Ann Sothern was an American film and television actress with a career spanning six decades.
Sothern was born Harriette Arlene Lake in Valley City, North Dakota, but was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she graduated from Minneapolis Central High School in 1926. Sothern left home and began her film career as an extra in the 1927 film Broadway Nights at the age of 18. During 1929 and 1930, she appeared as a chorus girl in such films as The Show of Shows and Whoopee!. She appeared on Broadway and had a trained voice, occasionally singing in films.
On Broadway in 1931, she had leading roles in America’s Sweetheart and in Everybody’s Welcome. In 1934, Sothern signed a contract with Columbia Pictures, but after two years the studio released her. In 1936, she was signed by RKO Radio Pictures and after a string of films that failed to attract an audience, Sothern left RKO and was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, making her first film for them in 1939.