Ask AP: Mary Hartline

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on March 18, 2010

In the early 1950s in Chicago, there was a circus show with Mary Hartline as the bandleader. What happened to her?
Dennis Ruckolot, Hebron, Ill.

With her long blonde tresses, the baton-twirling Hartline was one of TV’s early pop icons, even
immortalized as a doll. From 1949 to 1955, she starred with ringmaster Claude Kirchner and three clowns on ABC’s Super Circus, which aired live from the Chicago Civic Center. After retiring, she married Woolworth Donahue, grandson of retail magnate F.W. Woolworth, and moved to Florida. Now 80, Hartline lives in her hometown of Hillsboro, Ill. “Children always wanted to know if my hair was real,” she says. It was, “and I’d tell them they could pull on it—as long as they didn’t pull too hard.