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Documentary about actress turned nun nominated for Oscar
Mother Dolores Hart
Mother Dolores Hart
By Kevin J. Jones

.- Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., a former actress turned cloistered nun, will attend her first Academy Awards show since 1959 to show support for “God is the Bigger Elvis,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about her and her abbey.

Mother Dolores, 73, was an award-winning actress who performed in two Elvis Presley movies. In 1963, she was about to sign a seven-figure contract and was engaged to a Los Angeles businessman when she decided to join the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn, where she is now prioress.

The 37-minute documentary talks about Mother Dolores’ story and about life at the abbey. It is an Oscar nominee for best documentary short category and will premiere April 5 on HBO.

“I adored Hollywood. I didn't leave because it was a place of sin,” she told USA Today.

"I left Hollywood at the urging of a mysterious thing called vocation. It's a call that comes from another place that we call God because we don't have any other way to say it. It's a call of love. Why do you climb a mountain?"

The nun said she allowed cameras to access the abbey to help those who are soul-searching.

“We wanted to invite the world into another order of life that might give some hope,” she said.

The documentary interviews Mother Dolores and other nuns like Sister John Mary, 44, a former Oxford-educated advertising executive who came to the abbey after a period of addiction.

It also covers the last meeting of Mother Dolores and her ex-fiancé Don Robinson, who never married. He continued to visit and help the abbey until his death in December 2011.

The documentary’s director Rebecca Cammisa said she made the film to explore what makes someone with Mother Dolores’ level of success choose the religious life. Cammisa was previously nominated for the Oscar for the feature documentary “Which Way Home,” about Mexican migrant children.

Mother Dolores was a presenter at the 1959 Academy Awards. She remains a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In January, she made a rare speaking appearance at the Central California Marian Eucharistic Conference.

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