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Ann Doran
Ann Lee Doran

(1911-07-28)July 28, 1911
DiedSeptember 19, 2000(2000-09-19) (aged 89)
Years active1922–1988

Ann Lee Doran (July 28, 1911 – September 19, 2000) was an American character actress, possibly best known as the mother of Jim Stark (James Dean) in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).[1] She was an early member of the Screen Actors Guild and served on the board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund for 30 years.[2]

Early years

The daughter of Carrie A. Barnett[3] and John R. Doran,[4] her mother was a silent-film actress whose professional name was Rose Allen.[5][6] Ann Doran was born in Amarillo, Texas,[3] and attended high school in San Bernardino, California.[6]

Film career

Doran and DeForest Kelley in Fear in the Night (1947)

Doran began acting at the age of four. (A 1979 newspaper article said that Doran's debut came when she was 11 years old.)[6] Rarely in a featured role, Doran appeared in more than 500 motion pictures and 1,000 episodes of television series, such as the American Civil War drama Gray Ghost.

Doran worked as a stand-in, then bit player, then incidental supporting player. By 1938, she was under contract to Columbia Pictures, where the company policy was to use the members of its stock company as often as possible. Thus, Doran appears in Columbia's serials (such as The Spider's Web and Flying G-Men), short subjects (including those of The Three Stooges, Charley Chase, Andy Clyde, Harry Langdon and Vera Vague), B features (including the Blondie, Five Little Peppers and Ellery Queen series), and major feature films. She became a favorite of Columbia director Frank Capra and appears in many of his productions. Most of these appearances were supporting roles. In Meet John Doe(1941), she plays the wife of sodajerk-turned-John Doe Club activist Bert Hansen. Though her character speaks some of the film's most pivotal lines of dialog, including an impassioned suicide-preventing plea in the final scene, her appearance in the film is uncredited. She did play leads in Columbia's Charley Chase comedies from 1938 to 1940 and in one Charles Starrett western feature, the Sam Nelson-directed Rio Grande (1938).[7]

Columbia filmed two boy-and-his-dog stories with juvenile star Ted Donaldson in 1945–46. When the Donaldson films became a full-fledged series (featuring the dog Rusty) in 1947, Doran was cast as Donaldson's mother in the next six films. Her steady, sensible maternal roles led to her being cast as James Dean's mother in Rebel Without a Cause.

Virginia Brissac, Jim Backus, Doran, Edward Platt and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955)


Doran played Charlotte McHenry, the housekeeper on Shirley,[8]: 962  Agnes Haskell, Eddie Haskell's mother and in a separate appearance Mrs. Bellamy, in Leave It to Beaver[8] and Mrs. Kingston, the housekeeper, on Longstreet.[8]: 621–622 

Doran guest-starred on many television programs, including three appearances in the role of Bonnie Landis in Public Defender, starring with fellow Texan Reed Hadley. She appeared in the anthology series Crossroads in the 1956 episode "The White Carnation", along with Elinor Donahue, James Best and J. Carrol Naish. In 1952, she appeared in an episode of The Lone Ranger titled "Hidden Fortune".

Doran was cast in the children's Western series My Friend Flicka, the story of a boy and his horse on a ranch in Wyoming. She also appeared in episodes of Ray Milland's sitcom Meet Mr. McNutley and Kenneth Tobey's aviation adventure series Whirlybirds. Doran guest-starred on Perry Mason in "The Case of the Prodigal Parent" (1958), "The Case of the Lurid Letter" (1962) and "The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito" (1963) as well as in Rawhide in the episode "Incident of the Challenge".

Doran was cast twice in 1959–1960 in episodes of the series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. In 1960, she was cast as Martha Brown, the mother of horse rider Velvet Brown (Lori Martin) in the family drama National Velvet.[8]: 746  She made one appearance on McHale's Navy as Mrs. Martha "Pumpkin" Binghamton, wife of Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn). In 1963 Doran appeared as Minerva Lewis on The Virginian in the episode "Run Away Home."[citation needed] Ann Doran was cast twice as Mrs. Elliott and Hugh Beaumont as Mr. Elliott, parents of Steve Elliott (Mike Minor), in Petticoat Junction.

