Born in Alton, Illinois, on November 13, 1919, beautiful actress Mary Beth Hughes was just a toddler when her parents divorced in the early 1920s. She and her mother eventually settled in Washington, DC, where Hughes went to school. Her grandmother, a former stage actress, encouraged the young girl follow an acting career. Talented as a singer and actress, by the time she graduated from high school Hughes had logged many hours on stage. She went to Los Angeles where her grandmother lived and, after a few tough scrapes, made the transition to films when she was 19 years old at the top studio of the period, MGM. Her first roles were uncredited ones in MGM second features, yet her career ramped up quickly. As she matured as an actress, Hughes landed better roles in such MGM releases as The Women (1939; with Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Virginia Grey, and Marjorie Main); Dancing Co-Ed (1939; with Lana Turner and Richard Carlson); and Fast and Furious (1939; with Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern). Hughes moved on to a contract with 20th Century-Fox, where she was cast in starring roles in second features such as Four Sons (1940; with Don Ameche and Alan Curtis), The Cowboy and the Blonde (1941; with George Montgomery), and Dressed to Kill (1941; with Lloyd Nolan).

Mary Beth HughesMary Beth HughesMary Beth Hughes

Various promotional photos of gorgeous Mary Beth Hughes. LEFT: Late 1930s or early 1940s photo. CENTER and RIGHT: Early 1950s Paramount photos

Hughes met handsome actor Ted North, who was also a 20th Century-Fox contract player, in 1940. They first acted together in the 20th Century-Fox mystery Charlie Chan in Rio (1941; with Sidney Toler and Cobina Wright), and after dating for a lengthy period, the couple wed in December 1943. Hughes and North acted in one more film together, the musical Men on Her Mind (1944). Following a string of films for PRC and Paramount, Hughes took a three-year hiatus from acting, during which she gave birth to a son. She did not return to films until 1947, following her divorce from Ted North. Sadly, both their careers were on the decline by the time the couple called it quits. Hughes then married actor/singer David Street and started a nightclub act with her new husband, but the act folded when the couple separated in the mid 1950s. Following their divorce, Street married actress Debra Paget.

the films of mary beth hughes

Four Sons (1940)

Mary Beth Hughes, Alan Curtis, Don Ameche, and George Ernest

From the 20th Century-Fox war drama Free, Blonde and 21 with Alan Curtis, Don Ameche, and George Ernest

Free, Blonde and 21 (1940)

Henry Wilcoxon and Mary Beth Hughes

From the 20th Century-Fox drama Free, Blonde and 21 with Henry Wilcoxon. This film was directed by B-movie actor Ricardo Cortez

The Great Profile (1940)

John Barrymore, Mary Beth Hughes, and Lionel AtwillJohn Barrymore, Wille Fung, and Mary Beth Hughes

From the 20th Century-Fox comedy The Great Profile. LEFT: With John Barrymore and Lionel Atwill. RIGHT: With John Barrymore and Willie Fung

Sleepers West (1941)

Louis Jean Heydt and Mary Beth HughesLouis Jean Heydt and Mary Beth Hughes

From the 20th Century-Fox noir release Sleepers West with Louis Jean Heydt

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Mary Beth Hughes

From the 20th Century-Fox western The Ox-Bow Incident

Never a Dull Moment (1943)

Mary Beth Hughes

From the funny Universal second feature Never a Dull Moment

Over My Dead Body (1943)

Milton Berle and Mary Beth Hughes

From the 20th Century-Fox comedy Over My Dead Body with Milton Berle

Men on Her Mind (1944)

Mary Beth Hughes

Hughes as Lily Durrell in the PRC musical Men on Her Mind

Take It Big (1944)

Mary Beth Hughes

From the Paramount musical Take It Big

The Lady Confesses (1945)

Hugh Beaumont and Mary Beth Hughes

With Hugh Beaumont in the PRC noir The Lady Confesses

Rimfire (1949)

Mary Beth Hughes

From the Lippert western Rimfire

Gun Battle at Monterey (1957)

