Ann Dvorak

Ann Dvorak (born Anna McKim; August 2, 1911 – December 10, 1979) was an American stage and film actress.

Ann Dvorak
Dvorak in 1940s
Anna McKimm

(1911-08-02)August 2, 1911[1]
DiedDecember 10, 1979(1979-12-10) (aged 68)
EducationCatherine's Convent
Page School for Girls
Years active1916–52
Leslie Fenton
(m. 1932; div. 1945)

Igor Dega
(m. 1947; div. 1951)

Nicholas Wade
(m. 1951; died 1975)
Parent(s)Anna Lehr
Edwin McKim

Asked how to pronounce her adopted surname, she told The Literary Digest in 1936: "My fake name is properly pronounced vor'shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock."[2]

Early years

Dvorak was born Anna McKim in New York City on August 2, 1911 to silent film actress Anna Lehr and actor/director Edwin McKim. While in New York, she attended St. Catherine's Convent. After moving to California, she attended Page School for Girls in Hollywood.[3]

She made her film debut when she was five years old in the silent film version of Ramona (1916) and was credited "Baby Anna Lehr". She continued in children's roles in The Man Hater (1917) and Five Dollar Plate (1920), but then stopped acting in films. Her parents separated in 1916 and divorced in 1920, and she was not to see her father again until 13 years later when she made a public plea to the press to help her find him.


In the late 1920s, Dvorak worked as a dance instructor and gradually began to appear on film as a chorus girl. Her friend Karen Morley introduced her to Howard Hughes, who groomed her as a dramatic actress. She was a success in such pre-Code films as Scarface (1932) as Paul Muni's sister; in Three on a Match (1932) with Joan Blondell and Bette Davis as the doomed, unstable Vivian, in The Crowd Roars (1932) with James Cagney, and in Sky Devils (1932) opposite Spencer Tracy. Known for her style and elegance, she was a popular leading lady for Warner Bros. during the 1930s, and appeared in numerous contemporary romances and melodramas.

At age 19, Dvorak eloped with Leslie Fenton, her English co-star from The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932), and they married March 17, 1932.[4] They left for a year-long honeymoon without giving adequate notice to the studio and in spite of her contractual obligations. This led to a period of litigation and pay dispute during which she discovered she was making the same amount of money as the boy who played her son in Three on a Match. She completed her contract on permanent suspension and then worked as a freelancer, but although she worked regularly, the quality of her scripts declined sharply.

She appeared as secretary Della Street to Donald Woods' Perry Mason in The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1937). She also acted on Broadway. With her then-husband, Leslie Fenton, Dvorak traveled to England where she supported the war effort by working as an ambulance driver and appeared in several British films. She appeared as a saloon singer in Abilene Town, released in 1946. The following year she showed she could handle comedy well by giving an assured performance in Out of the Blue (1947).

Later years and death

Dvorak's marriage to Fenton ended in divorce in 1946. In 1947, she married her second husband, Igor Dega, a Russian dancer who danced with her briefly in The Bachelor's Daughters. The marriage ended in divorce two years later.

Dvorak retired from the screen in 1951, when she married her third and last husband, Nicholas Wade, to whom she remained married until his death in 1975. She had no children. In 1959, she and her husband moved to Hawaii, a place she had always loved.

Several weeks before her death, Dvorak suffered severe stomach pains. She was diagnosed with cancer that had metastasized beyond cure. She died on December 10, 1979, aged 68, in Honolulu.[5][6] She was cremated and her ashes scattered off Waikiki Beach.