Doran in her later years

Three years later, she appeared in the first episode of The Legend of Jesse James as Zerelda James Samuel, the mother of Jesse and Frank James.[8] She also appeared on the program M*A*S*H as Nurse Meg Cratty, who runs an orphanage in Korea. In the episode "The Kids", Cratty and her charges bunked with the M*A*S*H unit to avoid snipers.[citation needed]


Doran died at age 89 on September 19, 2000,[3] in Carmichael, California. Following her death, her remains were cremated and scattered at sea.[9] She bequeathed $400,000 to the Motion Picture Country House, the retirement home for the movie industry.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1922 Robin Hood Page to Richard Uncredited
1934 One Exciting Adventure Girl
1934 Servants' Entrance Marie, the Maid Uncredited
1935 Night Life of the Gods Girl in Pool Uncredited
1935 Way Down East Rosie – Hired Girl
1935 Case of the Missing Man Dental Nurse Uncredited
1935 Bad Boy Telegraph Clerk Uncredited
1935 Mary Burns, Fugitive Newspaper girl
1936 Dangerous Intrigue Floor Nurse Uncredited
1936 Ring Around the Moon Kay Duncan
1936 Lady of Secrets Reporter Uncredited
1936 The Little Red Schoolhouse Mary Burke
1936 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Girl on Bus Uncredited
1936 Let's Sing Again Alice Alba
1936 Palm Springs Schoolgirl Uncredited
1936 Missing Girls Ann Jason
1936 Red Lights Ahead Mary Wallace
1937 The Devil's Playground Bit Part Uncredited
1937 When You're in Love Secretary Uncredited
1937 The Go Getter Maizie – the Maid Uncredited
1937 Girls Can Play Alice, Secretary
1937 Marry the Girl Marge, a Secretary
1937 It's All Yours Stewardess Uncredited
1937 Stella Dallas Minor Role Uncredited
1937 I'll Take Romance Opera Cast Uncredited
1937 Nothing Sacred Telephone Girl Uncredited
1937 She Married an Artist Model Uncredited
1937 Paid to Dance Rose Trevor Alternative title: Hard to Hold
1937 The Shadow Shaw Sister
1938 Little Miss Roughneck Girl Uncredited
1938 Penitentiary Blanche Williams
1938 Women in Prison Maggie
1938 Start Cheering Green's Secretary Uncredited
1938 Extortion Margie Blake
1938 Holiday Kitchen Maid Uncredited
1938 The Main Event Telegraph Clerk Uncredited
1938 Highway Patrol Estelle
1938 City Streets Nurse Uncredited
1938 You Can't Take It with You Maggie O'Neill
1938 The Spider's Web Mason's Secretary Serial
1938 The Lady Objects Miss Hollins
1938 Blondie Elsie Hazlip
1938 Rio Grande Jean Andrews Lead role
1938 Smashing the Spy Ring Madelon Martin
1939 Homicide Bureau Nurse Uncredited
1939 Flying G-Men Hamilton's Secretary Serial
1939 My Son Is a Criminal Taxicab Company Secretary Uncredited
1939 Let Us Live Secretary Juror Uncredited
1939 Romance of the Redwoods Uncredited
1939 Blind Alley Agnes
1939 Good Girls Go to Paris Bridesmaid Uncredited
1939 Coast Guard Nurse Uncredited
1939 The Man They Could Not Hang Betty Crawford
1939 A Woman Is the Judge Luella Uncredited
1939 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Paine's Secretary Uncredited
1939 Three Sappy People Countess Short, Uncredited
1940 The Green Hornet Josephine Weaver Allen Serial, [Ch. 3], Uncredited
1940 His Girl Friday Newspaper Office Worker Uncredited
1940 Five Little Peppers at Home Nurse Uncredited
1940 Forgotten Girls Inmate Uncredited
1940 Untamed 1st Nurse Uncredited
1940 Manhattan Heartbeat Shop Girl's Friend
1940 Girls of the Road Jerry
1940 Glamour for Sale Myrtle Uncredited
1940 Her First Romance Student
1941 Murder Among Friends Dr. Turk's Nurse Uncredited
1941 Meet John Doe Bert Hansen's wife Uncredited
1941 Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery Sheila Cobb
1941 Penny Serenade Dotty "Dot"
1941 Criminals Within Linda
1941 Dive Bomber Helen – Joe's Date Uncredited
1941 Sun Valley Serenade Waitress Uncredited
1941 Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day Nurse at Party Uncredited
1941 The Kid from Kansas Julie 'Smitty' Smith
1941 Sing Another Chorus Bronx Dame Uncredited
1941 Buy Me That Town Woman Uncredited
1941 New York Town Demonstrator in Department Store Uncredited
1942 Blue, White and Perfect Miss Hoffman
1942 Mr. Wise Guy Dorothy Melton
1942 Yankee Doodle Dandy Receptionist Uncredited
1942 They All Kissed the Bride Helene – the Drew's Maid Uncredited
1942 Beyond the Blue Horizon Margaret Chase Uncredited
1942 My Sister Eileen Receptionist Uncredited
1942 Street of Chance Miss Peabody
1942 Smith of Minnesota Uncredited
1943 The Hard Way Dorshka Uncredited
1943 Air Force Mrs. Mary Quincannon Uncredited
1943 Slightly Dangerous Salesgirl Uncredited
1943 The More the Merrier Miss Bilby Uncredited
1943 So Proudly We Hail! Lt. Betty Peterson
1943 Gildersleeve on Broadway Matilda Brown
