Miriam Seegar

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Miriam Seegar
Miriam Seegar.jpg
Born (1907-09-01)September 1, 1907
Greentown, Indiana
Died January 2, 2011(2011-01-02) (aged 103)
Pasadena, California
Occupation Film actress
Years active 1928-1933
Height 5' ¾" (154 cm).
Spouse(s) Tim Whelan
(m.1931-1957; his death)
Children Tim Jr and Michael

Miriam Seegar Whelan (September 1, 1907 – January 2, 2011) was an American silent film actress.

Early life[edit]

Born in Greentown, Indiana, Her parents were called Frank Seegar and Carrie Wall Seegar and they were teachers. She was the fourth of five daughters. Her father later opened up a hardware store but died when Miriam was 14. Her sisters were very talented: Dr. Helen Seegar Stone (1895–1976) (educator); Dorothy Seegar (1897-1999) (Broadway and opera singer); Mildred (1905-1913) and the youngest Sara Seegar Stone (1914–1990) (stage, film and TV character actress). She made her film debut in 1928. Her first film was The Price of Divorce, in which she starred alongside Frances Day and Rex Maurice. The film was never released, but was adapted for sound and released two years later as Such Is the Law. She followed that with a lead role in The Valley of Ghosts the same year. She starred in four films in 1929 and six films in 1930, including New Movietone Follies of 1930 and The Dawn Trail opposite Western film star Buck Jones. In 1931 and 1932, she made a total of six films, all B-movies,

Personal life[edit]

Miriam retired from acting in 1933. After which she married and had children, later finding employment as an interior decorator. She and director/husband had two sons. Her husband died in 1957, and decades later, tragically both sons died within a span of nine months. Son Tim S. Whelan Jr died from cancer in 1997, and son Michael, who was born with Down syndrome, died in 1998. Seegar had two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren at the time of her death in 2011.

Later life and death[edit]

In 1953 she received her ASID certification and began working as an interior decorator, first with Harriet Shellenberger and later on her own. She did not retire until 1995. In 2000, at the age of 93, Seegar appeared in the documentary I Used to Be in Pictures, which featured commentary from many of her contemporaries. Thereafter she made a series of guest appearances at film festivals which culminated in an award for her screen work from the Memphis Film Festival when she was 95. On her 102nd birthday she sailed from Southampton to New York on the Queen Elizabeth and back again.

According to her daughter-in-law, Harriet Whelan, Seegar died on January 2, 2011 at the age of 103. No specific cause of death was given, although Whelan stated that Seegar was very frail and that she had died from "age-related causes".

Her death, followed by the death of Barbara Kent later that same year, and of screen writer Frederica Sagor Maas a year later, and of actress Carla Laemmle in 2014 aged 104 leaves only child performers such as Dickie Moore, Jean Darling and Baby Peggy as living silent film veterans.


[About shooting The Dawn Trail (1930).] There was a scene in the picture that was very scary. I was scared to death. The cattle stampeded—and they were to go around us. I had the right to refuse, because this was dangerous, but I didn't. I was in the ditch while, offscreen, cowboys on horses would turn the cattle away, just as they were coming to the ditch! They didn't go over me, but if they had missed one cow, that would have been it!


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