Dorothy Hart

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Dorothy Hart
Dorothy Hart 1951.jpg
Dorothy Hart in 1951
Born (1922-04-04)April 4, 1922
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Died July 11, 2004(2004-07-11) (aged 82)
Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.
Resting place Lewis Memorial Park, Asheville, North Carolina
Alma mater Case Western Reserve University
Occupation Film actress
Years active 1947-1955
Spouse(s) Frederick Pittera (1954-2004) (her death)
Parent(s) Walter Hart

Dorothy Hart (April 4, 1922 – July 11, 2004) was an American screen actress, mostly in supporting roles. She portrayed Howard Duff's fiancée in the 1948 film The Naked City.[1][2]


Born in Cleveland, Ohio,[3] Hart was the daughter of insurance executive Walter Hart.[4] She became a model in her late teens, and was signed by Columbia in 1946. Her contract stipulated "A-movies only". Although one of the top supporting actresses of her day,[citation needed] she was frequently cast in B movies. Dorothy was attractive, standing 5 ft 6 in, with green eyes and auburn hair.

Hart attended Denison University for one year[5] before graduating from Case Western Reserve University with a B.A. degree. She was also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. After gaining some experience at the Cleveland Play House[6] she resolved on a singing career.

In 1944, a newspaper friend submitted her photo[note 1][7] in the Columbia Pictures "National Cinderella Cover Girl Contest of 1944." Hart had saved enough money to go to New York when she learned that she was high on the list of Cover Girl finalists. After winning the contest,[8] the studio paid for her trip in August 1944, and she was given a screen test for the Rita Hayworth film "Tonight and Every Night", as her contest award.[9]

Winning the "National Cinderella Cover Girl Contest" brought with it a contract for Hart to be a model with the Harry Conover agency, which in turn led to pictures of her "appearing in fashionable magazines all over the world."[10]

Film career

On August 25, 1946, Hart signed a contract with Columbia Pictures.[11] Her first big movie break came, starring alongside Randolph Scott, in the 1947 Western Gunfighters, a Technicolor film for Columbia.

While filming in October, 1946 Hart was sent home from location with an illness which was diagnosed as influenza.[12] In February, 1947 she was injured during horseback sequences in Arizona. Minor corrective surgery was performed at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, California.[13] The Painted Desert.[14] was one of the main sites utilized for this movie. Barbara Britton played the female lead in the adventure drama with Hart heading up the supporting cast.

Columnist Hedda Hopper reported in a June 1947 column that Mary Pickford was suing Dorothy Hart for a sum of $79,000 because the young actress refused to accept a role in the film There Goes Lona Henry.[15] Pickford stated in an interview that she hoped to take an unknown girl and make her into a great star. Hart refused the role because she did not want to sign away seven years of her career for a single movie opportunity.[16]

In 1948, Hart made Larceny with Shelley Winters and The Countess of Monte Cristo with Sonja Henie, both for Universal Pictures. The Naked City, starring Barry Fitzgerald, premiered on March 10, 1948. Hart became the tenth actress to portray Jane when she appeared opposite Lex Barker as Tarzan in Tarzan's Savage Fury.[17] She also co-starred in Outside the Wall (1950) and I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951).[6]

United Nations

In 1952, Hart left acting to work with the American Association for the United Nations in New York. The organization's first female entertainer, she spoke at the United Nations and was an observer at the 1957-1958 meeting of the World Federation of United Nations in Geneva.[10]

Personal life

Hart was twice married and divorced. She died of Alzheimer's Disease on July 11, 2004, in Asheville, North Carolina, at age 82. She was survived by a son, a sister, and three grandchildren.[18]



  1. ^ The caption for a photograph of Hart that was distributed by the Newspaper Enterprise Association in July 1944 says, "Wounded war veterans at Crile General hospital in Parma, O." selected Hart "as Greater Cleveland's entrant in the National Cinderella Cover Girl Contest".


  1. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Naked City Opens Today', March 10, 1948, Page 18.
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Camera Catches Pulse of Naked City', March 11, 1948, Page 23.
  3. ^ Lentz, Harris M. III (2005). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2004: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. p. 159. ISBN 9780786452095. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  4. ^ "'Cinderella' Takes Film Offer After 2-Year Holdout". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. Associated Press. August 26, 1946. p. 10. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ Hartt, Julian (September 11, 1946). "Dorothy Hart Gets Wise". The Times. Indiana, Munster. International News Service. p. 9. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ a b "Dorothy Hart in Unusual Role in Premiere Film". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. April 1, 1951. p. 66. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "'Cover Girl Of 1944'". The Akron Beacon Journal. Ohio, Akron. Newspaper Enterprise Association. July 20, 1944. p. 17. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "(untitled brief)". The Sandusky Register. Ohio, Sandusky. Associated Press. July 19, 1944. p. 4. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Showmen's Trade Review, 'Winner Comes To Town', August 5, 1944, Page 26.
  10. ^ a b Hilton, Tina (April 15, 1988). "A gallant lady may make a comeback". Asheville Citizen-Times. North Carolina, Asheville. p. 38. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via  open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ "Cinderella Girl Signs Film Contract". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. United Press. August 26, 1946. p. 5. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via  open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Influenza Attack Fells Dorothy Hart', October 23, 1946, Page A12.
  13. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Injured Film Actress Will Go Under Knife', February 22, 1947, Page 8.
  14. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Desert Saga Scheduled', June 20, 1947, Page A3.
  15. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Hedda Hopper Looking At Hollywood', June 2, 1947, Page A3.
  16. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Beautiful Starlet Would Save The World', November 7, 1948, Page D1.
  17. ^ Los Angeles Times, 'Movieland Briefs', April 16, 1948, Page 22.
  18. ^ McLellan, Dennis (July 17, 2004). "Dorothy Hart, 82; actress began career as cover girl - The Boston Globe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 

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