After training as a singer by her mother, who was soprano, made her debut Sothern after some time at the theater in New York in the film towards the end of the silent era. They played quite a few extras and bit parts, but was unhappy with her career and returned to Broadway, where she had some success. She returned in 1933 to Hollywood and became at RKO and Columbia Pictures to the popular starlet in numerous B- movies.
Her breakthrough came with the move to MGM, where she became very popular as a bit naive, but warm blonde in Maisie series, which included a total of 10 films. Occasionally you gave the studio also substantial roles in the musicals as Lady Be Good and Panama Hattie. Your best presentation they offered in the strip Cry Havoc, who described the dramatic suffering of Red Cross nurses in the Pacific. The highlight of her career she had with A Letter to Three Wives. Shortly after, she went to the television, where they celebrated great success with Private Secretary and The Ann Sothern Show.
Beginning of 1960, has become somewhat rounded, she returned for several supporting roles back to the canvas. She received her only Oscar nomination in 1987 for the concert in The Whales of August, she presented alongside Lillian Gish, Vincent Price and Bette Davis. Her daughter Tisha Sterling from her marriage to Robert Sterling was also an actress.
On the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it is represented with two stars.