Dvorak has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6321 Hollywood Boulevard for her contribution to motion pictures. It was dedicated February 8, 1960.[7]



Year Title Role Note
1916RamonaRamona (age 4)
1917The Man HaterPhemie's Little Sister
1929The Hollywood Revue of 1929Herself – Chorus GirlUncredited
So This Is CollegeStudentUncredited
It's a Great LifeChorus GirlUncredited
1930Chasing Rainbows
The Woman RacketChorus GirlUncredited
Lord Byron of BroadwayChorus GirlUncredited
Free and EasyChorineUncredited
Children of PleasureChorus GirlUncredited
Our Blushing BridesOne of the 'Quartet' of Models with TonyUncredited
Way Out WestCarnival Show GirlUncredited
Good NewsStudentUncredited
DoughboysChorineScenes deleted
The March of TimeChorus GirlUncredited
Love in the RoughChorus GirlUncredited
Madam SatanZeppelin RevelerUncredited
War NurseNurse in VA HospitalUncredited
1931Dance, Fools, DanceChorus GirlUncredited
A Tailor Made ManBitUncredited
Just a GigoloCafe PatronUncredited
PoliticsRally Audience ExtraUncredited
Son of IndiaVillage DancerUncredited
Stranger in TownMarian Crickle
This Modern AgeParty GuestUncredited
The GuardsmanFan Saying 'There He Is'Uncredited
1932Sky DevilsMary Way
ScarfaceCesca Camonte
The Crowd RoarsLee Merrick
The Strange Love of Molly LouvainMolly Louvain
Love Is a RacketSally Condon
CroonerJudith 'Judy' Mason
Three on a MatchVivian Revere
1933The Way to LoveMadeleine
College CoachClaire Gore
Heat LightningMyra
Side StreetsMarguerite Gilbert
Midnight AlibiJoan Morley
Friends of Mr. SweeneyMiss Beulah Boyd
I Sell AnythingBarbara
Gentlemen Are BornSusan Merrill
Murder in the CloudsJudy
1935Sweet MusicBonnie Haydon
G MenJean Morgan
Bright LightsFay Wilson
Dr. SocratesJosephine Gray
Thanks a MillionSally Mason
1937We Who Are About to DieMiss Connie Stewart
Racing LadyRuth Martin
Midnight CourtCarol O'Neill
The Case of the Stuttering BishopDella Street
She's No LadyJerry
Manhattan Merry-Go-RoundAnn Rogers
1938Merrily We LiveMinerva Harlan
Gangs of New YorkConnie Benson
1939Blind AlleyMary
Stronger Than DesireEva McLain
1940Cafe HostessJo
Girls of the RoadKay Warren
1942This Was ParisAnn Morgan
1943Squadron Leader XBarbara Lucas
Escape to DangerJoan Grahame
1945Flame of Barbary Coast'Flaxen' Tarry
Masquerade in MexicoHelen Grant
1946Abilene TownRita
The Bachelor's DaughtersTerry Wilson
1947Out of the BlueOlive Jensen
The Private Affairs of Bel AmiClaire Madeleine Forestier
The Long NightCharlene
1948The Walls of JerichoBelle Connors
1950Our Very OwnMrs. Gert Lynch
A Life of Her OwnMary Ashlon
The Return of Jesse JamesSusan (Sue) Ellen Younger
Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. MaloneConnie Kepplar
1951I Was an American SpyMrs. Claire 'High Pockets' Phillips
The Secret of Convict LakeRachel Schaeffer

Short subjects

  • The Five Dollar Plate (1920)
  • The Doll Shop (1929) as One of the Dolls (uncredited)
  • Manhattan Serenade (1929) as Chorus Girl (uncredited)
  • The Song Writers' Revue (1930) as Member of the Chorus (uncredited)
  • The Flower Garden (1930) as Member of Chorus
  • Pirates (1930) as Chorus Girl (uncredited)
  • The Snappy Caballero (1931)
  • A Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio (1935) as Herself (uncredited)


  1. Rice, Christina (2013). Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. Pg. 13.
  2. Funk, Charles Earle (1936). What's the name, please? A guide to the correct pronunciation of current prominent names. New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls.
  3. "Dvorak Details". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 12, 1932. p. 59. Retrieved September 15, 2015 via
  4. "Ann Dvorak, Actor Marry After Airplane Elopement". Chicago Tribune. March 18, 1932. p. 8. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  5. Obituary, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 14, 1965
  6. Ann Dvorak, Los Angeles Times, 24 December 1979
  7. "Ann Dvorak". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
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