After seeing Ann Richards in Sorry, Wrong Number
(1948) last night (complete with the de rigeur faux-British accent), and being surprised that she was Australian, I decided to look more into her filmography. I was even more surprised to find so much on her in the National Screen and Sound Archives. The above picture is from her debut 1936's It Isn't Done
, directed by the legendary Ken Hall. She would go on to star in Hall's Lovers and Luggers
(1937) and Dad and Dave Go To Town
(1938). She was Australia's number one female star in the late 1930s when Australia operated a smaller but similar studio system to that in the US. She ended up travelling to the US during the war where she attempted to make it in Hollywood. She started out at MGM and appeared notably in The Woman In The House
(1942), Random Harvest
(1942) opposite Greer Garson and Ronald Colman, Dr Gillespie's New Assistant
(1942), and Three Hearts For Julia
(1943) with Ann Sothern and Melvyn Douglas.
Despite the build-up, Ann was mainly relegated to supporting roles: she was intended for the lead in Love Letters
(1947), but the part was eventually given to Jennifer Jones and Ann was relegated to the girlfriend role. She would support Jones again in Love From A Stranger
in 1947. Similarly, in the brilliant Sorry, Wrong Number
, she plays Burt Lancaster's girlfriend until he dumps her for Barbara Stanwyck.
After 1948 Ann's roles were few. She married Edmund Angelo in 1949 and appeared in his 1952 film, Breakdown
. The couple had three children, and settled in the US. Ann later took to poetry, relasing volumes in 1971 and 1991. She also has been a fixture on the university lecture circuit throughout the US.
The picture below is from 1940's Ants In His Pants
, a rare Australian musical -which means, naturally, I'm dying to see it ;) Ann's on the left, and I belive that's Jean Hatton on the right, with Guy Hastings and American Will Mahoney in the middle looking ruffled.
I guess Ann's the perfect example of a famous Australian star who's barely remembered today. Unlike many Aussie actors of the time, she did do fairly well in the US, which grants her a degree of international fame today that she may not have had if she'd stayed in Australia.