Mary Beth Hughes and Sterling Hayden

With Sterling Hayden in the Allied Artists western Gun Battle at Monterey

later years

Mary Beth Hughes film career began to ebb in the 1950s, but she frequently worked in television, often appearing with Red Skelton and Milton Berle, and also served as a pitchwoman. She also appeared in several stage productions and worked as singer in the early 1960s. Later, she took a steady job as a surgical assistant for a plastic surgeon. After a long hiatus that lasted throughout the 1960s, Hughes returned to films in the early 1970s in low-budget sexy comedies including How's Your Love Life? (1971; with John Agar, Grant Williams, and Mel Blanc), The Working Girls (1974; with Cassandra Peterson and Bob Schott), and Tanya (1976; with Tallie Cochrane), which was her final film. Sadly, Mary Beth Hughes passed away on August 27, 1995, at the age of 75. She was survived by her son, Donald North. In recent years she has become a cult favorite, in part due to Mystery Science Theater 3000's airing and DVD release of Hughes' fun 1944 PRC film I Accuse My Parents.

mary beth hughes dvds available from


Tanya (1976) with Tallie Cochrane
The Working Girls (1974) with Cassandra Peterson and Bob Schott
How's Your Love Life? (1971) with John Agar, Grant Williams, William Hudson, Mel Blanc, and Eve Brent
The Blue Hour (1971) with Edward Blessington
Gun Battle at Monterey (1957) with Sterling Hayden, Pamela Duncan, Ted de Corsia, Lee Van Cleef, and Byron Foulger
Dig That Uranium (1956) with Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Raymond Hatton, and Myron Healey
Las Vegas Shakedown (1955) with Dennis O'Keefe, Coleen Gray, Thomas Gomez, Robert Armstrong, and Herb Vigran
Loophole (1954) with Barry Sullivan, Dorothy Malone, Charles McGraw, Don Haggerty, Don Beddoe, and Richard Reeves
Highway Dragnet (1954) with Richard Conte, Joan Bennett, Wanda Hendrix, and Reed Hadley
Passage West (1951) with John Payne, Dennis O'Keefe, Arleen Whelan, and Frank Faylen
Close to My Heart (1951) with Ray Milland, Gene Tierney, and Fay Bainter
Holiday Rhythm (1950) with David Street, Tex Ritter, Sid Melton, and Tommy Noonan
Young Man with a Horn (1950) with Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Hoagy Carmichael, Jerome Cowan, and Nestor Paiva
Riders In the Sky (1949) with Gene Autry, Gloria Henry, Pat Buttram, Robert Livingston, Alan Hale Jr., Hank Patterson, and Kenne Duncan
Square Dance Jubilee (1949) with Don 'Red' Barry, Max Terhune, and Tom Tyler
The Devil's Henchmen (1949) with Warner Baxter, Mike Mazurki, Peggy Converse, and Regis Toomey
Grand Canyon (1949) with Richard Arlen, Reed Hadley, Grady Sutton, and Joyce Compton
Rimfire (1949) with James Millican, Reed Hadley, Henry Hull, Glenn Strange, and Fuzzy Knight
El Paso (1949) with John Payne, Gail Russell, Sterling Hayden, Gabby Hayes, Dick Foran, Henry Hull, and H.B. Warner
Last of the Wild Horses (1948) with James Ellison, Jane Frazee, Douglass Dumbrille, Reed Hadley, and Grady Sutton; once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000
Inner Sanctum (1948) with Charles Russell
Joe Palooka in Winner Take All (1948) with Joe Kirkwood, Elyse Knox, William Frawley, Sheldon Leonard, and Lyle Talbot
The Return of Wildfire (1948) with Richard Arlen, Patricia Morison, James Millican, and Reed Hadley
Waterfront at Midnight (1948) with William Gargan, Richard Travis, Richard Crane, and Keye Luke
Caged Fury (1948) with Richard Denning, Sheila Ryan, and Buster Crabbe
The Lady Confesses (1945) with Hugh Beaumont
Rockin' in the Rockies (1945) with the Three Stooges and Tim Ryan
The Great Flamarion (1945) with Erich von Stroheim and Dan Duryea
