Herbert Marshall

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For other people of the same name, see Herbert Marshall (disambiguation).
Herbert Marshall
Herbert Marshall in The Letter trailer.jpg
in the trailer for
The Letter (1940)
Born Herbert Brough Falcon Marshall
(1890-05-23)23 May 1890
London, England, United Kingdom
Died 22 January 1966(1966-01-22) (aged 75)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Years active 1911–1965
Spouse(s) Mollie Maitland (m. 1915–28) (divorced)
Edna Best (m. 1928–40) (divorced) 1 child
Lee Russell (m. 1940–?) (divorced) 1 child
Boots Mallory (m. 1947–58) (her death) 1 child
Dee Anne Kaufmann (m. 1960–66) (his death)

Herbert Marshall (23 May 1890 – 22 January 1966), born Herbert Brough Falcon Marshall, was an English stage and screen actor, who in spite of losing a leg during World War I starred in many popular Hollywood films in the 1930s and 1940s. Marshall, called Bart by his family and friends, is best remembered for roles in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, and William Wyler's The Little Foxes. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Early life and war years[edit]

Marshall's parents were Percy F. Marshall and Ethel May Turner, who were also actors. He graduated from St. Mary's College in Old Harlow, Essex, England, and worked for a time as an accounting clerk before becoming an actor.

In 1915 during the First World War, Marshall was shot in the right knee[1] by a sniper at Arras, France.[2] After a succession of operations, doctors were forced to amputate his leg near the hip.[3] While he was recovering from his injury at St. Thomas' in London, King George V visited the hospital. When asked to pick which of Marshall's legs he thought was artificial, the king chose the wrong one.[4] Throughout his career, Marshall largely managed to hide the fact that he had a prosthetic limb, although it was occasionally reported in the press. He served in the London Scottish Regiment with fellow actors Basil Rathbone, Ronald Colman and Claude Rains.[5]


His stage debut took place in 1911, and he entered films with Mumsie (1927). Initially he played romantic leads and later character roles. The suave actor spent many years playing romantic leads opposite such stars as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davis and starring in such classics as Trouble in Paradise (1932), The Painted Veil (1934), The Little Foxes (1941), and The Razor's Edge (1946). He was featured in both the 1929 and the more famous 1940 version of The Letter, first as the murdered lover, then the wronged husband.

He starred in a popular radio series, The Man Called X, from 1944 to 1952. He played a globetrotting American spy with a British accent. Other radio performances included a guest role on the first audition show of the Suspense series, which initially was broadcast as a part of the summer series, Forecast. The episode he appeared in was "The Lodger," directed by Alfred Hitchcock, on 22 July 1940.

Personal life[edit]

Marshall was married five times. He appeared in The Calendar, Michael and Mary, and The Faithful Heart with his second wife, Edna Best. He was married to his fourth wife, Boots Mallory, from 1947 until her death in 1958. He also had an affair with actress Gloria Swanson, who recounted their relationship in her memoirs, Swanson on Swanson (1980). Marshall had a daughter, Sarah, by Best, and two other, younger children.


Marshall died on 22 January 1966 in Beverly Hills, California, of heart failure[6] and was buried at Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ [1], Fade To Black: Google Books.
  2. ^ "Thumb-Nail Portrait of Herbert Marshall". Los Angeles Times. 13 September 1935. p. B10. 
  3. ^ [2], Movie Star Medals.
  4. ^ "The King's Wrong Guess". The Irish Times: 4. 30 July 1928. 
  5. ^ Cottrell, John. Laurence Olivier. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-13-526152-1.
  6. ^ [3], Herbert Marshall.

External links[edit]