1943 Old Acquaintance Music Store Saleslady Uncredited
1943 True to Life Radio Kitty Uncredited
1944 The Story of Dr. Wassell Praying Woman Uncredited
1944 Mr. Skeffington Maria, a nursemaid Uncredited
1944 Henry Aldrich's Little Secret Helen Martin
1944 I Love a Soldier Jenny Butler
1944 Here Come the Waves Ruth
1945 Roughly Speaking Alice Abbott
1945 Pride of the Marines Ella Mae Merchant Alternative title: Forever in Love
1946 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Bobbi St. John
1946 Our Hearts Were Growing Up Monica Lonsdale Uncredited
1947 The Perfect Marriage Secretary Ellen Uncredited
1947 My Favorite Brunette Miss Rogers
1947 Seven Were Saved Mrs. Rollin Hartley
1947 Fear in the Night Lil Herlihy
1947 For the Love of Rusty Ethel Mitchell
1947 The Crimson Key Paris Wood
1947 Second Chance Doris Greene
1947 The Son of Rusty Ethel Mitchell
1947 Variety Girl Hairdresser Uncredited
1947 Magic Town Mrs. Weaver
1947 Road to the Big House Agnes Clark
1948 Reaching from Heaven Martha Kestner
1948 The Return of the Whistler Sybil Barkley Uncredited
1948 My Dog Rusty Ethel Mitchell
1948 Hazard Nurse
1948 The Babe Ruth Story Reporter Uncredited
1948 The Walls of Jericho Gossip Uncredited
1948 Pitfall Maggie
1948 Rusty Leads the Way Ethel Mitchell
1948 Sealed Verdict Ellie Blaine, Red Cross date
1948 The Snake Pit Valerie
1948 No Minor Vices Mrs. Faraday Uncredited
1948 He Walked by Night Dispatcher Uncredited
1949 The Accused Miss Rice – Nurse
1949 Rusty Saves a Life Ethel Mitchell
1949 The Clay Pigeon Miss Collins – Naval Nurse Uncredited
1949 Big Jack Sarah Oakes Uncredited
1949 The Fountainhead Wynand's Secretary Uncredited
1949 One Last Fling Vera Thompson
1949 Air Hostess Virginia Barton
1949 Calamity Jane and Sam Bass Mrs. Lucy Egan
1949 The Kid from Cleveland Emily Barrows Novak
1949 Holiday in Havana Marge Henley
1949 Beyond the Forest Edith Williams Uncredited
1949 Rusty's Birthday Ethel Mitchell
1950 Riding High Nurse Uncredited
1950 No Sad Songs for Me Louise Spears
1950 Never a Dull Moment Jean Morrow
1950 Lonely Heart Bandits Nancy Crane
1950 The Jackpot Miss Alice Bowen Uncredited
1951 Gambling House Della
1951 Tomahawk Mrs. Carrington
1951 The Painted Hills Martha Blake
1951 Her First Romance Mrs. Foster
1951 The People Against O'Hara Betty Clark, Policewoman
1951 Starlift Mrs. Callan – Nurse Uncredited
1952 Here Come the Nelsons Clara Randolph
1952 Love Is Better Than Ever Mrs. Levoy
1952 Rodeo Mrs. Martha Durston Uncredited
1952 Paula Mrs. Smith, welfare worker Uncredited
1952 The Rose Bowl Story Mrs. Addie Burke
1953 So This Is Love Mrs. James Moore
1953 Island in the Sky Moon's wife Uncredited
1953 The Eddie Cantor Story Lillian Edwards
1953 I Love Lucy Audience Member
1954 The High and the Mighty Mrs. Joseph
1954 Them! Child Psychiatrist Uncredited
1954 The Bob Mathias Story Mrs. Lillian Mathias
1955 The Desperate Hours Mrs. Walling Uncredited
1955 Rebel Without a Cause Carol Stark
1957 Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend Sarah Devlin
1957 The Man Who Turned to Stone Mrs. Ford
1957 Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend Sarah Devlin Uncredited
1957 Band of Angels Mrs. Morton Uncredited
1957 Young and Dangerous Mrs. Clara Clinton
1957 Bombers B-52 Sylvia Slater Uncredited
1958 The Deep Six Elsie – Mike's Wife Uncredited
1958 The Female Animal Nurse
1958 The Rawhide Trail Mrs. Cartwright
1958 Day of the Badman Martha Mordigan
1958 Violent Road Edith Miller
1958 Life Begins at 17 Virginia Peck
1958 Voice in the Mirror Mrs. Devlin
1958 It! The Terror from Beyond Space Mary Royce
1958 The Badlanders Stagecoach Passenger – Mother Uncredited
1958 Step Down to Terror Mrs. Duprez Uncredited
1958 Joy Ride Grace
1959 Warlock Mrs. Richardson Uncredited
1959 Riot in Juvenile Prison Bess Monahan
1959 Cast a Long Shadow Charlotte Calvert
1959 The FBI Story Mrs. Ballard Uncredited
1959 A Summer Place Mrs. Talbert Uncredited
1963 Captain Newman, M.D. Mrs. Pyser Uncredited
1964 The Carpetbaggers Reporter Uncredited
1964 The Brass Bottle Martha Kenton
1964 Where Love Has Gone Mrs. Geraghty
1964 Kitten with a Whip Mavis Varden
1965 Mirage Tenant in Apartment 3R Uncredited
1966 Not with My Wife, You Don't! Doris Parker
1967 The Hostage Miss Mabry
1967 Rosie! Old Lady
1968 Live a Little, Love a Little Landlady Uncredited
1969 Once You Kiss a Stranger Lee's Mother
1969 The Arrangement Nurse Costello Uncredited
1969 Topaz Mrs. Forsyth Uncredited
1970 There Was a Crooked Man... Mrs. Lomax
1971 The Hired Hand Mrs. Sorenson
1976 The Gumball Rally Mrs. Ontley
1976 Flood! Emma Fisher TV movie
1981 All Night Long Grandmother Gibbons
1981 First Monday in October Storekeeper
1986 Wildcats Mrs. Chatham Alternative title: First and Goal


