Real name: Harriette Arlene Lake
Birthdate: January 22, 1909
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Ann Sothern (January 22, 1909 – March 15, 2001) was an American film actress with a career spanning six decades.
Born Harriette Arlene Lake in Valley City, North Dakota, Sothern left home very young and began her film career as an extra in Broadway Nights (1927), aged 18. During 1929 and 1930, she appeared as a chorus girl in such films as The Show of Shows and Whoopee! (as one of the "Goldwyn Girls"). She appeared on Broadway and had a trained voice (and occasionally sang in films).
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.
On November 24, 1941 Sothern appeared in the Lux Radio Theater adaptation of Maisie Was a Lady, and the popularity of the film series led to her own radio program, The Adventures of Maisie, broadcast on CBS from 1945 to 1947, on Mutual in 1952 and in syndication from 1949 to 1953.
During this period, Sothern made occasional guest appearances on The Lucy Show with her old RKO and MGM cohort, Lucille Ball. In 1967 her old boss, Desi Arnaz, the first husband of Lucille Ball, approached her to co-star with Eve Arden as battling neighbors in The Mothers-in-Law but NBC felt that Sothern's style was too similar to Arden's. The very differently styled and younger Kaye Ballard got the part.
Her role as the neighbor of elderly sisters, played by Lillian Gish and Bette Davis, brought Sothern her first and only Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination after 60 years in the business. However, she lost to Olympia Dukakis.
She was married to actor Robert Sterling from 1943 to 1949, and their daughter is actress Tisha Sterling. She retired from acting, and moved in 1984 to Ketchum, Idaho, where she died from heart failure at the age of 92. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures (1612 Vine Street) and television (1634 Vine Street).