Mary Hart

For other people named Mary Hart, see Mary Hart (disambiguation).
Mary Hart

Hart modeling for The Heart Truth charity fashion show in 2007
Born Mary Johanna Harum
(1950-11-08) November 8, 1950
Madison, South Dakota, United States[1]
Occupation Television personality, talk show host, singer
Years active 1976–present
Title Miss South Dakota 1970
Semi-finalist Miss America 1971
Spouse(s) Terry Hart (1972–1979) (divorced)
Burt Sugarman (1989present)

Mary Hart (born November 8, 1950[1]) is an American television personality and was the long-running host (1982-2011) of the syndicated gossip and entertainment round-up program Entertainment Tonight, which is the longest running entertainment magazine show of all time.[2] She was also Miss South Dakota 1970.

Early life

Mary Hart was born Mary Johanna Harum in Madison, South Dakota[1] and lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as in Denmark, as a child and teenager.[3] She speaks both Danish and Swedish fluently. Hart, who competed as Mary Harum when she was Miss South Dakota 1970, was a semi-finalist in the Miss America 1971 pageant.[4] In 1968, Hart graduated, first from Augustana Academy[5] and in 1972 from Augustana College in Sioux Falls.[6] While teaching English at Washington High School for two years,[6] she also produced and anchored her own talk show on KSFY-TV, the local ABC affiliate.[3]


Hart began her full-time television career at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1976, she went to KTVY (now KFOR-TV) in Oklahoma City, where she co-hosted a show with Danny Williams called Dannysday. She also was a sales representative for a school yearbook company. Determined to leave journalism behind, she moved to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westwood in 1979 with $10,000 in the bank.[7] Hart landed a small role on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, as well as some TV commercials. Almost broke, she became a co-host on the Los Angeles version of the syndicated PM Magazine. That led to a job in 1981 as co-host of Regis Philbin's first national talk show on NBC. When that show was canceled four months later, Entertainment Tonight interviewed her about what it felt like to be canceled. The day after the interview, she was hired as an ET correspondent. Thirteen weeks later, she was named the show's co-host, along with Ron Hendren.[8]

In 1984, Hendren was replaced by Robb Weller, who was replaced by John Tesh in 1986, who was replaced by Bob Goen in 1996. Hart began co-hosting ET with Mark Steines in 2004.[7][9] Soon after her hiring by ET, Hart chose Jay Bernstein as her manager. Hart is known for her shapely legs, leading to an endorsement contract with Hanes for that company's line of pantyhose in 1987. Jay Bernstein had her legs insured with Lloyd's of London for $1 million each.[10][11] Executive Producer Linda Bell Blue described Hart as "the face of ET". On March 29, 1987 she participated in the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania III, serving as the guest timekeeper in the main event between Hulk Hogan and André the Giant.[12]

During the summer of 1988, Hart appeared in Las Vegas with comedian David Brenner at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, which realized another of her childhood dreams, singing and dancing on stage. She continued her work on Entertainment Tonight while performing in Las Vegas, flying between the cities after two shows in Vegas, the last at 11:00PM, to film ET the following morning at 8:00AM.[13] In 1991, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that Hart's voice had triggered seizures in an epileptic woman.[14] This was later referenced in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures[15] and the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, where Kramer (Michael Richards) suffers from convulsions whenever he hears Hart's voice. Hart has been parodied in Animaniacs in the character "Mary Heartless". She had also voiced a cartoon character named "Fairy Hart" in an episode of The Fairly OddParents where Bob Goen voiced "Bob Glimmer", and in The Fairly Oddparents TV movie, Fairly OddBaby.

Hart at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009.

In May 2009, Hart suffered a broken left wrist due to an accident at home (not due to any exotic activity, despite her jokes about it). While her wrist was healing, she wore various brightly colored slings designed to match or complement her wardrobe for each show. On August 5, 2010, Hart announced that she was leaving the show at the end of the upcoming 30th season, citing that she was ready for a change.[16] Hart's final episode aired on May 20, 2011—ending her 29-year history with the program.[17]

Mary is a recurring character on Baby Daddy, as a fictional version of herself, who hosts a morning show called "Mary," and was Tucker's boss until mid-season 5.

