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Marc McDermott Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 24 July 1881Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia
Date of Death 5 January 1929Glendale, California, USA  (cirrhosis of the liver)
Birth NameMarcus McDermott
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Marc McDermott was born Marcus McDermott in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia, on July 24, 1881. His father Patrick McDermott and mother Annie Massey McDermott were born in Ireland, and Marc later became an English citizen when he moved to London. His older brother Patrick was born in Ireland, and his younger sister May, was born in Australia. He received his early education at a Jesuit school in Sydney. When Marc was 15, his father died suddenly. His older brother was living in Ireland, so to support his mother and little sister, Marc joined a small local theater company. A year later, he was discovered by the famous Shakespearean actor George Rignold and made his first appearance on the stage in Sydney. He stayed with the company for several years, learning his craft. When Rignold's company departed for London, Marc quickly caught the eye of Charles Frohman, a New York agent and producer, whose clients included Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the first lady of the London stage. Tall with thick auburn hair and dark brown eyes, Marc cut an impressive figure. Mrs. Pat, as she was called, chose the 20-year-old to be her leading man. The company sailed to the US and landed in New York, where he played opposite her as Sir George Orreyed in "The Second Mrs. Tanqeray." The company returned to London, where he was hired by Frohman to play "Sherlock Holmes" in London for two years. For the next several years, Marc became a celebrated West End actor. In 1906, he accepted Frohman's offer to sail to New York and join the company of the great classical actor Richard Mansfield. He toured the US for several years, and in 1909 was approached by Charles Brabin, a fellow stage actor (and soon to be director) who was working at Thomas Edison's film studio in the Bronx. Marc was quickly hired to appear as a featured player, replacing Maurice Costello, who had moved to Vitagraph. His first film was Les Misérables (1909), followed by Lochinvar (1909) (Lochinvar was released first but he filmed "Les Miserables" prior to it). From 1909 through the summer of 1916, he starred in over 140 films for Edison, appearing frequently in popular early film magazines like Photoplay, Motion Picture, and Moving Picture World, voted as one of the most popular leading men during these years. In 1911, Marc costarred with Mary Fuller in Edison's first popular series "What Ever Happened to Mary?" Another favorite leading lady of Marc's was Miriam Nesbitt, who was eight years his senior. Their on-screen romance soon grew into a real-life love affair. On April 7, 1914, Marc made film history when he appeared in the first-ever "chapter" series; each chapter was a complete story in and of itself. The 10-chapter series was titled The Man Who Disappeared (1914), and was filmed on location in New York and New Jersey. Each printed chapter story was featured in "Popular Magazine" as each filmed chapter simultaneously appeared on the screen. As Marc told "Motion Picture" writer Gladys Roosevelt, he did all his own stunts, including driving an automobile into the icy East River, fighting a villain on top of a NYC skyscraper that was actually being built at the time, and being handcuffed to the railroad tracks. On April 20, 1916, Marc and Miriam married in Leonia, New Jersey. By this time, he had made more than 140 films. Later that year, Marc left the Edison Studio to join his best friends Charles Brabin and Ashley Miller at the Vitagraph Studio, where he starred in a number of films. In 1918, Marc moved to Fox Films in New York to star with Theda Bara in "Kathleen Mavourneen," directed by Charles Brabin, who would soon marry his star. Marc left Fox in 1920 to freelance, appearing with Norma Talmadge in "The New Moon." He then costarred with Estelle Taylor in "While New York Sleeps," with Brabin working as both writer and director. Another director friend from his Vitagraph days, John Robertson, directed him in "Footlights" (1921) with Elsie Ferguson. In 1922, his marriage began to unravel when Miriam discovered some love letters to actress Helen Gilmore and filed for a separation. The New York Times