American television personality Mary Hart is recognized as a host of the entertainment newsmagazine show “Entertainment Tonight,” which she has been with since 1982. A finalist of the 1970 “Miss America Pageant,” Hart began her broadcasting career in Iowa and moved to Oklahoma to become a host of the daytime program “Dannysday” (1976). Her first brush with fame arrived when Hart, who at the time co-hosted a Los Angeles local program titled “PM Magazine,” was selected by Regis Philbin to co-host his talk show “Live With Regis.” After the cancellation of the show, she joined “E.T.,” (Entertainment Tonight) as a reporter and later a co-host. In addition to her hosting gig, Hart has worked as an actress and appeared in such television series or movies as “Days of Our Lives” (1980), “Hollyrock-A-Bye Baby” (1993), “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child” (1999) and “The Fairly OddParents” (2005).
The mother of one with present husband Burt Sugarman, Hart is an active supporter of children charities and has been awarded with the Children's Miracle Achievement Award and the Samaritan Award from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) for her work. Some of organizations she has been involved with include Children's Hospital Los Angeles, the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, Childhelp USA, and the American Heart Association.
Childhood and Family:
Mary Johanna Harum, who would later be popular as Mary Hart, was born on November 8, 1950, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The daughter of Dorothy Harum and sister of Michael and David, she moved with her family to Copenhagen before her tenth birthday and stayed there for about three years. After that, she lived in Sweden and returned to South Dakota in 1965 to attend high school. Three years later, Mary completed her studies at the Augustana Academy in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She then began competing in beauty pageants and was a finalist of the 1970 “Miss America Pageant.” She also taught English in a high school in Sioux Falls after graduating from Augustana College in 1972 and moonlighted as a host of a local cable program. She did not pursue broadcasting full time until she moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Mary has been married twice. She and first husband Terry Hart were married from 1972 to 1979. On April 8, 1989, she married producer and businessman Burt Sugarman (born on January 4, 1937, in Los Angeles, California). Sugarman received an Oscar nomination for his work in the 1986 movie “Children of a Lesser God.” Mary and her husband had a son they named Alec Jay “AJ” Sugarman on December 24, 1991.
Live With Regis
Mary Hart entered the 1969 “Miss Sioux Falls” beauty pageant and won the contest. She also won the swimsuit competition. She then won the title of “Miss South Dakota 1970” and participated in that year's “Miss America Pageant,” in which she finished in the Top 10. Two years later, she became an English teacher in South Dakota and hosted a local cable program. It was the latter job that brought Hart to Iowa in 1974, where she developed a public service program broadcast on radio and TV. Within two years, she had moved to Oklahoma City to serve as a host and producer on the morning talk show “Dannysday.”
Hart headed to Los Angeles in 1979. She got a small part as Newscaster Betty Howard in the long running soap opera “Days of our Lives” and did several TV commercials before becoming a co-host of the syndicated “PM Magazine” (1980-1982). The South Dakota native, however, did not experience her first break until Regis Philbin chose her to co-host the talk show “The Regis Philbin Show” in 1982. Unfortunately for Hart, the daytime show was axed four months later.
Hart was interviewed by new syndicated TV show “Entertainment Tonight” about the cancellation of “The Regis Philbin Show.” The day after the interview, she was recruited as a field correspondent for the show and soon nabbed the position as the show's co-host. Still with the program, Hart has interviewed many celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Penn, Tom Hanks and Olivia Newton John. The popular syndicated program launched Hart to stardom.
In addition to “Entertainment Tonight,” Hart has appeared in other television series, including “Live with Regis” (2006), “The View” (2007), “The Great Buck Howard” (2008), “Rachael Ray” (2008), “Dancing with the Stars” (2009) and “The Early Show” (2008 and 2009). As an actress, she was seen in an episode of “Days of Our Lives” (1980), “Fillmore” (2002) and “Still Standing” 92004), to name a few. Her recent film credits include the animated “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” (2001) and “Marci X” (2003).
American Women in Radio & Television: Silver Satellite Award
American Women in Radio & Television: Gracie Allen Award
National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF): Samaritan Award
Children's Miracle Achievement Award
Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1990