b. Harriet Lake, 22 January 1909, Valley City, North Dakota, USA, d. 15 March 2001, Ketchum, Idaho, USA. Trained by her mother as a singer, Sothern appeared in the film The Show Of Shows (1929) but then concentrated on the theatre. As Harriette Lake she appeared in the Broadway musicals Smiles (1930), America’s Sweetheart and Everybody’s Welcome (both 1931), and the 1933 revival of Of Thee I Sing. Back in Hollywood, as Ann Sothern, she made Broadway Thru A Keyhole (1933), Kid Millions (1934), Folies Bergère De Paris (1935), and co-starred with Gene Raymond in Hooray For Love (1935). Sothern co-starred with Robert Young in Lady Be Good (1941), singing Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s ‘The Last Time I Saw Paris’, which won an Oscar for the Best Song. That film bore no resemblance to the similarly titled stage musical. She was also in Panama Hattie (1942), a dismal film version of Cole Porter’s stage musical minus most of the songs.
Sothern was among many MGM players parading through Thousands Cheer (1943) and the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart biopic, Words And Music (1948), in which she sings ‘Where’s That Rainbow?’. In Nancy Goes To Rio (1950, a remake of 1940’s It’s A Date), she plays Jane Powell’s mother. In 1939, Sothern was the titular showgirl in Maisie, making another seven films in the series through the 40s. Also a good dramatic actress, Sothern ably demonstrated her skills in Cry ‘Havoc’ (1943), A Letter To Three Wives (1949), The Best Man (1964), and The Whales Of August (1987), for which she was Oscar-nominated as Best Supporting Actress. During the 50s Sothern was frequently on television, appearing in her own shows, Private Secretary (1953-57) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958-61). She returned to television in 1985, taking a supporting role in a new version of A Letter To Three Wives.