On October 29, 2015, Hart made a guest appearance on ET, being interviewed by current host Nancy O'Dell; her appearance was meant to kick off a month-long celebration of the program's 35th season.[18]

Personal life

Hart resided in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills, California with her film-producer husband, Burt Sugarman.[19] before moving to a condo in the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles[20][21] and later, to Sierra Towers in 2015. They married in a private ceremony aboard a yacht in 1989[22] and have one son, Alec "AJ" Sugarman. She converted to Judaism. Hart owns two mansions in Montana.[23] One is a 7,000-square-foot home on 160-acres. Both homes are located within the Yellowstone Club residential community.[23][24] Since 2000, Hart has also had a home in Palm Desert, California[25] where she has supported local charities.[26]

She is a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and has performed the national anthem prior to games on several occasions.[27][28]

As co-chair of the New Hospital Building Campaign Committee for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, she helped pave the way for the opening of the new hospital building in July 2011. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2003.[29]

On August 17, 2011, Hart was announced as the official spokeswoman for Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Initiative.[30]


  1. 1 2 3 Riggs, Thomas (2002). Contemporary theatre, film, and television. Gale Cengage. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7876-6360-5.
  2. "Entertainment Tonight". CBS. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  3. 1 2 N.E.A. (1984-06-01). "Hart goes from beauty queen to TV screen". Gadsden Times. p. B2.
  4. "The original 'E.T.' has found its way to rating success". The Miami News. 1983-03-11. p. 7A.
  6. 1 2 In the News: Alumna Mary Hart Signs Off From 'Entertainment Tonight' | Augustana College
  7. 1 2 New York Times News Service (2002-07-14). "Famous for watching the famous". Toledo Blade. p. C1–2.
  8. N.E.A. (1984-06-14). "Beauty queen finds success on TV screen". Bowling Green Daily News. p. 5B.
  9. Benson, Jim (2006-10-08). "Mary Hart Re-Ups at ET". Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  10. "Mary Hart to wed producer". Chicago Sun-Times. February 16, 1989.
  11. Brioux, Bill (22 January 2009). Truth and Rumors. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-275-99247-7. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  12. "Silverdome shudders as 93,173 spectators watch Hulk Hogan win". Lakeland Ledger. March 30, 1987. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  13. Associated Press (1988-06-01). "'Entertainment Tonight' hostess becomes showgirl". Kentucky New Era. p. 9B.
  14. "Kill Your Television!". The AFU & Urban Legends Archive. Archived July 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "THE HUGE PAGE OF TINY TOONS/ANIMANIACS FACTS, VERSION 2.0". 1992-06-08. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  16. DiNunno, Gina (2010-08-05). "Mary Hart Exiting Entertainment Tonight". Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  17. "After Hart, a Deluge of Meaner Celebrity TV?". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  18. "Mary Hart Returns to 'Entertainment Tonight' for 35th Anniversary". Variety. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  19. 400 Trousdale Place, Beverly Hills, California 90210 | Los Angeles
  20. Mary Hart, Burt Sugarman buy unit at Ritz-Carlton Residences - Los Angeles Times
  21. AEG Execs, Mary Hart Among 32 Buyers at the Ritz-Carlton - Development Update-o-Rama - Curbed LA
  22. Associated Press (1980-04-12). "Mary Hart weds". Lexington Dispatch. p. 2.
  23. 1 2 Large Yellowstone Club Montana Ranch Goes on the Market for $26.5 Million—WSJ Private Properties -
  24. Photos: Inside Mary Hart's $26.5M Montana ranch |
  25. Blair, Iain (January 3, 2008). "Desert home companions: a wide range of industry pros, from stars to stuntmen, have put down roots in P.S.". Daily Variety: V Plus: Palm Springs International Film Festival. Reed Business Information, Inc. Retrieved January 10, 2013 from HighBeam Research
  26. Biller, Steven; Kleinschmidt, Janice (October 2007). "The Influencers". Palm Springs Life.
  27. "Stars grabbing the attention at playoff games". Yuma Sun. 2009-10-19.
  28. Associated Press (1988-06-01). "Mary Hart adds showgirl to resume". Lakeland Ledger. p. 1C.
  29. "Mary Hart - Children's Hospital Los Angeles". Retrieved 2011-11-18.
  30. South Dakota News - Sanford Unveils New Breast Cancer Initiative
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mary Hart.
Preceded by
Dixie Whatley
Co-host of Entertainment Tonight
Succeeded by
Nancy O'Dell
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