Joan Marsh

Active - 1919 - 1980  |   Born - Jul 10, 1913 in Portersville, CA  |   Died - Aug 10, 2000 in Ojai, CA  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Crime, Romance

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The daughter of Mary Pickford's favorite cinematographer, Charles Rosher, little Nancy Ann used the moniker Dorothy Rosher when appearing as Gene Gauntier's baby in Hearts Aflame (1914) and in such Pickford vehicles as The Little Princess (1917), Daddy Long Legs (1919), and Tess of the Storm Country (1922). After achieving an education, Dorothy was rediscovered by director Frank Borzage who renamed her Joan Marsh and tested her for a role in Lucky Star (1929). She always maintained that the picture was indeed her "lucky star" because "Although I didn't get the part, other and better roles did materialize from the test." "Better roles" didn't come right away, however, and she merely "played" a girl on a poster in Universal's award-winning All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). But the Hollywood publicists did notice her platinum blonde allure and Marsh became one of the 13 lucky WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1931, an honor she shared with Joan Blondell and Marian Marsh (no relation). Always on the verge of bigger and better things, Joan Marsh spent the 1930s supporting such stars as: Greta Garbo (she was one of the bohemians in Inspiration [1930]); Joan Crawford (a brief appearance in Anna Karenina [1935]); and Loretta Young. Several critics thought she stole Three Girls Lost (1931) from the latter, but she remained mired in supporting roles in A-films and leads in such Grade-Z movies as High Gear (1933) with fallen star James Murray and Brilliant Marriage (1936) from poverty row company Invincible. After playing the ingenue in Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937) she married the film's writer, Charles Belden, a union that lasted until 1943. By then Marsh's screen career was all but over and she later ran a stationery shop in Hollywood.

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