Short Info

DiedMarch 15, 2001, Ketchum, Idaho, United States
SpouseRobert Sterling, Roger Pryor
FactReplaced Kim Stanley at the last minute in A Death of Innocence (1971), featuring her daughter Tisha Sterling, when Stanley was unable to perform.
PaymentsEarned $25,000 (1957) from The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957)

Ann Sothern was born on January 22, 1909, in Valley City, North Dakota. Her parents were Mabel Ethel (née Harlow) and Walter Edward Sothern, a bank manager. She had two older sisters, Helena and Sylvia. Sothern began her career as a singer in vaudeville before moving to Hollywood in the 1930s. She made her film debut in the 1932 comedy Short Cut to Heaven.

Sothern’s career took off in 1939 when she was cast as Maisie Ravier in the comedy film Maisie. The film was a huge success and led to a series of sequels. Sothern went on to star in a number of other films throughout the 1940s, including Lady Be Good (1941), Panama Hattie (1942), and A Letter from Bataan (1943).

In 1948, Sothern starred in the sitcom The Ann Sothern Show, which ran for eight seasons. The show was a huge success and made Sothern a household name. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series in 1949.

Sothern continued to work in film and television throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Some of her notable roles during this time include the films No Time for Sergeants (1958) and Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960). She also guest-starred on a number of popular television shows, such as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

Sothern retired from acting in the early 1970s. She made her final film appearance in the 1974 comedy The Whirlwinds of Jeanette MacDonald. She died of congestive heart failure on March 15, 2001, at the age of 92.

Sothern was married three times. Her first husband was bandleader Roger Pryor; they were married from 1929 to 1931. Her second husband was actor Robert Sterling; they were married from 1942 to 1949. Her third husband was businessman Gerald O’Loughlin; they were married from 1954 until his death in 1985. Sothern had two children: Tisha Sterling, from her marriage to Robert Sterling, and Patricia Ann O’Loughlin, from her marriage to Gerald O’Loughlin.

General Info

Full NameAnn Sothern
DiedMarch 15, 2001, Ketchum, Idaho, United States
Height1.56 m
ProfessionActor, Businessperson, Singer-songwriter
EducationUniversity of Washington


SpouseRobert Sterling, Roger Pryor
ChildrenTisha Sterling
ParentsAnnette Yde-Lake, Walter J. Lake
SiblingsBonnie Lake, Marion Lake


AwardsGolden Globe Award for Television Achievement
NominationsAcademy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress Starring In A Regul...
MoviesA Letter to Three Wives, Maisie, The Whales of August, Lady Be Good, Panama Hattie, Gold Rush Maisie, Cry "Havoc", The Blue Gardenia, Maisie Was a Lady, Kid Millions, Nancy Goes to Rio, Brother Orchid, Undercover Maisie, Words and Music, Congo Maisie, Swing Shift Maisie, Ringside Maisie, Lady in a C...
TV ShowsThe Chicago Teddy Bears, My Mother the Car, The Ann Sothern Show, Private Secretary

Social profile links


The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957)$25,000 (1957)


1[on her MGM contract years] You didn't have to walk to the set. There was always a limousine. I never thought you stopped making money and grew old.
2I only like character parts. I never wanted to be a leading woman.
3[on her co-stars in The Whales of August (1987)] Lillian [Lillian Gish] is a person first and then a movie star. Bette [Bette Davis] is a movie star.
4People never think of me as a singer. But singers aren't always good actresses, and, thank goodness, they think of me as an actress.
5Listen, I never asked to be in show business. It was my mother's idea.
6[about her long-time friend Lucille Ball and her second series, The Ann Sothern Show (1958)] Lucy used to complain that she got all the parts I turned down. Now I produce the show, and she owns the studio. I guess that settles that.
7Sometimes I'll watch an old movie on television and, once in a while, one of mine -- such as April Showers (1948) -- will come on and I'll watch it. And you know something? I'm always amazed at what a lousy actress I was. I guess in the old days we just got by on glamour.
8Hollywood sold its stars on good looks and personality build-ups. We weren't really actresses in the true sense. We were just big names--the products of a good publicity department. Today's crop of actresses and actors have real talent. Good looks are no longer an essential part of the business.
9Good night . . . and stay happy.


