Marguerite Churchill – Wikipedia

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American actress

Marguerite Churchill (December 26, 1910[2][3] – January 9, 2000) was an American stage and film actress whose career lasted 30 years, from 1922 to 1952. She was John Wayne’s first leading lady, in The Big Trail (1930).

Early years[edit]

She was the daughter of Edward Paycen Churchill, a producer who owned a chain of theaters, and Marguerite N. Graham. Her father died when she was ten years old. She was educated in New York City at the Professional Children’s School and the Theatre Guild Dramatic School.

Churchill made her first appearance on Broadway on Christmas Day 1922 and was applauded on Broadway as a leading lady when just sixteen years old. An official of Fox Film saw her acting and gave her a contract which shortly afterwards led her to debut on screen in The Diplomats.

Churchill appeared in more than 25 films. She played leading lady to John Wayne in Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail (1930),[4] an early widescreen epic and Wayne’s first leading role. She appeared with Wayne the following year in Girls Demand Excitement (1931), with Spencer Tracy and George Raft in Quick Millions (1931), with Will Rogers in Ambassador Bill (1931), with Warner Oland in Charlie Chan Carries On (1931), with George O’Brien in Riders of the Purple Sage (1931), with Charles Farrell in Girl Without a Room (1933), with Ralph Bellamy in The Final Hour (1936), with Boris Karloff in The Walking Dead (1936), and with Edward Van Sloan in Dracula’s Daughter (1936).

On Broadway, Churchill performed in And Now Good-bye (1937), Dinner at Eight (1932), The Inside Story (1932), Skidding (1928), The Wild Man of Borneo (1927), House of Shadows (1927), and Why Not? (1922).[5]

Churchill was married for 15 years to her one-time costar George O’Brien from July 15, 1933, until their divorce in 1948. They had three children, one of whom was novelist Darcy O’Brien, whom she outlived by two years. Her daughter Orin has played double bass for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra since 1966. A third child, Brian, died in infancy in 1934.[citation needed]

After her divorce from O’Brien, she appeared in one movie and a few television plays. In 1954, she announced her engagement to Peter Ganine, a sculptor. In the “California Marriage Index, 1949–1959”, there is a record of marriage and file date of June 5, 1954, for Peter Ganine and Marguerite Churchill.[6][7]

Later years[edit]

In 1960, she moved to Rome and, in 1970, to Lisbon, Portugal. She came back to the United States in the 1990s to live near her son, Darcy, whom she outlived by two years.[citation needed]

She died on January 9, 2000, aged 89, from natural causes in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Profile, Accessed August 2, 2022.
  2. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2020-05-19. Retrieved 2020-10-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ “Ancestry Library Edition”. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  4. ^ “Marguerite Churchill, 90, Movie Actress”. The New York Times. Associated Press. January 15, 2000. p. B 7. ProQuest 91762086. Retrieved October 28, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ “Marguerite Churchill”. Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  6. ^ California Marriage Index, 1949–1959
  7. ^ Hopper, Hedda (June 5, 1954). “Marguerite Churchill to Be Wed – Former film star Marguerite Churchill will marry Peter Ganine at the Russian Orthodox Church here”. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. p. A1.

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