Margaret Tallichet

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Margaret "Talli" Tallichet (March 13, 1914 – May 3, 1991) was an actress and longtime wife of movie director William Wyler. Her best-known leading role was with Peter Lorre in the film noir Stranger on the Third Floor (1940).

Background[edit]

She was the great-granddaughter of Albert Tallichet, an antebellum emigre from Switzerland who settled in the western Alabama town of Demopolis, where he ran a grocery store.[1] Her parents, David Compton Tallichet and Margaret Tallichet, moved from Alabama to Dallas, Texas, before her birth. Margaret graduated from Southern Methodist University. She was an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.[1]

Movie career[edit]

Tallichet came to California from her native Texas in 1936 seeking a career in the movie business.[2] According to her obituary in the Los Angeles Times, she was working in the publicity department at Paramount Pictures when she was befriended by actress Carole Lombard.[2] She was introduced to producer David O. Selznick, who gave her a screen test for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. She was initially cast for the role of Scarlett's sister Careen O'Hara,[3] but the role was ultimately given to Ann Rutherford. Selznick also cast her in a minor uncredited role in A Star is Born (1937).

At the outset of her acting career, she also appeared in A Desperate Adventure (1938) and Girls' School (1938).

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1938, an agent introduced her to Goldwyn Pictures director William Wyler, who had been divorced from his first wife Margaret Sullavan since 1936.[1] Three weeks later, on October 23, 1938, they were married, at the lakeside home of Walter Huston.[4]

Before the United States entered World War II, both Tallichet and Wyler continued to work. She appeared in Stand Up and Fight (uncredited, 1939), Stranger on the Third Floor (1940), It Started with Eve (1941), and The Devil Pays Off (1941). The latter film was released in November 1941 when she was pregnant with her second child. She did not return to the screen.

Even before the United States entered the war, her husband was an outspoken advocate for the defense of Great Britain. His first Oscar-winning film, Mrs. Miniver (1942), was a sympathetic portrayal of an English family enduring the Battle of Britain. After completing that film, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and flew missions over Europe. At the 1943 Academy Awards program, Margaret accepted, in her husband's absence, his Oscar for Best Director in Mrs. Miniver.

She and Wyler were parents of five children: Catherine Wyler (born July 25, 1939), Judy Wyler (born May 21, 1942), David Wyler, Melanie Ann Wyler (born November 25, 1950) and William Wyler Jr.(born September 25, 1952). They remained married for 43 years, only ending with her husband's death.

She was the sister of aviator and restaurateur David Tallichet Jr.

Death[edit]

She died on May 3, 1991, at age 77.[2] According to her New York Times obituary, the cause of her death was cancer.[5]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Demopolis Stories of Hellman & Wyler Stories
  2. ^ a b c Obituary, "Margaret Tallichet; Actress, Widow of William Wyler, Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1991.
  3. ^ "Former Studio Typist Wins Part in 'Gone with the Wind,'" Syracuse Herald, p. 8D, November 28, 1937; Lucie Neville, "The Low Down on 'Gone with the Wind,'" Loredo Times, Oct. 2, 1938.
  4. ^ Associated Press, "Margaret Tallichet a Bride," New York Times, October 23, 1938.
  5. ^ Obituary, Margaret Tallichet Wyler, New York Times, May 7, 1991.