1Ann Sothern has the distinction of co-starring (with Franchot Tone) in the first American film to play in newly-liberated Copenhagen (May, 1945), following Denmark's five-year German occupation in World War II; the film is 1939's "Fast and furious".
2Became a grandmother for the 1st time at age 57 when her daughter Tisha Sterling gave birth to a daughter, Heidi K. Baum, on March 3, 1966.
3Gave birth to her only child at age 35, a daughter Patricia Ann Sterling, aka Tisha Sterling, on December 10, 1944. Child's father was her 2nd husband, Robert Sterling.
4Although she was announced for Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), the part was eventually played by Lucille Ball.
5She sang on tour with husband Roger Pryor's band. They divorced in 1942.
6In the TV remake of A Letter to Three Wives (1949) (A Letter to Three Wives (1985)) she played the role played by Connie Gilchrist in the original.
7She replaced Jean Harlow in Maisie (1939) after the actress' unexpected death.
8She wanted to play the prostitute in Lost Horizon (1937) but the part went to Isabel Jewell.
9Sang the Oscar-winning song "The Last Time I Saw Paris" in Lady Be Good (1941).
10She was a lifelong conservative Republican who was a strong supporter of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush. She was also an outspoken anti-Communist who supported the HUAC hearings of the 1940s and 1950s, and attended several Republican National Conventions.
11Among her numerous business interests were a dress shop and gift shop in Idaho, a ranch for breeding Black Angus beef, a music publishing company and a sewing-center shop.
12After appearing in Fox's Hotel for Women (1939), she turned down the studio's offer of a long-term contract in favor of signing one with rival MGM. Fox reportedly then cut down Sothern's role in order to favor newcomer Linda Darnell.
13Replaced Kim Stanley at the last minute in A Death of Innocence (1971), featuring her daughter Tisha Sterling, when Stanley was unable to perform.
14Profiled in book "Funny Ladies" by Stephen Silverman. [1999]
15Good friends with Lucille Ball and Ann Dvorak, both of whom she met while working as a chorus girl (Ball at the Goldwyn Studios, Dvorak at MGM).
16A good friend of Zachary Scott's former wife, Elaine Anderson, stage manager for many Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Broadway productions, Ann introduced Elaine to novelist John Steinbeck, who eventually married her. Upon his death Elaine became the administrator of the writer's estate.
17Ex-daughter-in-law of Arthur Pryor.
18Her younger sister was the prolific singer/songwriter Bonnie Lake who wrote several popular standards such as "Sandman", "I've Got Your Number" and "Gracias" - songs later recorded by such big band stars as Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. In the 1940s, Bonnie founded the Bonnie Lake Music Publishing Company.
19Her mother was a concert singer who traveled; Ann followed suit studying singing and musical composition. In later years her mother became a diction and vocal coach and taught microphone technique for talking pictures.
20In 1953, her film career waned and she decided to give TV a try. When a TV series based on her popular "Maisie" film character failed to materialize, she made her series debut with Suzie McNamara on Private Secretary (1953).
21A singer in her early career, she sang with Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, among others. She was also a published songwriter and recorded two albums.
22Her paternal grandfather, Simon Lake, was the inventor of the modern submarine.
23Her sister Marion was once a secretary to columnist Abigail Van Buren ("Dear Abby").
24Portrayed Maisie Ravier on Mutual Radio's "The Adventures of Maisie" (1949- 1951).
25Had been so busy in the entertainment industry for so many years, once quipped that she had done everything in the business except rodeo.
26In her role as Susie McNamara on Private Secretary (1953) (which ran 1953-1958), Sothern played the first working woman on an American TV sitcom.
27Left visibly overweight by a bout of hepatitis, she only wore black outfits in her 1950s sitcoms Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958).
28Mother of look-alike, sound-alike actress Tisha Sterling. The two appeared in The Whales of August (1987), with Tisha, in the prelude scene, portraying a younger-day Ann.