reported that he was arrested on August 11 and held in Ludlow Street Jail until he was released after paying $5,000 in bail. Marc left to visit his older brother's family, who had settled in Lowell, Massachusetts. After appearing in a vaudeville skit, he boarded a train in Boston and headed to Hollywood. Marc immediately went to work for Fox Films in "Hoodman Blind" directed by John Ford. At Warner Bros., he appeared in "Lucretia Lombard" with Irene Rich, Monte Blue, and Norma Shearer, which was produced by Harry Rapf. Marc next appeared with Florence Lawrence, the Biograph Girl, in "The Satin Girl." When M-G-M was formed in 1924, Marc was contracted to appear in their very first film, "He Who Gets Slapped." The cast included Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, and John Gilbert. Mary Pickford, an old friend from his New York days, cast him in "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall" as Sir Malcolm Vernon. Another director friend, Marshall "Micky" Neilan, directed. Marc was in high demand at different studios for the next two years: "In Every Woman's Life" and "Siege" both with Virginia Valli; "This Woman" with Irene Rich, Ricardo Cortez, and Clara Bow in a minor role; and "The Sea Hawk" with Milton Sills, Enid Bennett, and Wallace Beery. At Universal Pictures in 1925, he appeared in "The Goose Woman" with Louise Dresser, Jack Pickford, and Constance Bennett. The film was directed by his friend Clarence Brown. Once again, Norma Talmadge cast him as the villain in "Graustark." In 1926, Marc was busy at M-G-M playing in both "The Temptress" with Greta Garbo and Antonio Moreno and "Flesh and the Devil" with Garbo and John Gilbert. One of his favorite costars was Greta Nissen, with whom he appeared in "The Love Thief" for Universal and "Lucky Lady" for Paramount. Norma Talmadge tapped his talent once again for "Kiki," a saucy little comedy with Ronald Coleman. During 1927, Marc starred in several M-G-M films, including "California" with Tim McCoy and Dorothy Sebastian, directed by W.S. "Woody" Van Dyke; and "Man, Woman and Sin" with Jeanne Eagels and John Gilbert, directed by Monta Bell. When the newly formed Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences held their first meeting at the Biltmore Hotel's Crystal Ballroom on May 11, 1927, Marc was among the 230 pioneer members in attendance. His name appears in the program listing of 102 actors. Later that year, his old friend John Robertson recruited him for "The Road to Romance" with Ramon Navarro and Marceline Day, and he also appeared in "Taxi Dancer" with Joan Crawford, as well as "Resurrection" with Rod La Rocque and Dolores Del Rio at United Artists. In 1928, during a vaudeville tour to Chicago, Marc became ill and returned to Hollywood to recuperate. His next film for M-G-M was "Under the Black Eagle" directed by Woody Van Dyke. For "Glorious Betsy" at Warner Bros., some Vitaphone talking sequences were included. The film starred Dolores Costello, the beautiful wife of John Barrymore and daughter of Maurice Costello, whom Marc had replaced at Vitagraph back in 1916. First National cast Marc in "The Yellow Lily" starring the lovely Bessie Dove. His last two films were "The Mysterious Island" shot in Technicolor with black and white sequences. Vitaphone sound sequences, a musical score, and sound effects were later added. Marc's old friend Charles Brabin directed him in his last film, "The Whip," which starred Dorothy Mackaill, Ralph Forbes, and Anna Q. Nilsson. During filming, Variety reported that Marc became very ill from ptomaine poisoning, lapsed into a three-month coma, and died from a gallbladder operation. However, Dr. E.F. Miller wrote on the death certificate that he had attended to Marc at home for eight months and then in the hospital from December 5, 1928 until his death at 5:20 a.m. on January 5, 1929. Further, he stated that no operation had preceded his death. The diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver was confirmed by clinical and laboratory tests performed on January 6. His body was cremated at the Hollywood Crematory, and his ashes were placed in a crypt in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, where the brass plaque reads: Marcus McDermott, 1881-1929. His untimely death coincided with the death of silent films.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Linda McDermott Walsh

Spouse (1)

Miriam Nesbitt (20 April 1916 - ?)

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