Ann Wedgeworth was an award-winning American actress who lived out her acting career in the theatre, film, and television. Even though she played several memorable roles within her almost 40-year-long career, she is most popular for portraying characters like Merleen Elldridge and Lana Shields in the sitcoms Evening Shade and Three’s Company respectively.
Ann’s last appearance in a movie before her death was in 2006 – in The Hawk Is Dying, which was showcased at the Sundance Film Festival. Throughout her active years, the actress was nominated for several awards, including one nomination by the Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Specialty Player and two nominations for National Society of Film Critics Award for her role in Handle with Care (1977) and Sweet Dreams (1985 – which she won).
Who is Ann Wedgeworth and How Old is She?
Born as Elizabeth Ann Wedgeworth on January 21, 1934, in Abilene, Texas, the prolific actress lived an accomplished life. She was a student of Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas, and the University of Texas, from where she graduated in 1957. Sequel to her graduation from college, Ann dropped her first name “Elizabeth” and relocated to New York in pursuit of an acting career. There, she auditioned severally to become a member of The Actors Studio before she was eventually admitted.
Ann Wedgeworth kicked off her professional acting career in the Broadway production of the play Make a Million in 1958. She went on to play many other roles on both Broadway and off-Broadway production of plays such as Thieves by Herb Gardner, Period of Adjustment by Tennessee Williams and James Baldwin’s second play, Blues for Mister Charlie.
She also took part in the production of the plays Chapter Two and A Lie of the Mind, winning a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play in 1978 for the former and earning a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for the latter.
The actress debuted on television in 1957 with the role of Ruth Cashel in the “Vengeance” episode of Kraft Theatre. After that time, she continued making guest appearances in several other television works until 1979 when she was cast as Lana Sheilds in one of her most popular works, Three’s Company. Thereafter, Ann Wedgeworth appeared in her next major role from 1982 to 1983 in the CBS sitcom Filthy Rich, portraying the character of Bootsie Weschester in fifteen episodes.
She went on to appear in the television sitcom Evening Shade, playing the role of Merleen Eldridge, the main role which made her feature in 98 episodes of the show which ran on CBS from September 21, 1990, to May 23, 1994. For her excellent portrayal of her character on the show, Ann Wedgeworth was nominated for a Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Specialty Player.
Launching her career in film, the actress began with a role in the Richard C. Sarafian directed film, Andy, in 1965. Eight years later, she was cast as the lead female, opposite Gene Hackman in Scarecrow (1973). She later appeared as a co-star in the 1973 sports drama film Bang the Drum Slowly, the 1974 comedy-drama Law and Disorder, and the 1976 romantic drama One Summer Love (originally titled Dragonfly). In 1977, Ann Wedgeworth played Dallas Angel in the film Handle with Care and for her performance, she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.
All through the 1980s, she appeared in numerous supporting roles in films such as No Small Affair, Sweet Dreams, Made in Heaven, among others. She came close to grabbing another National Society of Film Critics Award in 1985 with her role as Hilda Hensley in Sweet Dreams.
Ann continued her film career, appearing in many other films and television movies some of which are Steel Magnolias (1989), Hard Promises (1991), Cooperstown (1993), Love and a .45 (1994), A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story (1994), and The Whole Wide World (1996).
In 1999, Ann Wedgeworth acted as Borlene in The Hunter’s Moon before playing her very last film role in The Hawk Is Dying.
Ann Wedgeworth’s Net Worth
The actress had an estimated net worth of around $20 million. This is not a surprise, considering the fact that she had a very long career in the acting industry and at the same time, it is a surprise on the other hand because the movies she starred in during her days were not high budget films like most movies of today.
Ann Wedgeworth was raised in the Baptist faith by her parents Elizabeth Wedgeworth and Cortus Wedgeworth, a school teacher. She was married twice and had a daughter each in both marriages.
Her first marriage to Rip Torn lasted from 1955 to 1961, producing her first child named Danae Torn, who followed in her mother’s footsteps to become an actress. In 1970, Ann remarried to Ernie Martin, an acting teacher, and director and together, they had Diánna Martin in 1972. In addition to being an actress like her mom, Diánna is also an acting teacher and a writer.
Ann Wedgeworth’s Death
At the age of 83, Ann Wedgeworth died at a nursing home in North Bergen, New Jersey. Meanwhile, she was sick for a very long time before her death. According to records, the prolific actress passed on in the month of November in 2017, precisely on the 16th.