Dorothy McGuire Biography


Birthday: June 14, 1916 (Gemini)

Born In: Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Dorothy McGuire was an American actress who became famous for her role in movies such as 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ and ‘Swiss Family Robinson’. She acted in more than forty films for the big screen and the television during her entire acting career that stretched from 1943 to 1990. She showed exemplary sincerity, dignity and practicality in almost all the roles she enacted in the films and possibly had more talent than Hollywood required from its leading ladies. She was open-hearted and had a soothing quality as well as a certain knack in bringing tears to the eyes of the audience through her performances. She won her roles on the basis of her acting talent. In spite of superlative acting during her career spanning more than five decades, she did not win the number of awards as was expected during the period she held sway over her audience. Her quiet passive beauty and her poise and style had left a permanent imprint in Hollywood’s annals of the ‘Golden Era’ and she will remain forever etched in the minds of the cinema-goers of all time.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Dorothy Hackett McGuire

Died At Age: 85


Spouse/Ex-: John Swope

father: Thomas Johnson Mcguire

mother: Isabel Flaherty

children: Topo Swope Mark Swope

Actresses American Women

Died on: September 13, 2001

place of death: Santa Monica, California, United States

Cause of Death: Cardiac Arrest

Notable Alumni: Pine Manor Junior College

U.S. State: Nebraska

City: Omaha, Nebraska

More Facts

education: Pine Manor Junior College

Childhood & Early Life
Dorothy McGuire was born Dorothy Hackett Mcguire in Omaha, Nebraska on June 14, 1918. Her father was a lawyer named Thomas Johnson Mcguire and her mother was Isabel Flaherty.
Dorothy studied at the ‘Omaha Junior College’ in Nebraska and then in ‘Ladywood Convent’ in Indianapolis, Indiana.
She enrolled at the ‘Pine Major Junior College, Chestnut Hill, Wellesley, Massachusetts in 1936 and graduated from there in 1938 at the age of 19.
She started her acting career at the age of 13 with an appearance on the stage of the ‘Omaha Community Playhouse’ in Nebraska in the play ‘A Kiss for Cinderella’ starring Henry Fonda.
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Dorothy McGuire started as an understudy for Martha Scott in the Broadway play ‘Our Town’ in 1938 and also in ‘Bachelor Born’ and ‘Stop Over. She eventually replaced Martha Scott in the play.
She increased her stage experience with the plays ‘My Dear Children’ starring John Barrymore, ‘Swinging the Dream’, ‘Medicine Show’, ‘The Time of Your Life’ and ‘Kind Lady’.
She got a start in films with the help of producer David O. Selznick who brought her to Hollywood after being impressed by her acting on the Broadway stage. He put her on contract and in 1943 loaned her to ‘20th Century Fox’ opposite Robert Young in the film ‘Claudia’ in the role of ‘Claudia Naughton’.
In 1945 she starred in ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ directed by Elia Kazan in the role of ‘Katie Nolan’, a mother struggling to raise her family living in a Brooklyn tenement.
She next starred opposite Robert Young in ‘The Enchanted Cottage’ as ‘Laura Pennigton’ in the same year.
In 1946 she appeared in the role of ‘Helen’, a mute servant, in the thriller ‘The Spiral Staircase’ and also starred in ‘Till the End of Time’ as ‘Pat Ruscomb’.
In 1946 she appeared in the sequel to ‘Claudia’ titled ‘Claudia and David’ again opposite Robert Young.
In 1948 she got her first Academy Award nomination for ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ in which she appeared as ‘Kathy Lucy’ opposite Gregory Peck.
She also founded the ‘La Jolla Playhouse’ in 1947 along with Mel Ferre and Gregory Peck.
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In 1950 she acted in ‘Mother Didn’t Tell Me’ in the role of ‘Jane Morgan and in ‘Mister 880’ as ‘Ann Winslow’. She also toured with Tennessee William’s ‘Summer and Smoke’ in the same year.
