Question: I read somewhere that Dolores Hart, who played the strong, mature-minded co-ed in Where the Boys Are, gave up acting and joined a convent. She was beautiful and seemed to have so much potential could this be true? Vicky
Flickchick: It could indeed, though I don't think Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., would see herself as having betrayed her potential. Born Dolores Hicks in Chicago, Ill., on October 20, 1938, Hart was an only child who grew up in Beverly Hills. Her parents worked on the fringes of the business: Hart's father, Bert Hicks, was a bit player, and her mother was offered a contract by legendary playwright Moss Hart (from whom I'm guessing Dolores took her professional name), which she turned down to concentrate on raising her daughter. In an article that appeared in the Post-Gazette in 1998, Hart claimed, "I did not grow up wanting to be a nun. I wanted to be an actress." She got off to a fine start, made her movie debut at age 19 opposite Elvis Presley in Loving You (1957); the two teamed up for a second time the following year in King Creole. In 1960, Hart was one of the four young stars of the hugely popular Where the Boys Are the others were Yvette Mimieux, Paula Prentiss and Connie Francis and appeared poised for stardom.
But Hart was dissatisfied with the glamorous life, and was already feeling the pull of a more spiritual direction. Her turning point came while working on the Holocaust drama Lisa
, in which she played a Jewish girl who survived internment in Auschwitz. Hart prepared to become a Benedictine nun by entering the monastic Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Ct., and assuming the name Sister Judith; when she took her final vows, she changed her name back to Dolores out of respect for her mother's wishes. She eventually rose to the rank of Mother Dolores Hart, and took a baby step back into the public eye with the CD Women in Chant
(Sounds True, 1998), which features the Choir of the Abbey of Regina. Hart took the CD's cover photo, and is part of the choir that sings such classical religious compositions as "Stabat Mater" and "Benedicto Te." And though completely devoted to her religious life, Hart confesses that she remains more interested in movies than the average nun.