by Fred T. Beeman
Therese Ann Rutherford passed away at the age of 94 on June 11, 2012, of heart failure and, depending on what source you check, she was either born in 1917 or 1920. We'll go with November 2, 1917, because that's the birth date the Los Angeles Times is using, and they're usually pretty accurate.
Much more is written about her on the Internet Movie DataBase, but the important highlights are that she was born into a show business family; her father (John Rutherford) was a Metropolitan Opera singer, and her mother (Lillian Mansfield) was in the silent pictures of her era.
Shortly after the family migrated from their native Vancouver (BC) Canada to California, young Ann found herself on the stage in 1925, the beginning of a decades-long thespian career, which started with her being placed under contract to MGM in 1934, at age 17. Her roles included the younger sister ("Careen") of Scarlett O'Hara in 1939's "Gone With the Wind," and playing opposite Mickey Rooney's "Andy Hardy," as his love interest in several movies of the late 1930s and early 1940s.
The story is told that Louis B. Mayer, the MGM honcho, was notoriously cheap with actor salaries and bonuses, and that many an actor had tried for an increase in pay, only to be firmly turned down by him. But Ms. Rutherford, possessing an instinct at a very tender age for successful negotiation, went into his office, showed him her bank book balance and said simply, "I promised my mother a house, and I don't want to break my promise to her." She got the raise.
She was always most gracious to her many fans, appearing as late as 2011 at the Williamsburg Film Festival in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. It is those many fans who had the honor of meeting/interacting with her, as well as her numerous friends and family members, to whom we extend our deepest condolences.