Mary’s extraordinary and unprecedented run as co-host of Entertainment Tonight for thirty years made her as recognizable as many of the big stars she has interviewed. The program began in 1981 as a fledgling experiment made possible only by the advent of satellite broadcast technology. Today, media historians give credit to Mary for her role not only in building the show into a powerhouse, but for also helping to pioneer the genre as a whole. The best reviews came from viewers who would often stop her to say, “We have dinner with you every night.”
Mary earned the trust not only of the audience at home but the celebrities she interviewed as well. Personalities would often tell her, “Now, I have arrived because Mary Hart has interviewed me.” Her list of subjects include nearly every major film, television and music star. They include celebrities and political figures such as George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, the surviving Beatle members, Michael Jackson, Lady Diana and two Presidents named Bush and Obama.
Mary was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 1999 and has been honored by numerous organizations including the American Women in Radio and Television and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation. She is listed in the Guinness World Record as the longest serving entertainment news host. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and is an ambassador for Childhelp USA, an organization that combats child abuse across America. She is also on the Board of Trustees for Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center as well as The Israel Project based in Washington, D. C.
A native of South Dakota, Mary spent part of her childhood in Denmark, and speaks Danish and Swedish. Her broadcast career began in South Dakota in the 1970s. She moved to Los Angeles in 1979 and found work quickly on soap operas and commercials before landing the job as co-host of PM Magazine. That led to co-hosting Regis Philbin’s NBC talk show in 1981 that was cancelled after four months. Her next job was to report on show business news and that would make her fixture to stay in, American media.
Mary and her husband, businessman Burt Sugarman live in Los Angeles and have a son AJ.