"Gone With The Wind" actress Ann Rutherford dies

Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:34am EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ann Rutherford, an actress most known for a small role playing Scarlett O'Hara's optimistic younger sister in "Gone With The Wind," has died in Los Angeles.

Rutherford, who had a career in film, radio and television, died at her home on Monday in Beverly Hills after suffering from heart problems, a close friend and fellow actress Anne Jeffreys told The Los Angeles Times. The Times said she was 94.

Under contract with MGM, she first came to prominence as regular opposite Mickey Rooney in the long-running Andy Hardy film series playing Hardy's teenage girlfriend, Polly Benedict.

She was cast in dozens of other films, including with Vivien Leigh in the classic 1939 film "Gone With The Wind," which Rutherford told The Times she had implored then studio head Louis B. Mayer she wanted to do because, "I just wanted to watch the book come to life."

She retired from films around 1950 but returned in the early 1970s including guest appearances on the "The Bob Newhart Show."

(Reporting By Christine Kearney, editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

 
Actress Ann Rutherford, who starred in the 1939 film "Gone With The Wind", arrives at the opening night gala of the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival featuring a screening of a restoration of "An American In Paris" in Hollywood, California April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser