Perky television personality and singer Mary Hart was born in South Dakota, later becoming the state's representative in the Miss America Pageant and finishing a runner-up. After graduating college she became an English teacher, concurrently moonlighting as the host of a local cable program. Upon relocating to Cedar Rapids, IA, Hart began working in television and radio full-time, and in 1976 accepted the position of co-host on the Oklahoma City-based noontime talk show Dannysday, broadcast on the local NBC affiliate. After three years with the series she travelled to California, appearing in a number of commercials before landing the job of co-hosting the syndicated PM Magazine; in 1981, she also joined Regis Philbin on his short-lived NBC daytime chat show.
In 1982 Hart joined the fledgling syndicated showbiz news magazine Entertainment Tonight; originally hired as a field correspondent, within weeks she was promoted to co-host, a position she holds to the present day. The show's popularity elevated Hart to celebrity status in her own right, and in 1989 she issued an exercise video, Shape Up with Mary Hart; a sequel, Mary Hart -- Fit and Firm, followed a year later. In addition to her Entertainment Tonight duties she also hosted the occasional prime-time special and served for a number of years as the host for the annual Tournament of Roses parade. Also a regular performer on the Las Vegas and Atlantic City nightclub circuits, in 1994 Hart issued the album Songs from the Heart, a collection of children's lullabies. ~ Jason Ankeny