Died June 11, 2012. Born November 2, 1917.
Canadian-American actress in film, radio, and television. She has had a long career starring and co-starring in films, playing Polly Benedict on the big screen of the 1930s and 1940s in the Andy Hardy series, and on The Bob Newhart Show as Newhart's character's mother-in-law.
In 1935, Rutherford began her Hollywood film career in the starring role of Joan O'Brien in the dramatic film Waterfront Lady for Mascot Pictures, later to be Republic Pictures. Rutherford soon established herself as a popular leading lady of Western films, costarring with actors Gene Autry and John Wayne.
Rutherford later left Republic and signed a film contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. At MGM, Rutherford appeared as the Spirit of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol (1938) and Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (1940).
MGM loaned Rutherford to Selznick International Pictures to appear as Carreen O'Hara, the sister of Scarlet O'Hara, in the film Gone with the Wind (1939). MGM boss Louis Mayer originally refused the loan, but Rutherford passionately appealed to him to change his mind. In December 1939, while promoting the new movie, Rutherford visited six Confederate Army veterans at the Confederate Soldiers Home near Atlanta, Georgia. One of the veterans gave Rutherford a rose corsage tied with Confederate colors.
From 1937 until 1942, Rutherford portrayed Polly Benedict, Andy Hardy's girlfriend, in the Andy Hardy youth comedy film series with actor Mickey Rooney. Her first film in this series was You're Only Young Once (1937) and the last was Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942).
Rutherford also played Carol Lambert, comedian Red Skelton's screen girlfriend, in a series of mystery/comedies; Whistling in the Dark (1941), Whistling in Dixie (1942), and Whistling in Brooklyn (1943).
In the early 1940s, Rutherford left MGM to work without contract with different studios. During this period, she starred in films such as Orchestra Wives (1942), Two O'Clock Courage (1945), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). In 1950, Rutherford retired from films.
Rutherford died on June 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California, following declining health due to heart problems.