It took some time before this unusually long and unusually sympathetic article appeared on Entertainment Weekly's website, but here is the entirely fascinating story of Dolores Hart, the "Nun Who Kissed Elvis," aka Mother Dolores Hart of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut. Mother Dolores had quite a career back in the day and well, I'll let EW tell it...
Dolores Hart appeared in 10 movies in the late 1950s and early '60s, starring opposite some of the biggest stars of the era: Anthony Quinn, Myrna Loy, and Montgomery Clift. She was one of Elvis Presley's first onscreen kisses. At age 20, she earned a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in The Pleasure of His Company. She was an above-the-title star of 1960's spring-break romp Where the Boys Are, which led to an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
And then in June of 1963, the striking starlet with the dark blond hair and piercing blue eyes left it all behind. She packed a single suitcase and attended one last autograph-signing session in New York City for Come Fly With Me, an MGM comedy about three husband-hunting air hostesses. 'I remember I had makeup on from some photography that they were doing,' she recalls. Then a man working for the studio approached her. 'He wanted to know if he could take me somewhere when it was over, so I said, 'It's a long way. You could just take me to the bus.'' But he insisted, and so he drove her just over two hours north of the city and deposited her at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., where she has lived the quiet life of a cloistered Benedictine nun ever since.
It's not every nun who enters the convent in the back of a chauffeured limo, admits Mother Dolores Hart, now 72. 'Well, if that's in the script, then why not?'
There are 40 nuns at the abbey now, ranging in age from 29 to 90, but none has garnered as much notoriety or curiosity as the woman who gave up a lucrative and promising Hollywood career for God. On a recent snowy day in Connecticut, Mother Dolores gripped a visitor's hands with a strength somewhat surprising for a woman afflicted with peripheral neuropathy, a nerve disorder she's had since 1997. She's a slight woman, dressed in a black habit that drapes to her feet, with a black knit cardigan wrapped over it and an oversize beret perched rakishly atop the veil that frames her face.