Ann Rutherford hailed from a performing family; her father was a former Metropolitan Opera tenor, and her mother was an actress. The perky actress got her start performing on radio before she landed her first film role in 1935’s “Waterfront Lady” for low-budget Mascot Studios. When that company merged with Republic Pictures, she began to appear in popular westerns with John Wayne and Gene Autry, including 1936's "The Oregon Trail."
She then signed with MGM, and from 1937 until 1942, she played Mickey Rooney's girlfriend Polly Benedict in several of the "Andy Hardy" movies.
Until her death June 11, 2012, along with Olivia de Havilland, she was one of the few surviving stars of the 1939 epic “Gone With the Wind.” Rutherford played Scarlett’s youngest sister, Careen O’Hara, in what proved to be one of the most enduring roles of her career.
She also played Red Skelton’s girlfriend in the comedy series 1941’s “Whistling in the Dark,” 1942’s “Whistling in Dixie” and 1943’s “Whistling in Brooklyn.”
But in 1942, she began working for other studios, appearing in 1945’s “Two O’Clock Courage,” the 1947 Danny Kayle comedy classic “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and the 1948 Errol Flynn swashbuckler “Adventures of Don Juan.”
Over the years, Rutherford continued to act on TV, guest starring on programs including “The Donna Reed Show," “Perry Mason" and “The Bob Newhart Show.” Rutherford briefly returned to films for 1972’s “They Only Kill Their Masters.”
Her last film was the dreadful 1976 comedy “Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood." She was approached to play the part of Old Rose in 1997’s “Titanic,” but she turned down the part, which eventually went to Gloria Stuart.