Born Harriette Arlene Lake in Valley City, North Dakota, Sothern began her film career as an extra in silent films in 1927. In 1934 she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures but after two years the studio released her from this contract, and she was signed by RKO Pictures in 1936. After a string of films that failed to attract an audience, Sothern left RKO and was signed to MGM, making her first film for them in 1939.
In a role originally intended for Jean Harlow, Sothern was cast as Maisie, a bold, brassy but somewhat scatter-brained showgirl who was also an amateur detective. After years of trying, Sothern had her first real success, and a string of Maisie film sequels and radio plays took her through to the late forties. She appeared in A Letter to Three Wives in (1949) and the film earned her excellent reviews, but did not stimulate her career.
By the fifties she was rarely seen in films and was appearing regularly in television. She was the lead in the series Private Secretary from 1953 until 1957, and The Ann Sothern Show from 1958 until 1959. Both programs were very successful and earned Sothern four Emmy Award nominations, but a bout of hepatitis had left her with a bloated and overweight appearance, and she preferred not to be seen. In 1965 she was heard as the voice of the car in the series My Mother The Car.
She resumed working sporadically on television until the mid 1980s, including a television remake of her earlier success A Letter To Three Wives. Her final film role was in The Whales of August in 1987. Her role as the neighbour of elderly sisters, played by Lillian Gish and Bette Davis, with romantic interest provided by Vincent Price, brought Sothern an Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination.
She retired from acting, and died at her home in Ketchum, Idaho from heart failure.
She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - for Motion Pictures, at 1612 Vine St, and for Television, at 1634 Vine St.
Ann Sothern Facts
|Birth Name||Harriette Lake|
|Birthday||January 22, 1909|
|Birthplace||Valley City, North Dakota, USA|
|Date of death||March 15, 2001 (age 92)|
|Height||5' 1½" (1m56) How tall is Ann Sothern compared to you?|
|Private Secretary: Three's a Crowd|
|Lady In A Cage|
|A Letter To Three Wives|
|An Affair to Remember / Leave Her to Heaven / A Letter to Three Wives / Peyton Place|
|The Blue Gardenia|
|The Maisie Collection: Volume 2|
|Captains and the Kings|
|The Maisie Collection: Volume 1|
|Words And Music|