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January 16, 2021

Before Being a Nun: 35 Beautiful Photos of Dolores Hart in the 1950s and ’60s

Born 1938 in Chicago, Illinois, Dolores Hart is an American Roman Catholic Benedictine nun who was previously a prominent actress. She made ten films in five years, playing opposite Stephen Boyd, Montgomery Clift, George Hamilton, and Robert Wagner, having made her movie debut with Elvis Presley in Loving You (1957).

By the early 1960s, an established leading lady, Hart “stunned Hollywood” by announcing that she would forgo her life as an actress, leaving behind her career to enter the Abbey of Regina Laudis monastery in Connecticut, where she serves her monastic community

Hart was named prioress of the monastery in 2001, after the election of Mother David Serna as second abbess of Regina Laudis, and held that office until 2015. She remains a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, having in recent years become the only nun to be an Oscar-voting member.

A documentary film about Hart’s life, God Is the Bigger Elvis, was a nominee for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) and was shown on HBO in April 2012. Hart attended the 2012 Academy Awards for the documentary; her last red-carpet Oscar event had been in 1959 as a Hollywood starlet.

In her autobiography, The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey From Hollywood to Holy Vows (Ignatius Press)—co-authored with lifelong friend Richard DeNeut and released May 7, 2013—Hart told her life story, from her birth in Chicago to becoming Catholic, from her Hollywood adventures to monastery life.

Before being a Roman Catholic Benedictine nun, here are beautiful portrait photos of a young Dolores Hart as an actress in the 1950s and 1960s.


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