While less showy than the most popular actresses of her day, Nebraska native Dorothy McGuire deserved the same degree of reverence. Lovely in an accessible, girl-next-door way, McGuire first earned notice on Broadway, where she found fame in the title role of "Claudia" (1941-43). When that story of a child bride and her life lessons was adapted for the silver screen in 1943, McGuire reprised her part and was simultaneously launched as the town's latest leading lady. She subsequently graced such notable productions as "The Enchanted Cottage" (1945), "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1945), "The Spiral Staircase" (1946), and the groundbreaking look at anti-Semitism, "Gentlemen's Agreement" (1947), for which she received an Academy Award nomination. McGuire specialized in playing women who were nice, grounded and dependable - qualities the actress also possessed off the screen. As she approached middle age, McGuire found her niche by embodying loving mothers, most famously in the classic Walt Disney tearjerker "Old Yeller" (1957), and even managed to effectively portray the Virgin Mary in "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965) at an age when some ladies had become grandmothers. Although her films were a fairly lackluster lot from the 1960s onward, predictable scripts and flat direction did little to diminish McGuire's contributions. A warm and appealing leading lady who became a fine character actress, McGuire provided the sort of consistently solid work that allowed her to find acting opportunities well into her golden years.