All right, no jokes about “who” she’ll be wearing on the red carpet.
But the beautiful blonde ’60s starlet whom baby boomers knew as Dolores Hart will be attending this year’s Academy Awards – in her longtime real-life role, as a Benedictine Nun named Mother Dolores.
Currently the subject of an Oscar-nominated HBO documentary, God Is the Bigger Elvis, Mother Dolores, who in her Hollywood days made Loving You and King Creole with Presley (and 11 movies in all), will be at the Kodak Theatre on Feb. 26 right along with nominees Meryl Streep, George Clooney and Brad Pitt, and presumably on stage should the film about her win the gold, her rep confirms to PEOPLE. And she’ll be wearing her habit.
“In a contemplative life,” Mother Dolores, now 73 and still a voting member of the Academy, told PEOPLE in 1998, “I’ve stayed more in touch with what is going on in the heart of our profession than I did when I was reading Variety only to find my own name.”
Born in Chicago, Hart moved to Hollywood at age 3, when her handsome father Bert Hicks was signed to play B-roles at 20th Century-Fox. Though her parents were non-religious, Dolores converted to Catholicism at age 9 and won a scholarship to Marymount College, where she studied acting.
At 18, she landed a movie role in Loving You, starring The King. “I really didn’t know anything about Elvis Presley,” Hart later told PEOPLE. “But when I went back to college and told the girls, they nearly died.”
Hart vehemently disavowed an old rumor that she bore Elvis’s baby, and she and Presley were never romantically involved. “There’s no truth to it, and let me tell you, I’m in a heck of a business to live a lie,” she said on a TV interview in 1998.
“I adored Hollywood. I didn’t leave because it was a place of sin,” she recently 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?”
She was 23 when she gave up Hollywood for the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn. “Here I learned to love and to live in relationship, and therefore to possess love inclusively,” she told PEOPLE. “And if you learn to do that, then you know the spirit of God.”
The 84th annual Academy Awards will air live on ABC Sunday, Feb. 26, starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.