Both Wikipedia and IMDb claim that Ann Doran was in over 500 movies, though IMDb provides a mere 201 credits. Certainly I feel inclined to take their word for it that she was in over a thousand episodes of TV shows, not feeling inclined to add up their 152 TV credits for her. Regardless of actual numbers, it’s quite clear that Doran was one of the most prolific people we’ve covered in the years of this column. Her career stretches from childhood—either age four or age eleven, depending on your source, apparently—to the ’80s, when she herself was in her 70s. She hit pretty much every major TV show for thirty years, and if she appeared several times in movies with puppets in the corner, well, she also made several indisputable classics.
That her mother was a silent movie actress, stage name Rose Allen, may have influenced her choice of career. (IMDb lists seven credits for her mother, all uncredited and none silent, so one assumes that’s another incomplete page.) However, she wouldn’t have had the career she did if she were just trying to make her mother happy. That’s far too much career. Though apparently she herself also appeared in silent films, under an assumed name to prevent her father’s family from finding out. Which strikes me as silly, because surely they would have recognized her if they’d seen her.
She remains, however, one of those people you kind of have to be reminded of. A vast number of her film appearances are uncredited, even leaving aside those early childhood silent films. And, yes, she was in both The Painted Hills and Kitten With a Whip. But she was also Carol Stark, Jim’s mother, in Rebel Without a Cause. She was in both It! The Terror From Beyond Space and Them! However, she was also in several Capra films. She was even credited in You Can’t Take It With You.
Meanwhile, her television career is such that I am shocked to report that her only Twilight Zone appearance was in 1987. (Assuming her IMDb page is complete in this regard.) Her first TV appearance was in 1950. She did a lot of the shows with “theatre” or “playhouse” in the title, including of course Lux Video Theatre. (Two episodes!) She did fifty-eight episodes of a National Velvet TV series I wasn’t aware existed. She did three episodes of Perry Mason and six of Ironsides. She did both M*A*S*H and Trapper John, M.D. And if you’re playing along at home in the TV Career Landmark Shows, yes, she did Fantasy Island but no Murder, She Wrote.
As it happens, she was the second actress to appear as Meg Cratty in M*A*S*H. In her first appearance, she was Hope Summers. The character spent rather more time in the episode where she’s played by Ann Doran. It was a show with no continuity editor, and sometimes, it showed. That’s okay, in this case; there’s no real reason for it to be the same character anyway. Doran’s fun in the role, and the two episodes are in different eras of the show.