In 1951 she acted in 'I Want You’ as Nancy Greer and ‘Callaway Went Thataway’ as Deborrah Patterson.
In 1952 she appeared in the film ‘Invitation’ and enacted the role of ‘Ellen Pierce’.
In 1954 she bagged a ‘Best Actress’ nomination from the ‘New York Film Critics Circle’ for her role as ‘Miss Frances’ in the romantic movie ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’. In the same year she also appeared in the film ‘Make Haste to Live’ as ‘Crystal Benson’.
She appeared in ‘Trial’ in 1955 as ‘Abbe Nyle’ and co-starred with Anthony Perkins and Gary Cooper in the film ‘Friendly Persuasion’ in 1956.
She appeared on Broadway in the play ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ and also in the film ‘Old Yeller’ in 1958.
In 1959 she acted in 'The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker’, ‘A Summer Place’ and The Earth Is Mine’.
She acted in the film version of ‘The Dark at the Top of the Stairs’ in 1960 in the role of ‘Cora Flood’. In the same year she also acted in 'Swiss Family Robinson’ for which she became quite popular.
Dorothy appeared in 'Susan Slade’ in 1961 as Leah Slade and ‘Summer Magic’ in 1963 as Margaret Carey.
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In 1965 she played the role of Virgin Mary in the epic ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’.
She appeared the film ‘Flight of Doves’ in 1971, ‘She Waits’ in 1972, ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ in 1973 and ‘The Runaways’ in 1975.
In 1975 she returned to the stage and played the role of ‘Hannah Jelkes’ in Tennessee William’s ‘The Night of the Iguana’.
In 1976 Dorothy acted in the ABC miniseries ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ as ‘Mary Jordache’ and won an ‘Emmy Award’ nomination.
She acted in the NBC miniseries ‘Little Women’ in 1978 in the role of ‘Marmee’.
She acted in ‘The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel’ in 1979 and ‘Ghost Dancing’ in 1983.
In 1985 she starred opposite Kirk Douglas in CBS television movie ‘Amos’ and for the CBS daytime drama ‘The Young and the Restless’.
She played the role of ‘Beryl Foster’ in ‘Between Darkness and Dawn’ in 1985, as ‘Ann Suzuki’ in ‘American Geisha’ in 1986 and as ‘Mrs. Adkin’ in ‘Caroline?’ in1990.
Her last TV appearance was in 1990 for the ABC production ‘The Last Best Year’ in the role of ‘Anne’ co-starring Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters.
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Awards & Achievements
Dorothy McGuire was nominated for an ‘Academy Award for Best Actress’ in 1947 for the film ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’.
In 1976 she won an ‘Emmy Award’ nomination for for ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’.
She was awarded a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ for her contribution to the motion picture industry.
Personal Life & Legacy
She married Life magazine photographer John Swope in 1943 and remained with him till his death in 1979.
She had two children from this marriage, a daughter named Topo, who became an actress, and a son named Mark who became a photographer and an artist.
Her health deteriorated steadily after she fell down and broke her leg in 2001.
Dorothy died from a heart failure in a Santa Monica hospital on Friday, September 13, 2001 at the age of 85.
Unfortunately, recognition in the form of awards always eluded Dorothy McGuire.

Dorothy McGuire Movies

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

  (Drama, Romance)

2. The Enchanted Cottage (1945)

  (Drama, Romance)

3. The Spiral Staircase (1946)

  (Drama, Thriller, Mystery)

4. Friendly Persuasion (1956)

  (War, Romance, Western, Drama)

5. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960)


6. Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

  (Drama, Romance)

7. Old Yeller (1957)

  (Family, Western, Drama, Adventure)

8. Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

  (Family, Adventure)

9. Mister 880 (1950)

  (Romance, Comedy, Crime)

10. Summer Magic (1963)

  (Family, Musical, Comedy)

See the events in life of Dorothy McGuire in Chronological Order

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