Dolores Hart has gone from Hollywood to God and back, her story inspiring others along the way. The once-successful actress, who is the ex co-star of Elvis Presley, is returning to the red carpet after a half century hiatus in which she chose God over fame.
Her decision became so inspiring to one filmmaker, Rebecca Cammisa, that she decided to make a documentary about the star. That documentary is now up for a Grammy Award, which has drawn Hart back to the red carpet.
Dolores Hart was once billed to be "the next Grace Kelley." Young, beautiful, and equipped with talent she was thought to have it all and some. Hart even gave Elvis Presley his first on-screen kiss. For someone who was living in the limelight and enjoying a successful career, no one might have anticipated Hart's next move.
In 1963, at the age of 24, Hart was on break from one of her most recent movie promotions. She took a limo to visit friends in the country and then, to the surprise of many, she never returned.
Hart, now a cloistered Benedictine nun, is just barely turning that car around and coming back to Hollywood.
"I could never have imagined this," Rev. Mother Hart told the Daily News of receiving the nod nearly 50 years after leaving the business. "It would never have come to my mind that this would happen."
The documentary, titled "God Is the Bigger Elvis," will air April 5 on HBO. The project has been ongoing since last July, where filming began at the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut, where Hart has lived since 1963.
Hart hesitated about returning to the red carpet.
"No I couldn't do that," Hart thought at first. "But the mother abbess [of Regina Laudis] considered it and said she thought I should because of the continuity of the mission [to portray what contemplative life is like]," she continued. "So I will go."
Hart was once engaged to Don Robinson, a fixture of society at the time who was an estate agent. Although Hart chose the path to God over a marriage to Robinson, the agent never forgot her.
"He never married and they never stopped loving one another, meeting up at the abbey every Easter and every Christmas thereafter until his death last December," the Vancouver Sun reported.
"Five or six times a day, for the next seven years, Mother Dolores had doubts, she admitted. Even now, she says, in 'God is the Bigger Elvis,' she looks back and thinks about what could have been," read The Sun.
However, despite choosing a path that has lead her to a powerful relationship with God, Hart remarked that she would never truly let Hollywood go.
"Once you have decided to become a public figure you have made an agreement with your audience and it's a lifetime agreement," she once said. "So even if you pull away, there is a part of you that you can't just say you no longer belong. You do."