She is one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Blyth was born August 16, 1928 in Mount Kisco, New York, to Harry and Nan Lynch Blyth. After her parents separated, she, her mother, and sister moved to a walk-up apartment on E31st Street in New York City, where her mother took in ironing. Blyth attended St. Patrick's School in Manhattan.
Blyth performed on children's radio shows in New York for six years. Her first acting role was on Broadway in Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine (from 1941 until 1942). She played the part of Paul Lukas's daughter, Babette. The play ran for 378 performances, and won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. After the New York run, the play went on tour, and while in Los Angeles, Blyth was offered a contract with Universal Studios.
Blyth began her acting career initially as "Anne Blyth," but changed the spelling of her first name back to "Ann" at the beginning of her film career. She made her film debut in 1944, teamed with Donald O'Connor in the teen-age musical Chip Off the Old Block. In musical films such as Babes on Swing Street, and Bowery to Broadway (both 1944), she played the part of the sweet and demure teenager.
On loan to Warner Brothers Blyth was cast "against type" as Veda Pierce, the scheming, ungrateful daughter of Joan Crawford in the 1945 film Mildred Pierce. Her dramatic portrayal won her outstanding reviews and she received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Blyth was only 16 when she made the Michael Curtiz film. (Crawford won the Best Actress award for that film.)
After Mildred Pierce, Blyth sustained a broken back while tobogganing in Snow Valley, and was not able to fully capitalize on the film's success, although she was still able to make a few movies. She played the part of Regina Hubbard in Another Part of the Forest (a 1948 prequel to The Little Foxes), and achieved success playing a mermaid in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid. Her other films include: Our Very Own (with Farley Granger), The Great Caruso (with Mario Lanza), One Minute to Zero (with Robert Mitchum), The World in His Arms (with Gregory Peck), Rose Marie, The Student Prince, Kismet, The Buster Keaton Story, and her final film role, The Helen Morgan Story (with Paul Newman). Even though her voice was more like the original Helen Morgan, her vocals were dubbed by Gogi Grant. That soundtrack was much more successful than the film itself.
During the late 1950s and 1960s Blyth worked in musical theater, summer stock, and television, including co- starring opposite James Donald in the 1960 adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel, The Citadel. She guest-starred on October 8, 1958, on NBC The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford, the episode in which the 1959 Ford vehicles were introduced to the public. In "The Jenny Tannen Story". the second season finale of the long-running western Wagon Train, broadcast on June 24, 1959, she played the dual role of a mother and daughter.
She appeared as Martha in Suspected in December 1959 in the CBS anthology series, The DuPont Show with June Allyson. Blyth also became the spokesperson for Hostess Cupcakes. Her last television appearances were in episodes of Quincy, M.E. in 1983 and Murder, She Wrote in 1985.
Blyth has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6733 Hollywood Boulevard for her contribution to motion pictures.
In 1953, Blyth married obstetrician James McNulty, brother of singer Dennis Day, who had introduced them. The bridesmaids were actresses Joan Leslie, Jane Withers, and Betty Lynn. After her marriage, Blyth cut back somewhat to focus on raising their five children, Timothy Patrick (b. June 10, 1954); Maureen Ann (b. December 14, 1955); Kathleen Mary (b. December 23, 1957); Terence Grady (b. December 9, 1960); and Eileen Alana (b. April 10, 1963). In 1973, she and McNulty, both devout Catholics, were accorded the honorific rank of Lady and Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in a ceremony presided over by Cardinal Terence Cooke. McNulty died on May 13, 2007, in La Jolla.
In the December 1952 edition of Motion Picture and Television Magazine, Ann Blyth stated in an interview that she endorsed Dwight D. Eisenhower for president, the month before the 1952 presidential election.Film