Dorothy McGuire was born in Omaha, Nebraska June 14, 1918. She made her stage debut in Omaha opposite Henry Fonda in A Kiss For Cinderella when she was 13.
She understudied Martha Scott in Our Town and eventually made her Broadway debut playing Emily Webb. She also played opposite John Barrymore in My Dear Children. Her first starring role on Broadway came in Claudia in 1941.
She was put under contract by David O. Selznick who loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to recreate her Broadway role in the film Claudia co-starring Robert Young in 1943. She then starred in the Elia Kazan directed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as Katie Nolan, a mother struggling to raise her family in the Brooklyn tenements. Her first film for Selznick was the thriller The Spiral Staircase playing a mute servant. She also starred as a homely woman in The Enchanted Cottage and did a sequel to Claudia, Claudia and David both with Robert Young. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in 1947's Gentleman's Agreement starring opposite Gregory Peck.
She founded the La Jolla Playhouse along with Gregory Peck and Mel Ferrer in 1947.
McGuire was a rarity among actresses her age. She could play a romantic lead such as in the movie Three Coins in the Fountain, for which she was nominated as Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle, then play a character part such as in the movie Friendly Persuasion. She never relied on actor's affectations for the younger parts or age makeup for the older parts.
The widow of famous photographer John Swope, mother of actress Topo Swope and artist/photographer Mark Swope, she chose her roles carefully later in her career and apppeared in such noteworthy projects as Rich Man, Poor Man for which she was Emmy nominated and as Marmee in Little Women.
Dorothy McGuire passed away from heart failure September 13, 2001.
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