DOLORES HART- FROM STARDOM TO SISTERHOOD
Born 20 October 1938 - Chicago, Illinois
Dolores Hart made her screen debut as Elvis' love interest in Loving You 1957
Sister Dolores Hart
Loving You 1957 Dolores Hart & Elvis Presley
Sister Dolores will be walking the red carpet (in her habit) at the Kodak Theatre as the subject of short documentary
God Is the Bigger Elvis
which was nominated for an Academy Award lost out to the Pakistani film Saving Face
Mother Dolores and about 40 other nuns cloistered at the Abbey of Regina Laudis needs millions of dollars in renovations
to meet fire and safety codes, add an elevator and make handicap accessibility upgrades.
Dolores Hart blonde starlet in Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s. She shared a kiss with Elvis Presley in the 1957
Paramount film, "Loving You" which begs the frequently ask question about whether Elvis was
a good kisser.
"I don't know why they ask me. It's right there on the screen to see.." replied Mother Dolores
The first costar to kiss Elvis Presley on the screen but left for a life of solitude The first
actress to kiss Elvis Presley on the screen and over six year, starred in films with Anthony Quinn,
Robert Wagner, Jeff Chandler, and Montgomery Clift. She was the top-billing actress in
MGM's highest grossing 1962 movie Where the Boys
Are. Today Dolores Hart is Mother Dolores who lives
at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in rural Connecticut, where she has been a cloistered nun.
Dolores grew into a striking beauty and in 1957, at the age of 18, she signed a contract with
famed movie producer Hal Wallis, and her first movie Loving You she starred opposite Elvis
Presley. Decades later, Robinson who still lives LA and has never married. He continues to visit the
woman he now knows as Mother Dolores. He says their love has sustained itself - albeit in ways
very different from what he'd imagined as a younger man. "We have grown together. Like we would
have in our marriage," he says, "She's my life."
Mother Dolores, formerly Dolores Hart, is still a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts
and Sciences. But she has not been able to vote for the Oscar winners since joining the Abbey of
Regina Laudis because she cannot leave the abbey to see the films. Recently, however, she has asked the
Academy to reinstate her as a voting member. She plans to watch the films on home video.
Dolores Hart at age 24 startled the film world in 1962 by leaving a thriving screen career - including
two roles opposite Elvis Presley - to become a nun, has returned to Hollywood for her first visit after
43 years. Now the Rev. Mother Dolores Hart and prioress of the cloistered community at Abbey of
Regina Laudis in Connecticut, she has been renewing friendships from
her studio years. Why? To spread awareness about a largely mysterious neurological disorder that
afflicts countless Americans, including herself, called peripheral idiopathic neuropathy.
Last month, Hart testified at a congressional hearing in Washington, citing the need for research into a
cause and cure for the painful and crippling disease.
Over a recent lunch at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel,
Mother Dolores spoke of her ordeal with the
disease. She also told of her long ambition to be an
actress and what ended that phase of her life.
She seems in radiant health at 67, her cheeks
smooth and rosy, her blue eyes clear. She wore
traditional nun's attire, with a couple of
additions: a green hand-knit sweater under
the robe and a jaunty black beret.
In 1999, Hart underwent a root canal.
Two days later, Hart
awakened with searing
pain. "I couldn't eat,''
she recalled. "When I put
my feet on the floor, I
couldn't stand. My feet
felt like they were on
fire. I couldn't talk. I
thought, 'This is
ridiculous.' I couldn't
understand what in the
world was going on." For
six months, she journeyed
from doctor to doctor, yet
none could figure out what
was causing her pain.
Finally, a New York
specialist tried changing
her medicine. She
gradually was able to
leave her wheelchair and
resume a more normal life.
"From the age of 7, I
never in my life wanted to
be anything but an
actress,'' Hart said. When
her parents divorced in
Los Angeles but were
constantly wrangling, she
wrote a letter to her
grandmother in Chicago
asking to live with her.
She took a train to the
Windy City with a ticket
pinned to her coat.
Hart's grandfather was
a projectionist at a
downtown movie palace and
she would accompanied him
to work. Her job was to
wake him from naps every
12 minutes so he could
change reels. Years later,
Hart was back in L.A.
playing the lead in a
school production of Saint
Joan and an admirer asked
where she had studied
acting technique. She
admitted her only
schooling came from
performances - without
sound in the projection
booth of a Chicago
theater. A friend notified
the studios of a
remarkable young actress
in Saint Joan and Hal
Wallis at Paramount, sent
a scout to check her out.
He ended up recommending
Hart, and a film test and
contract soon followed.
made her screen debut as Elvis' love interest in Loving You
1957. "I had no idea who Elvis Presley was? When I first met
him, he was just a charming young boy with long sideburns.
couldn't have been more gracious. He
jumped to his feet and said, 'Good
afternoon, Miss Dolores.' He and Gary
Cooper were the only ones in Hollywood
who called me that.'' Hart also
co-starred with Elvis in King Creole
and appeared in Wild is the Wind with
Anthony Quinn and Lonely Hearts' with
Montgomery Clift. "I was never a star.
star means your name is above the
title. Mine never was,'' she insisted.
"I really loved the acting.'' During
the making of the The Plunderers 1959
with Jeff Chandler she looked in the
mirror and heard a voice saying:
"You're really enjoying this, but
you're not going to do this much
longer.'' After nine months in New
York with the play The Pleasure of His
Company she complained to a friend
that she was weary.
friend recommended a retreat at a
Connecticut monastery. Hart was
hesitant but decided to go. She found
a remarkable peace. She continued
returning to the monastery twice a
year. Back in Hollywood, she became
engaged to businessman Don Robinson.
night, she related, he asked her, "Do
you love me?'' She answered, "Yes, I
love you.'' He asked her again. Same
answer. "It doesn't sound right,'' he
said. The engagement was canceled, and
in December 1962, she flew to
Connecticut, never to return - until
now. Mother Dolores is proud of one
element of her Hollywood life: being
invited to become a member of the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences. She is still a member and
votes each year for the Academy
Awards. Does that
mean she sees all the nominees, no
matter how bawdy? "Yes, I do,'' she
replied with a smile. "If you're a
Benedictine, as I am, you're supposed
to be capable of integrating
Elvis nearly suffered fatal
injuries on the set of
Loving You in January of 1957. He had just
finished shooting a scene and had stepped back up onto the set when some
instinct told him to move.
Three seconds later the
entire light structure crashed to the ground. Elvis would have been
crushed had he not moved. The studio wanted no more accidents with their
young, multi-million dollar actor.