|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2012)|
|Born||Marion Lorne MacDougall
August 12, 1883
West Pittston, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||May 9, 1968
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Ferncliff Cemetery
Greenburgh, New York, U.S.
|Years active||1905–1968; her death|
|Spouse(s)||Walter C. Hackett (m. 19??–1944; his death)|
After a career in theatre in New York and London, Lorne made her first film in 1951, and for the remainder of her life, played small roles in films and television. Her recurring role, between 1964 and her death in 1968, as Aunt Clara in the comedy series, Bewitched (1964–1972) brought her widespread recognition, and for which she was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Early life and education
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
She was born Marion Lorne MacDougall in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, a small mining town halfway between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, of Scottish and English immigrant parents. While her year of birth is listed as 1885 on her tombstone, it was usually listed as 1888 when she was alive and the Social Security Death Index lists it as 1883. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Lorne debuted on Broadway in 1905; she also acted in London theaters, enjoying a flourishing stage career on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. After appearing in a couple Vitaphone shorts, Success (1931) starring Jack Haley and A Peach of a Pair (1934) starring Shemp Howard and Daphne Pollard, she made her feature film debut in her late 60s in Strangers on a Train (1951), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The role was typical of the befuddled, nervous, and somewhat aristocratic matrons that she usually portrayed.
From 1952-55, Lorne was seen as perpetually confused junior high school English teacher Mrs. Gurney on Mr. Peepers. From 1957–58, she co-starred with Joan Caulfield in the NBC sitcom Sally in the role of an elderly widow who happens to be the co-owner of a department store. Although afraid of live television, declaring "I'm a coward when it comes to a live [television] show", she was persuaded to appear a few times to promote the film The Girl Rush with Rosalind Russell in the mid-1950s. Between 1958–64, she made regular appearances on The Garry Moore Show (1958–64).
Her last role, as Aunt Clara in Bewitched, brought Lorne her widest fame as a lovable, forgetful witch who is losing her powers due to old age and whose spells usually end in disaster. Aunt Clara is obsessed with doorknobs, often bringing her collection with her on visits. Lorne had an extensive collection of doorknobs in real life, some of which she used as props in the series.
She appeared in twenty-eight episodes and was not replaced after she died of a heart attack in her Manhattan apartment, just prior to the start of production of the show's fifth season, at the age of 84.
The producers of Bewitched recognized that Lorne's performance as Aunt Clara could not be replicated by another actress. Comedic actress Alice Ghostley was recruited to fill the gap as "Esmeralda", a different type of befuddled witch with wobbly magic whose spells often went astray. Coincidentally, Lorne and Ghostley had appeared side-by-side as partygoers in the iconic comedy-drama film The Graduate, made the year before Lorne's death. She received a posthumous Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Bewitched. The statue was accepted by Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery.
Filmography and television work
|1931||Success||Short film||Molly's mother|
|1934||A Peach of a Pair||Short film||Mrs. Potter|
|1951||Strangers on a Train||psychological thriller||Mrs. Anthony|
|July 3, 1952 to June 12, 1955||Mr. Peepers||sitcom||Mrs. Gurney||television|
|1955||The Girl Rush||musical comedy||Aunt Clara|
|Aug. 21, 1955||The Ed Sullivan Show||variety||Herself in "The Girl Rush Show"|
|September 17, 1955||Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall||variety||Herself|
|1956–57||The Steve Allen Show||variety||Herself|
|1957–58||Sally||sitcom||Myrtle Banford||television, 26 episodes|
|1958||Suspicion||mystery drama||Mrs. Foster||television, one episode|
|1958||DuPont Show of the Month||anthology series||Veta Louise Simmons||television, episode (television adaptation of the comedy play Harvey (1944))|
|1958–1964||The Garry Moore Show||variety show||herself||television|
|1959 (25 November 1959)||I've Got a Secret||game show||herself||television|
|1964–1968||Bewitched||sitcom||Aunt Clara||television, 28 episodes|
|1966||The Lucy Show||sitcom||Woman at coat show||television, one episode (uncredited)|
|1967||The Graduate||comedy-drama||Miss DeWitte|
- Dance Me a Song as Grandmother (Jan 20, 1950 – Feb 18, 1950)
- Harvey as Veta Louise Simmons (Nov 01, 1944 – Jan 15, 1949)
- Off With The Motley (1937-1938) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- London After Dark (1937) [Streatham Hill Theatre]
- London After Dark (1937) [Apollo Theatre, London]
- The Fugitives (1936) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- Espionage (1935-1936) [Apollo Theatre, London]
- Afterwards (1934) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- The White Sisters (1933) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- The Gay Adventure (1932) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- Road House (1932) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- Take a Chance (1931) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- Captain Applejack (1931) [Whitehall Theatre, London]
- It Pays to Advertise (1930-1931)
- Hyde Park Corner (1930)
- Freedom of the Seas (1929)
- Regeneration (1928)
- The Wicked Earl (1928) His Majesty's Theater in London
- The Barton Mystery (1927)
- 77 Park Lane (1927)
- 77 Rue Chalgrin (1925)
- Other Men's Wives (1922)
- The Barton Mystery (Oct 13 - 30, 1917; 20 performances)
- It Pays to Advertise (1915-1916)
- Don't Weaken (Jan 14, 1914 - Jan 1914)
- The Little Minister as Lady Babbie (6/22/1910 - ??/2010) [Hunter-Bradford Players at the Parsons Theater]
- The Florist Shop as Angelica Perkins (Aug 09, 1909 - Sep 1909)
- The Devil as Mimi (Aug 18, 1908 - Nov 1908)
- Here Tonight (1908)
- Mrs. Temple's Telegram (Feb 01, 1905 - Mar 27, 1905)
Awards and nominations
|1954||nominated||Emmy Award||Best Series Supporting Actress||Mr. Peepers|||
|1955||nominated||Emmy Award||Best Supporting Actress in a Regular Series||Mr. Peepers|||
|1958||nominated||Emmy Award||Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actress in a Dramatic or Comedy Series||Sally|||
|1967||nominated||Emmy Award||Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy||Bewitched|||
|1968||won||Emmy Award||Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy||Bewitched|||
She was married to playwright Walter Hackett, who died in 1944.
- "Marion Lorne" profile at Find a Grave; retrieved October 7, 2012.
- "Marion Lorne", NNDb; retrieved October 7, 2012.
- [unreliable source?] Staff (2001). "Bewitched Biography – Marion Lorne" at harpiesbizarre.com; retrieved October 7, 2012.
- "Sally (1957 TV series)". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- New York Times, September 26, 1958
- "Aunt Clara's Doorknob Collection". Nick at Night Flashback. September 23, 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
- "When Esmeralda Sneezed". harpiesbizarre. October 1, 2007. Retrieved October 1, 2007.
- Database (undated). "Marion Lorne". emmys.com (database operated by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences). Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- Marion Lorne at Find a Grave
- Marion Lorne at the Internet Broadway Database
- Marion Lorne at the Internet Movie Database