Madge Bellamy

Active - 1920 - 2014  |   Born - Jun 30, 1899   |   Died - Jan 24, 1990   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Crime, Comedy, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The daughter of the dean of literature at the University of Texas, Margaret Philpott began her showbiz career in a Denver stock company. Margaret was elevated to Broadway by impresario Charles K. Frohmann, who gave her the stage name of Madge Bellamy. After a few seasons as a chorus girl, Madge made her Broadway acting debut in 1918, replacing Helen Hayes in Dear Brutus. A moderately popular film actress in the 1920s, Madge starred in such prestigious Fox Studios productions as Lorna Doone (1922) and The Iron Horse (1924), as well as Fox's first feature with recorded dialogue, 1928's Mother Knows Best. When she turned down the leading role in The Trial of Mary Dugan, a stage play which Fox had purchased with her in mind, Madge was dropped by the studio and blackballed from the industry. She made a tentative comeback in the early 1930s, but outside of the 1932 horror classic White Zombie, most of her talkie appearances were unremarkable. She was thrust into the public arena once more in 1943, when she shot her millionaire lover A. Stanford Murphy. Murphy lived; Madge spent five days in jail, then was placed on probation. Living in and out of poverty in her later years, she at one time managed a large junkyard in Ontario, California. Madge Bellamy died in 1990, one month before the publication of her memoirs, Darling of the 20s.

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