Not from the New World

Actress Ann Dvorak is not related to composer Antonín Dvořák, or to psychologist and keyboard guru August Dvorak, or to computer columnist (and August’s nephew) John C. Dvorak, though apparently she was related to John C. Calhoun. I’m not quite sure why she took on the surname “Dvorak,” which corresponds to none of her three husbands; she was credited as Baby Anna Lehr, after her mother, in her film work as a child. (Her birth certificate reads “Anna McKim.”) Maybe it was just to listen to people mispronounce it:

“My name is properly pronounced vor’shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock.”

Dvorak was pretty busy in pre-Code Hollywood, appearing opposite Paul Muni in Howard Hughes’ Scarface (1932) and, here, with Richard Cromwell in Michael Curtiz’ The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (also 1932):

Ann Dvorak as Molly Louvain in 1932

Dvorak subsequently absented herself from Hollywood, by which is meant that she ran off to London and married cast member Leslie Fenton, thereby breaking her contract and, inevitably, annoying studio heads, who paid her back by engineering the decline of her career. She and Fenton broke up in 1945; eventually she retired to Hawaii, where she died in 1979.

Ann Dvorak doing promo work

This Elmer Fryer photo apparently served as the source for a trading card from the British tobacco company Carreras.

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