I Accuse My Parents (1944) with Robert Lowell and Vivienne Osborne; once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000
Take It Big (1944) with Jack Haley, Harriet Nelson, Arline Judge, Fuzzy Knight, George Meeker, and Ozzie Nelson
Men on Her Mind (1944) with Edward Norris and Ted North
Timber Queen (1944) with Richard Arlen, June Havoc, Sheldon Leonard, and Dick Purcell
Never a Dull Moment (1943) with the Ritz Brothers, Frances Langford, George Zucco, Franklin Pangborn, and Jack La Rue
Melody Parade (1943) with Eddie Quillan, Tim Ryan, Irene Ryan, Mantan Moreland, and Armida
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) with Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan, and Jane Darwell
Follow the Band (1943) with Eddie Quillan, Leon Errol, Robert Mitchum, Frances Langford, and Leo Carrillo
Good Morning, Judge (1943) with Dennis O'Keefe, Louise Allbritton, J. Carrol Naish, Louise Beavers, and Frank Faylen
Over My Dead Body (1943) with Milton Berle, Reginald Denny, Pat O'Malley, and Lon McCallister
Orchestra Wives (1942) with George Montgomery, Ann Rutherford, Glenn Miller, Lynn Bari, Carole Landis, and Cesar Romero
The Night Before the Divorce (1942) with Joseph Allen, Nils Asther, and Lynn Bari
Blue, White and Perfect (1942) with Lloyd Nolan, George Reeves, Steven Geray, Mae Marsh, and Ann Doran
Design for Scandal (1941) with Rosalind Russell, Walter Pidgeon, Edward Arnold, Lee Bowman, and Jean Rogers
Charlie Chan in Rio (1941) with Sidney Toler, Cobina Wright, Victor Jory, Victor Sen Yung, and Ted North
Dressed to Kill (1941) with Lloyd Nolan, Sheila Ryan, and William Demarest
The Cowboy and the Blonde (1941) with George Montgomery, Alan Mowbray, Minerva Urecal, and Fuzzy Knight
The Great American Broadcast (1941) with Alice Faye, Jack Oakie, John Payne, Cesar Romero, and the Ink Spots
Ride on Vaquero (1941) with Cesar Romero, Lynne Roberts, Chris-Pin Martin, Robert Lowery, and William Demarest
Sleepers West (1941) with Lloyd Nolan and Lynn Bari
The Great Profile (1940) with John Barrymore, Gregory Ratoff, John Payne, Anne Baxter, and Lionel Atwill
Lucky Cisco Kid (1940) with Cesar Romero, Dana Andrews, Chris-Pin Martin, and Johnny Sheffield
Four Sons (1940) with Don Ameche, Alan Curtis, Robert Lowery, and Sig Ruman
Star Dust (1940) with Linda Darnell, John Payne, Roland Young, Charlotte Greenwood, William Gargan, and Mary Healy
Free, Blonde and 21 (1940) with Lynn Bari, Joan Davis, Henry Wilcoxon, Robert Lowery, Chick Chandler, Elyse Knox, and Herbert Rawlinson
The Covered Trailer (1939) with James Gleason, Lucile Gleason, and Willie Best
Fast and Furious (1939) with Franchot Tone, Ann Sothern, Ruth Hussey, Lee Bowman, and Allyn Joslyn
Dancing Co-Ed (1939) with Lana Turner, Richard Carlson, Artie Shaw, Ann Rutherford, Lee Bowman, Leon Errol, Roscoe Karns, and Monty Woolley
The Women (1939) with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Marjorie Main, Virginia Grey, Ruth Hussey, and Hedda Hopper
These Glamour Girls (1939) with Lew Ayres, Lana Turner, Richard Carlson, Anita Louise, Marsha Hunt, Ann Rutherford, and Peter Lind Hayes

mary beth hughes links

The Official Mary Beth Hughes Website
This site offers personal recollections by friends and acquaintances of Mary Beth Hughes, in addition to biographical information, a filmography, and more.

Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen: Mary Beth Hughes
Check out this wonderful site for interesting bulleted information and photos of Mary Beth Hughes.

mary beth hughes film now showing

Watch Mary Beth Hughes in the noir thriller The Great Flamarion
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