Mae Marsh

Born Nov. 9, 1895, Madrid, NM. Marsh's father died in 1899, and her family lost everything in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, so the family (mother, five daughters and one son) moved to Hollywood. Marsh's older sister, Marguerite, worked for Biograph first and introduced her to D.W. Griffith in 1912. Griffith didn't immediately recognized her acting talents, and she began as an extra in some Mack Sennett-directed comedies. Her first leading roles for Griffith were in "Man's Genesis" (1912) and "Sands O' Dee" (1912). Marsh's talent could not be denied after her performances as the Little Sister in "The Birth of a Nation" (1915) and as Robert Harron's newlywed wife in "Intolerance." Marsh made six more films for Triangle, none directed by Griffith. The most popular as probably "Hoodoo Ann" (1916) which cast her as a poor orphan a la Mary Pickford. At the end of 1916, she was signed by Goldwyn at $3,000 a week where she made 13 features over the next three years. When her contract with Goldwyn ended in 1920, she freelanced for three years making only five films. She once again acted for Griffith in his 1923 feature "The White Rose." Marsh only made a few more films during the next couple of years. Her last appearance on screen was in the 1925 "The Rat" which was made in England. She retired from the screen to be with her husband and three children. Unfortunately, the stock market crash of 1929 was devastating for Marsh and her family, and she returned to acting in small roles during the 1930's. In 1939, she and her husband filed for bankruptcy, but she continued to work, most notably in several John Ford films such as "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1939), "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940), "Sergeant Rutledge" (1960) and "Donovan's Reef" (1963). She was a much-sought after character actress during the 1940's and 1950's, but finally had to retire in the early 1960's due to a heart ailment. Marsh lived comfortably and happily until her death Feb. 13, 1968.

Selected films of this star available for viewing:

Judith of Bethulia (1914)

The Avenging Conscience (1914)

The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Hoodoo Ann (1916)

Intolerance (1916)

The Mother and the Law (1919)

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