Born 1902 as Dorothy Walton Gatley at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, American theatre, motion picture, radio, and television actress Ann Harding graduated from East Orange High School. Having gained her initial acting experience in school drama classes, she decided on a career as an actress and moved to New York City. Because her father opposed her career choice, she used the stage name Ann Harding.
A regular player on Broadway and in regional theater in the 1920s, in the 1930s, Harding was one of the first actresses to gain fame in the new medium of "talking pictures", and she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931 for her work in Holiday.
After initial work as a script reader, Harding began to win roles on Broadway and in regional theaters, primarily in Pennsylvania. She moved to California to begin working in movies, which were just then beginning to include sound. Her work in plays had given her notable diction and stage presence, and she became a leading lady. By the late 1930s, she was becoming stereotyped as the beautiful, innocent, self-sacrificing woman, and film work became harder for her to obtain.
Harding also worked occasionally in television between 1955 and 1965, and she appeared in two plays in the early 1960s, returning to the stage after an absence of over 30 years, including the lead in "The Corn is Green" in 1964 at the Studio Theater in Buffalo, New York.
After her 1965 retirement, Harding resided in Sherman Oaks, California. She died in 1981 at the age of 79.
For her contributions to the motion picture and television industries, Harding has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — one in the Motion Pictures section 6201 Hollywood Boulevard and one in the Television section at 6850 Hollywood Boulevard.
Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of Ann Harding in the 1920s and 1930s.