Mary Hart is an American television personality and has been the host of the syndicated gossip and entertainment round-up program Entertainment Tonight since 1982.
Mary Hart was born Mary Johanna Harum in Madison, South Dakota and lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as in Denmark, as a child and teenager. She speaks both Danish and Swedish fluently. Hart competed in the Miss America pageant in 1970 as Miss South Dakota, and finished in the top ten. Two years later, Hart graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls and while teaching English at school she also produced and anchored her own cable TV talk show.
Hart began her TV career at KMTV, the CBS station in Omaha, NE. In 1976, she went to KTVY in Oklahoma City, where she co-hosted a show called Dannysday. Determined to leave journalism behind, she moved to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westwood in 1979 with $10,000 in the bank. Hart landed a small role on the soap opera “Days of our Lives,” as well as some TV commercials. Almost broke, she became a co-host on a Los Angeles local program, “PM Magazine.” That led to a job in 1981 as co-host of Regis Philbin’s first national talk show. When that show was canceled four months later, “Entertainment Tonight” interviewed her about what it felt like to be canceled. The day after the interview, she was hired as an “E. T.” correspondent. Thirteen weeks later, she was named the show’s co-host, along with Ron Hendren.
In 1984, Hendren was replaced by Robb Weller, who was replaced by John Tesh in 1986, who was replaced by Bob Goen in 1996, who was replaced by Mark Steines. Soon after her hiring by ET, Hart chose Jay Bernstein as her manager. Hart is known for her shapely legs, leading to an endorsement contract with Hanes for that company’s line of pantyhose in 1987. Jay Bernstein had her legs insured for $1 million each.Executive Producer Linda Blue Bell described Hart as the face of E.T.