Ann Dvorak – Background Extra

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 126

Ann Dvorak spent nearly two and half years at M-G-M when she was a teenager. For most of her tenure she was a chorus girl and dance instructor and was usually kept busy, working on a steady stream of films at the studio featuring musical numbers. By 1931, movie audiences had grown tired of the musical craze that talkies had ushered in, and these types of films instantly fell off production schedules. This left Ann with little to do, and while she hoped the studio would start casting her in speaking roles, that didn’t happen.

Instead, she started showing up as a background extra in a handful of films, including the William Haines vehicle, Just a Gigolo. Here she is sitting at a nightclub table, and even though the action is taking place in the foreground, I think she stills stands out. At least she did for me when I came across this photo in the William Haines folder at a local memorabilia shop a few years back.


  1. Scott May 6, 2013

    Talk about a might-have-been, or a missed chance … just a couple of years after this, while Ann was working there, of course, Warner Brothers brought a new phase of the movie musical with the likes of “42nd Street”, “Gold Diggers Of 1933” and “Footlight Parade”. (My own favorite movie musicals, by the way.)

    Were these made during the time of her extended honeymoon? If so, too bad. With Ann’s dancing and singing skills, you would think she could have made a potentially very interesting contribution to any of those films in some capacity.

  2. admin May 6, 2013

    Yup, Warner Bros. started making those musicals when she was away. She ultimately felt like she had missed out which is one of the reasons why she lobbied for the role in Sweet Music. I touch on that a bit in the book.

    Great observation!

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