Walking on Air1936Kit Bennett
My American Wife1936Mary Cantillon
Don't Gamble with Love1936Ann Edwards
Hell-Ship Morgan1936Mary Taylor
You May Be Next1936Fay Stevens
Grand Exit1935Adrienne Martin / Adeline Maxwell
The Girl Friend1935Linda Henry
Hooray for Love1935Patricia Thatcher
Eight Bells1935Marge Walker
Folies Bergère de Paris1935Mimi
Kid Millions1934Joan Larrabee
The Party's Over1934Ruth Walker
Blind Date1934Kitty
The Hell Cat1934Geraldine Sloane
Melody in Spring1934Jane Blodgett
Let's Fall in Love1933Jean
Broadway Thru a Keyhole1933Singer (uncredited)
Footlight Parade1933Lady at Bar in 'Shanghai Lil' (uncredited)
The March of Time1930Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Whoopee!1930Goldwyn Girl (uncredited)
Doughboys1930Chorine (uncredited)
Good News1930Student (uncredited)
Song of the West1930Bit Part (uncredited)
The Show of Shows1929Performer in 'Meet My Sister' & 'Bicycle Built for Two' Numbers (as Harriet Lake)
Broadway Nights1927Fan Dancer (uncredited)
The Whales of August1987Tisha Doughty
A Letter to Three Wives1985TV MovieMa Finney
The Little Dragons1979Angel
Flying High1978TV Series
The Manitou1978Mrs. Karmann
Captains and the Kings1976TV Mini-SeriesMrs. Finch
Medical Story1975TV SeriesMrs. Metulski
Crazy Mama1975Sheba
Golden Needles1974Fenzie
The Killing Kind1973Thelma Lambert
The Weekend Nun1972TV MovieMother Bonaventure
The Great Man's Whiskers1972TV MovieAunt Margaret Bancroft
Fol-de-Rol1972TV MovieQueen Gertrude
Alias Smith and Jones1971TV SeriesBlackjack Jenny
The Chicago Teddy Bears1971TV Series
A Death of Innocence1971TV MovieAnnie La Cossit
Congratulations, It's a Boy!1971TV MovieEthel Gaines
The Virginian1971TV SeriesDella Spencer
The Greatest Mother of Them All1969ShortDolly Murdock
Love, American Style1969TV SeriesMrs. Devlin (segment "Love and the Bachelor")
Insight1964-1969TV Seriesthe Fading Actress / Fran Henderson
Family Affair1968TV SeriesFlorence Cahill
The Outsider1967TV MovieMrs. Kozzek
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.1967TV SeriesAunt Magda
My Mother the Car1965-1966TV SeriesGladys Crabtree
The Legend of Jesse James1965TV SeriesWidow Fay
The Lucy Show1965TV SeriesRosie Harrigan, the Countess Framboise
Sylvia1965Mrs. Argona / Grace Argona
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour1964TV SeriesHelen Cox
Lady in a Cage1964Sade
The Best Man1964Sue Ellen Gamadge
The Ann Sothern Show1958-1961TV SeriesKaty O'Connor
The DuPont Show with June Allyson1959TV SeriesMartha
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour1957TV SeriesSusie MacNamara
Private Secretary1953-1957TV SeriesSusie McNamara
The Ford Television Theatre1957TV SeriesChristine Emerson
The Loretta Young Show1955TV SeriesGuest Hostess
Texaco Star Theatre1955TV SeriesFlora Sibley
Lady in the Dark1954TV MovieLiza Elliot
The Red Skelton Hour1953TV SeriesFraulein Helga-Flugelmeyer Skit
The Blue Gardenia1953Crystal Carpenter
Hollywood Opening Night1952TV Series
Schlitz Playhouse1952TV Series
Shadow on the Wall1950Dell Faring
Nancy Goes to Rio1950Frances Elliott
A Letter to Three Wives1949Rita Phipps
Words and Music1948Joyce Harmon
April Showers1948June Tyme
The Judge Steps Out1947Peggy
Undercover Maisie1947Maisie Ravier
Up Goes Maisie1946Maisie Ravier
Maisie Goes to Reno1944Maisie Ravier
Cry 'Havoc'1943Pat
Thousands Cheer1943Ann Sothern
Swing Shift Maisie1943Maisie Ravier
Three Hearts for Julia1943Julia Seabrook
You, John Jones!1943ShortMary Jones
Panama Hattie1942Hattie Maloney
Maisie Gets Her Man1942Maisie Ravier
Lady Be Good1941Dixie Donegan
Ringside Maisie1941Maisie Ravier
Maisie Was a Lady1941Maisie Ravier
Dulcy1940Dulcy Ward
Gold Rush Maisie1940Maisie Ravier
Brother Orchid1940Flo Addams
Congo Maisie1940Maisie Ravier
Joe and Ethel Turp Call on the President1939Ethel Turp
Fast and Furious1939Garda Sloane
Hotel for Women1939Eileen Connelly
Maisie1939Maisie Ravier
Trade Winds1938Jean Livingstone
She's Got Everything1937Carol Rogers
There Goes the Groom1937Betty Russell
Ali Baba Goes to Town1937Ann Sothern - at Fictional Premiere (uncredited)
Danger - Love at Work1937Toni Pemberton
Super-Sleuth1937Mary Strand
Fifty Roads to Town1937Millicent Kendall
There Goes My Girl1937Reporter Connie Taylor
Dangerous Number1937Eleanor
Smartest Girl in Town1936Frances Cooke

