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Margia Dean Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 7 April 1922Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameMarguerite Louise Skliris
Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Stunning, dark-haired '40s and '50s leading lady Margia Dean was the daughter of a Greek lawyer. Her parents moved from Athens to the US in 1913, a number of years before her birth on April 7, 1922, in Chicago, Illinois. The youngest of three girls, she was christened Marguerite Louise Skliris. Her family moved to San Francisco when she was 4 years old and by age 7 she was a working actress whose stage credits included Little Eva in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Mytyl in "The Blue Bird" and Becky Thatcher in "Tom Sawyer."

As a juvenile performer she won talent scholarships for both the Reginald Travers Repertory Company and the Henry Duffy Players companies, and at age 15 won a national Shakespearean performance contest. Margia grew up to become a dazzling beauty and began appearing in a number of pageants that would eventually attract the attention of Hollywood. She won the titles of "Miss San Francisco" and "Miss California," which led to a first-prize talent in the "Miss America" contest.

In 1944 the 22-year-old hopeful made her film debut at Republic Pictures but was not signed to a contract. She went on to freelance in other parts for both major (Columbia, MGM, Fox) and minor (Monogram, PRC) studios, where strong focus remained on her shapely figure. She made little impression until winning her first leading role in Shep Comes Home (1948) co-starring Robert Lowery for Screen Guild. Finally earning co-star billing, albeit on a second-string level, she became much more visible in her films, which included Red Desert (1949), The Lonesome Trail (1955), Villa!! (1958) and the cult classics The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), 7 Women from Hell (1961) and (her last) Moro Witch Doctor (1964). At the same time she appeared in myriad TV and theater productions, and engaged in an enviable jet-setting social life with escorts that included Prince Aly Khan.

Frustrations set in, however, as the obviously talented actress found herself almost exclusively bonded in the "B" film ranks where she could still attract audiences as a temptress or villainess. While she occasionally graced an "A" picture--including Living in a Big Way (1947) starring Gene Kelly, Take Care of My Little Girl (1951) with Jeanne Crain and Mitzi Gaynor and The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) starring Jane Russell--her roles were usually smaller in size. Although she admittedly took on a number of roles that were beneath her talent in order to pay the bills, some of her better acting appearances actually came later in her career, notably The Secret of the Purple Reef (1960) with Peter Falk and The Big Show (1961) starring Esther Williams and Cliff Robertson.

In subsequent years Margia expanded her interests to include producing at a time when few women could break into such a male-dominated field. She was the executive producer of the western The Long Rope (1961) starring Hugh Marlowe. She was also associate producer on a couple of minor '60s films made in England and produced a TV pilot. In 1965 she married second husband Felipe Alvarez, an architect by trade, whose own creative outlets included painting, writing, photography, guitar and voice, and eventually left the business.

Margia went on to become the vice-president of a major real estate firm, a Beverly Hills restaurateur and a Brentwood dress shop owner. Happily married to Alvarez for 40+ years, the couple has retired blissfully to the Southern California area. The still-vivacious octogenarian is glimpsed from time to time at film festivals and nostalgia conventions. Had a few more lucky breaks and some better career decisions come her way, there is no telling what kind of "A"-level heights lovely Margia Dean might have attained. Still, she remains a viable and entertaining footnote in Hollywood's past.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Felipe Alvarez (29 August 1965 - present)
Fischer, Hal (October 1939 - 1945) (divorced)

Trivia (11)

After winning "Miss California," Margia was discovered by agents during the "Miss America" competition in which she won first prize in the talent area.
Married author and architect Felipe Alvarez, who was well known for his singing while accompanying himself on classical guitar on Brazilian TV.
Writer-turned-MGM talent agent Frank Orsatti and famed director Gregory La Cava both saw potential in Margia's career but died before either could make good on their efforts.
She wrote the lyrics to two songs that she ended up singing in the film Villa!! (1958). The music for one of them was provided by composer Alfred Newman. She sang in a couple of her other films as well. A nightclub singing tour was once planned for her but never came about due to her film output.
First named is pronounced "Mar-jah".
Miss California 1939
Margia was offered roles on Broadway following the attention she received at the "Miss America Pageant," but instead went back home to finish high school and married her teenage sweetheart, Hal Fischer, in 1939 at age 17. Fischer went on to become a second-string All-American player and well-known basketball coach. The marriage did not last (less than six years) but the two remained friends.
According to her website www.margiadean.com, she worked for major studios such as Columbia, MGM, 20th Century Fox and Paramount and minor ones like United Artists, Republic and Monogram.
Is a vegetarian.
Retired
Owner of Margo Productions, a film production company.

Personal Quotes (4)

I starred and co-starred in approximately 30 motion pictures, mostly low-budget films, where you usually did everything in one take. I often wonder if some of the superstars of today could do that and even be adequate.
[on Scott Brady, with whom she worked on Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958)] I didn't like Scott Brady. We clashed and had a feud! He was very cocky and rude. He would tell smutty jokes on purpose, trying to shock you. I did know him socially, but he was not my cup of tea. He's pretty lousy. There was a scene in the film where he's carrying me off, all the while saying vile things to me as the camera rolled! I knew his brother, Lawrence Tierney, who was a very nice guy. It's sad how he became a drunk and even a derelict for awhile. On a positive note, Scott did help him financially--he did things for Lawrence.
[on Jock Mahoney, with whom she worked in Moro Witch Doctor (1964)] Jock Mahoney was not very pleasant to work with. He wasn't gracious or warm or anything. He didn't do anything wrong, he was tall and nice looking with sex appeal for some people. But he was a pompous ass, and pardon me for saying that, but he just wasn't friendly or pleasant.
[on Cesar Romero, with whom she worked in Villa!! (1958)] Cesar Romero was terrific, charming, so witty, so humorous and down-to-earth. He was the only one good in the picture--I didn't like myself or Brian Keith, but of course we had the terrible direction [James B. Clark]. Cesar was so handsome, what a waste that he was a homosexual. He was so masculine, until he drank--then it showed--the campy way they are. He wasn't a big drinker, but when he did take a drink, he gave it away.

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