The Ann Rutherford Files: Ann Being Shadowed By A 1937 Packard 12 Cylinder Sedan AP279

We are delighted to have come into possession of a portion of the movie star Ann Rutherford’s personal archive of photographs: a golden age time capsule of motion picture PR centered on one of Hollywood’s most delightful personalities.

Mystery: is Ann being followed by her chauffeur? Why has she decided to walk in this bleak tree-less new development on this windy day? Who put that awful coat on her?

Photo credit: Laszlo Willinger.


Laszlo Willinger (April 6, 1909 in Budapest, Hungary – August 8, 1989) was photographer most noted for his portrait photography of movie stars and celebrities during the 1930s and 1940s. Taught photography by his mother, also a photographer, Willinger established photographic studios in Paris and Berlin in 1929 and 1931 respectively, and at the same time submitted his photographs to various newspapers as a freelance contributor. He left Berlin in 1933 when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor, settling and working in Vienna where he began to photograph such celebrities as Marlene Dietrich, Hedy Lamarr, Pietro Mascagni, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Max Reinhardt. By the mid 1930s he was travelling through Africa and Asia before being invited by studio photographer Eugene Robert Richee to move to the United States. After establishing a studio in Hollywood, California, Willinger became a frequent contributor to magazines and periodicals, providing magazine cover portraits of some of the most popular stars. Willinger was one of the first Hollywood photographers to experiment in the use of color.

Ann Rutherford (1917-2012). A prolific performer with roughly 60 movies to her credit over a 15 year career, she shall beyond all doubt be remembered for her role in 1939’s classic “Gone With the Wind”. Born Therese Ann Rutherford, the child of Metropolitan Opera tenor John Rutherford and actress Lucille Mansfield, she originally lived in San Francisco but moved with her family to Los Angeles at nine. Ann decided on a theater career out of resentment at an English teacher’s criticism of her, invented a resume, got a radio job voicing Nancy on the series “Nancy and Dick: The Spirit of ’76”, and made her silver screen bow in the 1935 “Waterfront Lady”. Soon under contract with MGM she was seen in such noted features as “A Christmas Carol” (1938) and the 1940 “Pride and Prejudice” while from 1937 until 1942 she was Polly Benedict, Mickey Rooney’s girlfriend in the popular Andy Hardy series. In 1939 she was loaned by Louis B. Mayer to his son-in-law to David O. Selznick for the role of Carreen O’Hara, Scarlett’s younger sister in “Gone With the Wind”, an assignment she did not consider terribly significant at the time. Ann remained busy, appearing in such films as 1945’s “Two O’Clock Courage” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1947) and retired following 1950’s “Operation Haylift”. Having had a failed early marriage to David May she wed future “Batman” producer William Dozier in a 1953 union that lasted until her husband’s death. Remaining in Southern California, she returned to the screen for 1972’s “They Only Kill Their Masters”, was considered for the role of Rose Calvert which ultimately went to Gloria Stuart in 1997’s “Titanic”, and as time went on and the ranks grew thin was called upon for “Gone With the Wind” reunions and retrospectives. Ann appeared as a fictional character in the 1942 novel “Ann Rutherford and the Key to Nightmare Hall”, received a 1988 Golden Boot for contributions to westerns, and has a star on Hollywood’s Walk-of Fame; at her death from heart disease numerous of her movies were preserved on DVD and “Gone With the Wind” continued to show twice a day every day probably forever at an Atlanta theater. Of the role that became her signature she said: “That ‘nothing part’ turned my golden years into platinum”.

Packard was an American luxury automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. The first Packard automobiles were produced in 1899, and the last in 1958.