Her friend, actress Anne Jeffreys, told the L.A. Times that Rutherford died Monday at her Beverly Hills home and was suffering from heart issues.
In addition to playing Scarlett O’Hara’s good natured sister in the 1939 epic “Gone With the Wind,” Rutherford starred alongside Mickey Rooney in 12 Andy Hardy films in the late 1930s and early 40s.
After making TV appearances on shows like “Perry Mason” and “The Bob Newhart Show,” the actress retired from acting in 1976. She was approached to play Rose in 1997’s “Titanic,” but decided against it.
Rutherford talked about her decision to turn down the role, which eventually went to Gloria Stuart, to film buff Patrick Picking in 1998 (via Alt Film Guide.) “Honey, I retired over twenty five years ago! They wanted me to read for the part, and I just don’t do that anymore” Rutherford said. “And me, playing someone who’s 101 years old? I’m not there yet!”
She continued, “I retired over twenty five years ago, and I’m happily enjoying my retirement.”