4/12/1923 to 1/22/2004
Born Johnnie Lucille Collier in Texas in 1923, at a young age she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and unable to hold a job. After taking tap-dancing lessons, she got jobs dancing in various Hollywood clubs while being home-schooled. Then, in 1937, RKO asked her to sign on as a contract player, but only if she could prove she was 18. Though she was really barely 14, she managed to get hold of a fake birth certificate, and so was signed on, playing dancers and ingιnues in such films as Stage Door (1937), You Cant Take It with You (1938). In 1939 she appeared on Broadway in "George Whites Scandals" and was a smash, staying on for two years. Eventually RKO released her from her contract, but Columbia Pictures snapped her up to appear in such WW II morale boosters as True to the Army (1942) and Reveille with Beverly (1943). When she married, Columbia released her from her contract, though she divorced two years later. This time MGM picked her up, showcasing her in such films as Easter Parade In the mid-'50s she left to marry again. This marriage didn't last long, either, nor did a third. Ann then threw herself into work, appearing on TV, in night clubs and on the stage. She was a smash as the last actress to headline the Broadway production of "Mame" in 1969 and 1970, and an even bigger smash in "Sugar Babies" in 1979, which she played for nine years, on Broadway and on tour.