Year Title Role Notes
1952 Adventures of Superman Mrs. King 1 episode
1953 The Danny Thomas Show Teacher 1 episode
1954 Ramar of the Jungle Irene Loring 1 episode
1955 Brave Eagle Whispering Grass 1 episode
1956 Father Knows Best Dorothy Tyler 1 episode
1957 December Bride Miss Moore 1 episode
1958 M Squad Mrs. Rainey 1 episode
Perry Mason Mrs. Claire Durrell in "The Case of the Prodigal Parent" 1 episode
Official Detective Charlotte Episode: "The Cover-Up"
1959 Frontier Doctor Ma "Dallas" Bell 1 episode
Bourbon Street Beat Mary Dumont 1 episode, "The Tiger Moth"
1960 General Electric Theater Tourist Episode: "Adam's Apples"
Wagon Train Aunt Lizzie 1 episode
1960–1962 National Velvet Martha Brown 58 episodes
1963–1970 The Virginian Various 5 episodes
1965 McHale's Navy Mrs. Binghamton 1 episode
1966–1967 Hey, Landlord Marcy Banner 2 episodes
1966–1968 Bonanza Lisa Stanley / Mrs. Walker 2 episodes
1968 The Guns of Will Sonnett Margaret Stover 1 episode
1970 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Mrs. Grimbi 1 episode
1970 Ironside Dora Copeland 1 episode
1971–1972 Longstreet Mrs. Kingston 23 episodes
1972 The Odd Couple Loretta Spoon 1 episode
1973 Emergency! Mrs. Perigrew and Hannah 2 episodes
1973 Barnaby Jones Nurse Nora Randall 1 episode
1974 The Rookies Mrs. Coleman 1 episode
1974 Little House on the Prairie Mrs. Tyler 1 episode
1975 M*A*S*H Nurse Meg Cratty 1 episode
1978 Fantasy Island Emma Howard 1 episode
1979 Eight Is Enough Ms. Ryder 1 episode
1980 Shirley Charlotte McHenry 13 episodes
1982 Father Murphy Abby 1 episode
1983 Tales of the Unexpected Mary Deacon 1 episode
1984 Knots Landing Mercy 1 episode
1985 Highway to Heaven Mrs. Bradley 2 episodes
1986 The A-Team Nora 1 episode
1986 Trapper John, M.D. Mrs. McAndrew 1 episode
1987 The Twilight Zone Mrs. Clark 1 episode
1988 Hunter Mrs. Rawling 1 episode, (final appearance)


