Jewell, Eric Linden, J.M. Kerrigan, Ward Bond, Yakima Canutt, and William Bakewell.