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Marian Marsh
Born Violet Ethelred Krauth
October 17, 1913(1913-10-17)
Trinidad, British West Indies
Died November 9, 2006 (aged 93)
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
Other name(s) Marilyn Morgan
Marian Henderson
Occupation Actress
Years active 1929–1958
Spouse(s) Albert P. Scott (1938–?)
Clifford Henderson (1960–1984)

Marian Marsh (17 October, 1913 – 9 November, 2006) was an American film actress, and later, environmentalist.


Life and career


Early life

Violet Ethelred Krauth was born on 17 October, 1913 in Trinidad, British West Indies (now Trinidad and Tobago), the youngest of four children of a German chocolate manufacturer and his French/English wife.

With World War I, Violet's father moved the family to Boston, Massachusetts. By the time Violet was ten, the family had relocated to California where Violet's older sister, an actress who went by the name of Jean Fenwick, eventually landed a job as a contract player with FBO Studios.

Violet attended La Conte Junior High School and Hollywood High School. One day in 1928, Violet was approached by silent screen actress, Nance O'Neil, who offered Violet speech and movement lessons. With sister Jean's help, Violet soon entered the movies. Violet, now known as Marilyn Morgan, secured a contract with Pathé where she was featured in many short subjects under the name Marilyn Morgan. Soon she was seen in a small role in Howard Hughes' classic "Hell's Angels", as well as a role in Eddie Cantor's lavish, Technicolor musical "Whoopee". Not long after, she was signed by Warner Bros. and her name was changed to Marian Marsh.

Hollywood success

In early 1931, at age 17, she landed one of her most important roles in Svengali opposite John Barrymore. Marsh was chosen by Barrymore, himself, for the leading lady role of "Trilby". He coached Marsh's performance throughout the pictures' filming. "Svengali" was based on the 1894 gothic horror novel "Trilby" written by George du Maurier. A popular play, likewise entitled "Trilby", followed one year later in 1895. In the film version of the story, which Warner Bros. had renamed "Svengali" (apparently because of Barrymore's star billing), Marsh plays the artists' model, "Trilby", who is transformed into a great opera star by the sinister hypnotist, Svengali. (The word "Svengali'" has entered the English language, defining a person who, with sometimes evil intent, tries to persuade another to do what he desires.)

She was selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1931. With the critical praise and the audiences' approval of Svengali, Marsh starred in a string of successful films at Warner Bros. including Five Star Final (1931) with Edward G. Robinson, The Mad Genius (1931), again with Barrymore, The Road to Singapore (1931) with William Powell, the charming Beauty and the Boss (1932) with Warren William, and "Under 18" (again with Warren William).

In 1932, in the midst of a gruelling work schedule, Marsh left Warner Bros. and took several film offers in Europe which lasted until 1934. She enjoyed working in England and Germany, as well as vacationing several times in Paris. Back in the United States, she appeared as the heroine in a popular adaptation of the perennial favorite "A Girl of the Limberlost" (1934) which also starred Louise Dresser. Marsh had fondly admitted that this was her favorite film role. In 1935, Marsh signed a two-year pact with Columbia Pictures. During this time, she starred in such films as Josef von Sternberg's classic Crime and Punishment (1935) with Peter Lorre, The Black Room (1935) regarded as one of Boris Karloff's best horror films of the decade, and the drama Counterfeit with Chester Morris (1936). When her contract expired in 1936, Marsh once again freelanced for several years, appearing steadily in B-movies for the likes of RKO Radio Pictures and Paramount studios. Her last film was House of Errors (1942) in which she appeared with veteran silent film comedian, Harry Langdon.

In the late 1950s, she appeared in a television pilot with John Forsythe and an episode of Schlitz Playhouse of Stars before retiring in 1959.

Personal life

On 29 March 1938, Marsh married a stock broker named Albert Scott and had two children with him. After Scott's death, Marsh married Cliff Henderson, an aviation pioneer and entrepreneur and moved to Palm Desert, California, a town Henderson founded in the 1940s.

In the 1960s Marian founded Desert Beautiful, a non-profit, all volunteer conservation organization to promote environmental and beautification programs. Cliff Henderson died in 1984 and Marian Henderson remained in Palm Desert until her death, aged 93.

External links


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