  1. ^ "Ann Doran, 89, Character Actress". The New York Times. October 3, 2000.
  2. ^ Scott, Vernon (July 25, 1979). "Never a star, but plenty of work". The Ottawa Journal. Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. United Press International. p. 33. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via Open access icon
  3. ^ a b c "Ann Doran, 89; character actress". Santa Cruz Sentinel. California, Santa Cruz. The New York Times. October 3, 2000. p. 6. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via Open access icon
  4. ^ "Ann Doran, Mother Are Greeted by Old Friends". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. March 28, 1948. p. 35. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via Open access icon
  5. ^ Todd, John (January 10, 1945). "Hollywood". The Tipton Daily Tribune. Indiana, Tipton. International News Service. p. 2. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via Open access icon
  6. ^ a b c "Ann Doran: Never A Star But Back This Fall". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Indiana, Logansport. United Press International. August 1, 1979. p. 11. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via Open access icon
  7. ^ Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Film 0786420286 Boyd Magers, Michael G. Fitzgerald – 2004 "Asked about Rio Grande (1938), her starring lead opposite Charles Starrett, Ann matter-of-factly states, "It was just another job. Nothing unpleasant happened on it — but then nothing pleasant did, either. Charles Starrett was very tall and good looking. We got along just fine."
  8. ^ a b c d e Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 591.
  9. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. ISBN 9781476625997.