Dorothy McGuire
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Omaha, Nebraska
Birth Sign
Omaha, Nebraska

Dorothy McGuire was a notable American actress who starred in films such as “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and “Swiss Family Robinson.” During her acting career, which spanned from 1943 until 1990, she appeared in over forty films for the big screen and television. In practically all of the roles she played in the movies, she displayed remarkable sincerity, dignity, and practicality, and she may have possessed more talent than Hollywood demanded of its leading ladies. She was warm-hearted and had a calming presence, as well as a flair for bringing tears to the audience’s eyes through her performances. She was cast in her parts based on her acting ability. Despite her outstanding performance over a career that spanned more than five decades, she did not receive the number of accolades that were expected throughout the time she commanded the attention of her audience. Her modest passive beauty, grace, and style had made an indelible mark on Hollywood’s ‘Golden Era’ annals, and she will be permanently entrenched in the minds of moviegoers everywhere.

Childhood and Adolescence

Dorothy McGuire was born Dorothy Hackett Mcguire on June 14, 1918, in Omaha, Nebraska. Her father, Thomas Johnson Mcguire, was a lawyer, and her mother, Isabel Flaherty, was a nurse. Dorothy attended Nebraska’s ‘Omaha Junior College’ and later Indianapolis, Indiana’s ‘Ladywood Convent.’ In 1936, she attended at Pine Major Junior College in Chestnut Hill, Wellesley, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1938, at the age of 19. She began her acting career at the age of 13 when she appeared in the play ‘A Kiss for Cinderella’ starring Henry Fonda at the ‘Omaha Community Playhouse’ in Nebraska.

Career of Dorothy

Dorothy McGuire began her career as an understudy for Martha Scott in the Broadway production of ‘Our Town’ in 1938, as well as in the films ‘Bachelor Born’ and ‘Stop Over.’ Martha Scott was subsequently replaced in the play by her. With the plays ‘My Dear Children,’ starring John Barrymore, ‘Swinging the Dream,’ ‘Medicine Show,’ ‘The Time of Your Life,’ and ‘Kind Lady,’ she gained further theatrical experience.

She got her start in movies thanks to producer David O. Selznick, who discovered her on the Broadway stage and took her to Hollywood. He signed her to a contract and loaned her to ’20th Century Fox’ in 1943 to play ‘Claudia Naughton’ opposite Robert Young in the film ‘Claudia.’

In 1945, she starred as ‘Katie Nolan’ in Elia Kazan’s film ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,’ in which she played a woman fighting to raise her family in a Brooklyn tenement. In the same year, she played ‘Laura Pennigton’ opposite Robert Young in ‘The Enchanted Cottage.’ She starred as ‘Helen,’ a mute servant, in the thriller ‘The Spiral Staircase’ in 1946, and also as ‘Pat Ruscomb’ in ‘Till the End of Time.’

In 1946, she starred opposite Robert Young in the sequel to ‘Claudia,’ titled ‘Claudia and David.’ In 1948, she received her first Academy Award nomination for her role as ‘Kathy Lucy’ in the film ‘Gentleman’s Agreement,’ in which she co-starred with Gregory Peck. In 1947, she co-founded the ‘La Jolla Playhouse’ with Mel Ferre and Gregory Peck.

In 1950, she played ‘Jane Morgan’ in ‘Mother Didn’t Tell Me’ and ‘Ann Winslow’ in ‘Mister 880.’ In the same year, she toured with Tennessee William’s ‘Summer and Smoke.’ In 1951, she played Nancy Greer in “I Want You” and Deborrah Patterson in “Callaway Went Thataway.” In 1952, she played the role of ‘Ellen Pierce’ in the movie ‘Invitation.’

For her work as ‘Miss Frances’ in the romantic film ‘Three Coins in the Fountain,’ she received a ‘Best Actress’ nomination from the ‘New York Film Critics Circle’ in 1954. In the same year, she played ‘Crystal Benson’ in the film ‘Make Haste to Live.’ In 1955, she played ‘Abbe Nyle’ in the film ‘Trial,’ and in 1956, she co-starred with Anthony Perkins and Gary Cooper in the film ‘Friendly Persuasion.’

In 1958, she starred in the Broadway play “Winesburg, Ohio” as well as the film “Old Yeller.” She appeared in three films in 1959: ‘The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker,’ ‘A Summer Place,’ and ‘The Earth Is Mine.’ In 1960, she played ‘Cora Flood’ in the film adaptation of ‘The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.’ In the same year, she starred in the film “Swiss Family Robinson,” for which she became well-known. Dorothy played Leah Slade in ‘Susan Slade’ in 1961 and Margaret Carey in ‘Summer Magic’ in 1963.

She portrayed Virgin Mary in the epic ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ in 1965. In 1971, she starred in the films ‘Flight of Doves,’ ‘She Waits,’ ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull,’ and ‘The Runaways.’ In 1975, she returned to the stage in Tennessee William’s ‘The Night of the Iguana,’ as Hannah Jelkes. Dorothy was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role as ‘Mary Jordache’ in the ABC miniseries ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ in 1976.

In 1978, she played the role of ‘Marmee’ in the NBC miniseries ‘Little Women.’ In 1979, she appeared in ‘The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel,’ and in 1983, she appeared in ‘Ghost Dancing.’ She appeared in the CBS television movie ‘Amos’ and the CBS daytime soap ‘The Young and the Restless’ in 1985, opposite Kirk Douglas.
She played ‘Beryl Foster’ in 1985’s ‘Between Darkness and Dawn,’ ‘Ann Suzuki’ in 1986’s ‘American Geisha,’ and ‘Mrs. Adkin’ in 1990’s ‘Caroline?’ In 1990, she had her final television appearance in the ABC production ‘The Last Best Year,’ in which she played ‘Anne,’ alongside Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters.

Achievements & Awards

In 1947, Dorothy McGuire was nominated for an Academy Award for ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ for her performance in the film ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement.’
She was nominated for an Emmy Award for ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ in 1976.
For her contributions to the motion film industry, she was honored with a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.’

Personal History and Legacy

She married John Swope, a photographer for Life magazine, in 1943 and stayed with him until his death in 1979.
She had two children from this marriage: Topo, who went on to become an actor, and Mark, who went on to become a photographer and artist. After breaking her leg in a fall in 2001, her health rapidly deteriorated. Dorothy died of heart failure on September 13, 2001, at the age of 85, at a Santa Monica hospital.

Estimated Net Worth

Dorothy is one of the wealthiest movie actresses and one of the most well-known. Dorothy McGuire’s net worth is estimated to be $15 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


Dorothy McGuire was never able to receive recognition in the form of awards.