One of the early sound era's most attractive young leading ladies, doll-faced Marian Marsh enjoyed a short yet significant film career as the star of several memorable 1930s melodramas opposite some of the cinema's best, most charismatic lead actors. Her youthful, wide-eyed innocence combined with an innate delicacy to make a storybook heroine who was the perfect counterbalance to the licentious characters who often menaced her on film.
Violet Ethelred Krauth was born on October 17, 1913 in Trinidad, West Indies. By the time Violet was ten, the family had relocated to California, and Violet attended school in Los Angeles. In 1928, Violet was approached by silent screen actress Nance O'Neil, who offered her speech and movement lessons. She soon entered the movies and Violet, now known as Marilyn Morgan, secured a contract with Pathé where she was featured in many short subjects under the name Marilyn Morgan. She was seen in a small roles in Howard Hughes' classic Hell's Angels (1930) and Eddie Cantor's lavish Technicolor musical Whoopee! (1930). Not long afterwards, she was signed by Warner Bros. and her name was changed to Marian Marsh.
In 1931, Marsh landed one of her most important roles in Svengali opposite John Barrymore. Marsh was chosen by Barrymore, himself, for the role of "Trilby". Barrymore coached her performance throughout the picture's filming.
Miss Marsh was selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1931. And, with the critical praise and the audience's approval of Svengali, she continued in a string of successful films for Warner Bros. including Five Star Final (1931) with Edward G. Robinson, The Mad Genius (1931) 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 William).
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 Man Who Lived Twice" (1936) with Ralph Bellamy. When her contract expired in 1936, Marsh once again freelanced; appearing steadily in movies for RKO Radio Pictures. In her last screen appearance, Marsh portrayed the daughter in House of Errors (1942) which starred veteran silent film actor, Harry Langdon.
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. She remained in Palm Desert and continued her work in conservation until her death at age 93.
This Tumblr was launched on her birthday, October 17th, in her honor, with love.