Music Department

The Ann Sothern Show1958-1961TV Series composer - 93 episodes


That's Entertainment, Part II1976Documentary performer: "Oh, Lady Be Good" 1924 - uncredited
My Mother the Car1965TV Series performer - 1 episode
MGM Parade1955TV Series performer - 1 episode
Lady in the Dark1954TV Movie performer: "One Life to Live", "This is New", "The Saga of Jenny", "My Ship"
Words and Music1948performer: "Where's That Rainbow?"
Maisie Goes to Reno1944performer: "Panhandle Pete" 1944
Cry 'Havoc'1943"Blues in the Night" 1941, uncredited
Panama Hattie1942performer: "I've Still Got My Health" 1940, "Let's Be Buddies" 1940
Maisie Gets Her Man1942performer: "Mademoiselle from Armentieres" uncredited, "Cookin' With Gas" 1941
Lady Be Good1941performer: "You'll Never Know" 1941 uncredited, "Your Words and My Music" 1941 uncredited, "Oh ! Lady Be Good" 1924 uncredited, "The Last Time I Saw Paris" 1940
She's Got Everything1937performer: "It's Sleepy Time in Hawaii" 1937
Danger - Love at Work1937performer: "Danger - Love at Work" - uncredited
Walking on Air1936performer: "Let's Make a Wish
Hooray for Love1935"You're an Angel" 1935, uncredited / performer: "I'm in Love All Over Again" 1935, "Palsy Walsy" 1935 - uncredited
Folies Bergère de Paris1935performer: "Rhythm of the Rain" 1935, "Singing a Happy Song" 1935
Kid Millions1934performer: "Your Head on My Shoulder" 1934 uncredited, "Mandy" 1918
Let's Fall in Love1933performer: "Let's Fall in Love" 1933, "Love Is Love Anywhere" 1933 - uncredited
The Show of Shows1929performer: "My Sister" 1929 - uncredited


That's Entertainment!: The Masters Behind the Musicals2004Video documentary shortHerself
Biography1994TV Series documentaryHerself
The 60th Annual Academy Awards1988TV SpecialHerself
All-Star Party for 'Dutch' Reagan1985TV SpecialHerself
Over Easy1978TV SeriesHerself
The Irv Kupcinet Show1971TV SeriesHerself
The Movie Game1970TV SeriesHerself
Everybody's Talking1967TV SeriesHerself
The Merv Griffin Show1962-1965TV SeriesHerself
What's My Line?1953-1965TV SeriesHerself - Mystery Guest
That Regis Philbin Show1964TV SeriesHerself / Herself - Co-host
The Celebrity Game1964TV SeriesHerself
The Match Game1963-1964TV SeriesTeam Captain
Get the Message1964TV SeriesHerself
I've Got a Secret1962-1963TV SeriesHerself
The Andy Williams Show1963TV SeriesHerself
Password All-Stars1963TV SeriesHerself
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1959TV SeriesHerself
The 11th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1959TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
Person to Person1958TV Series documentaryHerself
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show1957-1958TV SeriesHerself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall1957TV SeriesHerself
The Name's the Same1953TV SeriesHerself
The Jack Benny Program1953TV SeriesHerself
All Star Revue1952TV SeriesHerself
The Fred Waring Show1951TV SeriesHerself
Screen Snapshots Series 17, No. 51938Documentary shortHerself
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 91937Documentary shortHerself
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 31936Documentary shortHerself - Observer
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 11936Documentary shortHerself

Archive Footage

Cinemassacre's Monster Madness2010TV Series documentaryMrs. Karmann
A Life in Words and Music2007Video shortHerself
Great Performances2003TV SeriesHerself
The 74th Annual Academy Awards2002TV SpecialHerself (Memorial Tribute)
The 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards2001TV SpecialHerself - Memorial Tribute
That's Entertainment! III1994DocumentaryPerformer in Film Clip (uncredited)
American Masters1987TV Series documentaryHerself
That's Entertainment, Part II1976DocumentaryClip from 'Lady Be Good'
MGM Parade1955TV SeriesDixie Donegan Crane
Some of the Best: Twenty-Five Years of Motion Picture Leadership1949Documentary shortHerself (uncredited)
Twenty Years After1944Short
The Miracle of Sound1940Documentary shortHerself
Hollywood: Style Center of the World1940Documentary shortHerself


Won Awards

2014OFTA TV Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationActors and Actresses

After two decades in film, Sothern moved to television in 1953 to headline sitcom Private Secretary

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 1612 Vine Street.
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 8 February 1960. At 1634 Vine Street.
1959Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USATelevision AchievementThe Ann Sothern Show (1958)

Nominated Awards

2005TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsFavorite Heard But Not Seen CharacterMy Mother the Car (1965)
1988OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Supporting RoleThe Whales of August (1987)
1988Independent Spirit AwardIndependent Spirit AwardsBest Supporting FemaleThe Whales of August (1987)
1965Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Supporting ActressThe Best Man (1964)
1959Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Comedy SeriesThe Ann Sothern Show (1958)
1957Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Continuing Performance by a Comedienne in a SeriesPrivate Secretary (1953)
1956Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Actress - Continuing PerformancePrivate Secretary (1953)
1956Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Comedienne
1955Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Actress Starring in a Regular SeriesPrivate Secretary (1953)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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