Mae Marsh Poster


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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 9 November 1894Madrid, New Mexico Territory, USA
Date of Death 13 February 1968Hermosa Beach, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameMary Wayne Marsh
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Mae Marsh's father was an auditor for the railroad who died when she was four. Her family moved to San Francisco, where her stepfather was killed in the 1906 earthquake. Her great-aunt then took Mae and her sister to Los Angeles. With her show business background, Mae's aunt took them to the various movie studios for work as extras. Mae was a little freckle-faced girl, who came to work one day as an extra at Biograph to substitute for her sick sister. She had blue eyes and her hair color was indeterminate, but she had definite screen presence. She began her film career working for Mack Sennett and D.W. Griffith. Her first leading role was as the bare-legged prehistoric girl in Man's Genesis (1912). By 1913 Mae was being groomed as the successor to Mary Pickford. Most of her film roles were dramatic or tragic, or a combination of both. She appeared in Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916). After that film, Samuel Goldwyn signed her to a contract at $2500 per week - far exceeding the $35 per week she got in 1915. Goldwyn was at his best when it came to publicity. It was he who gave Mae the title "The Whim Girl". Other than the publicity, her film career with Goldwyn was a disappointment and she retired on the eve of her marriage in 1918. During the 1920s Mae did a few movies in Hollywood and England, but stayed retired for the most part. It was not until the Wall Street "crash" in 1929 that began the Great Depression that she returned full-time to the screen, as she, like many others, was wiped out financially. After her financial situation improved, she returned to films sporadically, usually out of boredom. She worked in a dozen movies during the 1930s and took a number of roles in the 1940s and 1950s. She was a favorite of director John Ford and appeared in many of his films, such as The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), My Darling Clementine (1946) and The Quiet Man (1952), and she had a role in A Star Is Born (1954).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Like much of early Hollywood history, much of Mae Marsh's biography is shrouded in mystery and the creation of studio publicity people. The story of the Marsh children being taken to Hollywood by their aunt is often told, but according to the 1910 U.S. Census, the Marsh children were all living with their parents in Los Angeles, near downtown. Registered on the census form is mother May and a step-father named William Hall. Oliver T. was 17, Mae (registered as May) was 15, Francis was 12 and Mildred was 11. All of the children are listed as "step-children." Her older sister Marguerite (registered as Margaret) was 20, and was sharing the apartment with the family along with her husband Donald Loveridge and their daughter, 2 year-old Leslie. The children - all of whom would end up in the movies somehow - were not shopped around the studios by an aunt, but by their mother and step-father.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: E.J. Fleming

Spouse (1)

Louis Lee Arms (1918 - 1968) (her death) (3 children)

Trivia (6)

Sister of editor Frances Marsh, actresses Marguerite Marsh, Mildred Marsh, and cinematographer Oliver T. Marsh.
Silent film actress.
In the Spring of 1918, the 18-year-old Ernest Hemingway claimed in letters to friends and family that he was engaged to Marsh. Hemingway was in New York at the time, preparing to go to Italy as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross, and he said he met Marsh at a party. Hemingway soon said that Marsh had broken the engagement. When asked about this incident 48 years later, in 1966, Marsh said she'd wished she'd known Hemingway (see letter and footnote in "Ernest Hemingway--Selected Letters," page 8).
Although Marsh's birth date is usually given as 1895, U.S. Census records from 1900 clearly indicate her birth date as 9 November 1894. Furthermore, the same census records indicate that her father, S.C. Marsh, did not die when she was four, as most stories have it, nor was he a railroad auditor. Rather, he was a bartender and was alive as late as June, 1900.
Upon her death, her remains were interred in Pacific Crest Cemetery, Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County, California, USA. Her location plot is Grave 10, Lot 838, Section 5.
Mae Marsh appeared in well over 200 films.

Salary (5)

Man's Genesis (1912) $5 /day
The Birth of a Nation (1915) $35 /week
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916) $85 /week
Polly of the Circus (1917) $2,500 /week
The Cinderella Man (1917) $2,500 /week

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