Ann Rutherford is a Canadian-American actress in film, radio, and television. She has had a long career starring and co-starring in films, playing Polly Benedict on the big screen of the 1930s and 1940s in the Andy Hardy series, and on The Bob Newhart Show as Newhart’s character’s mother-in-law.
Her first film role was in Waterfront Lady in 1935. She appeared in eighteen films between 1935 and 1937. It was in 1937 that her first notable role came as Andy Hardy’s girlfriend, Polly Benedict, in You’re Only Young Once. In the long-running, Andy Hardy film series, she played Polly twelve times, with the last appearance being in Andy Hardy’s Double Life in 1942.
She was born Therese Ann Rutherford to a former Metropolitan Opera tenor and an actress in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At an early age, she performed in various radio shows. She began her film career in starring roles in Waterfront Lady for Mascot Pictures in 1935. Mascot merged with Republic Pictures, and Rutherford soon established herself as a popular leading lady of Westerns with Gene Autry and John Wayne. Afterward, she was placed under contract with MGM. At MGM, she appeared in such films as A Christmas Carol and Pride and Prejudice. She was loaned to Selznick International to appear as Carreen O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. From 1937 until 1942, she portrayed Polly Benedict in the very successful Andy Hardy series. She also starred in a series of mystery/comedies with Red Skelton, Whistling in the Dark, Whistling in Dixie, and Whistling in Brooklyn .