Ann Dvorak was an American film actress. Born Anna McKim in New York City, the only child of two vaudevillians, she was raised in the business that would later make her a star. Her father, Edwin McKim worked as a director for the Lubin Studios, and her mother, Anna Lehr, found success as the star of many silent features. The couple split when Ann was four, and she and her mother moved to Hollywood. Ann would not see her father again until a national appeal to the press reunited the two in 1934.
As a child, she appeared in several films. She began working for MGM in the late 1920s as a dance instructor and gradually began to appear on film as a chorus girl. Her friend Joan Crawford introduced her to Howard Hughes, who groomed her as a dramatic actress. She was a success in such pre-Code films as Scarface, as Paul Muni’s character’s sister, as the doomed unstable Vivian in Three on a Match, with Joan Blondell and Bette Davis, Love Is a Racket, and opposite Spencer Tracy in Sky Devils. Known for her style and elegance, she was a popular leading lady for Warner Brothers during the 1930s, and appeared in numerous contemporary romances and melodramas. A dispute over her pay led to her finishing out her contract on permanent suspension, and then working 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. She also acted on Broadway. With her then-husband, British actor Leslie Fenton, Dvorak travelled to England where she supported the war effort by working as an ambulance driver, and appeared in several British films.
She 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 1977. It was her longest and most successful marriage. She had no children.