Ann Blyth and Vic DamoneView In iTunes
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A radio singer at age 5, American actress Ann Blyth studied for an operatic career, making her debut in this endeavor with the San Carlo Opera Company. In 1943, at age 15, Ann was playing Paul Lukas' daughter in the Broadway production Watch on the Rhine; two years later she was under contract to Universal studios as the latest in that company's "threats" against their recalcitrant resident soprano Deanna Durbin. Blyth wasn't given anything close to a chance to show her talents until she was cast as Joan Crawford's hateful daughter Veda in Mildred Pierce (1945). For this performance, which ran the gamut from thinly veiled insults addressed at Crawford to the murder of her mother's paramour (Zachary Scott), she was nominated for an Academy Award. After recovering from a back injury, Blyth worked ceaselessly in films, alternating between sappily sweet parts in such fluff as Free for All (1949) and Sally and St. Anne (1951) and tougher assignments like the white-hot truculence expended in her portrayal of Regina Hubbard in Another Part of the Forest (1948). Perhaps the most off-kilter of her starring roles was in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948) wherein she played the female half of the title, spending much of the film in a state of (implied) toplessness. In 1954, she was finally permitted to display her beautifully trained voice in such musicals as The Student Prince (1954), Rose Marie (1955) and Kismet (1956). But when called upon to play a real-life songstress in The Helen Morgan Story (1957), she was dubbed by Gogi Grant! Helen Morgan Story was Blyth's final film role; she spent the rest of her career on stage, TV and in concert - and, in the late 1970s, she showed up as the surprisingly domesticated spokesperson for Hostess Cupcakes. ~ Hal Erickson