Bess Marvin

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Bess Marvin
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories character
First appearance "The Secret at Shadow Ranch"
Created by

Edward Stratemeyer
Mildred Benson

Harriet Stratemeyer Adams
Portrayed by Ruth Cox (The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries)
Jhene Erwin (Nancy Drew 1995 Canadian TV series) Jill Ritchie(Nancy Drew 2002 TV Movie) [Amy Bruckner] Nancy Drew (2007))
Nickname(s) Bess (everyone she knows)
Miss Bess (Gilbert Buford, as seen in the Nancy Drew game, Legend of the Crystal Skull)
Species Human
Gender Female
Occupation Student
Family Mr. Marvin (father)
Mrs. Marvin (mother)
Maggie (sister)
Relatives Uncle Zak (uncle, as heard from Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake)
Bet Rawley (aunt, as seen in The Secret of Shadow Ranch)
Ed Rawley (uncle, as seen in The Secret of Shadow Ranch)
George Fayne (cousin)
Dick Milton (cousin)
Nationality American

Elizabeth "Bess" Marvin is a character in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. She is one of Nancy Drew's best friends, along with George Fayne. Bess and George are introduced to readers in the 1931 novel,The Secret at Shadow Ranch. Bess was originally described as having beautiful hair (later described as blonde), slightly plump, pretty, and blue eyed.[1] She is very feminine, and is easily frightened when involved in Nancy's adventures. Bess believes that every crook has a good reason for committing crime. Bess always fears the worst is going to happen and insists that Nancy give up several mysteries. She is somewhat flighty, fickle, and a bit of a flirt - quite the opposite of cousin George, who is more practical, steady, and very much a tomboy. Bess flirts with every cute or handsome boy she meets. Despite her fears, she is a strong sleuth in some volumes, even taking a proactive role in the capture of criminals on occasion. George is Bess's cousin. [2]

Bess loves to shop, and has a weakness for food. She has an extreme love of ice cream and other desserts. In most volumes in the series, George makes at least one comment on Bess's diet and is oftentimes described as "pleasantly plump" by the third-person narrator during expository introductions to the character. George sometimes criticizes Bess for shopping habits. Bess, admittedly, cannot stick to a diet, no matter how she tries, and frequently talks about food. Bess often is seen involved in the same activities as Nancy, at a lower skill level, including dancing, art, music, acting, and stunt horseback riding. Bess has also been know to enjoy baklava. She idolizes famous celebrities, including even female celebrities.

Her boyfriend is Emerson College student Dave Evans. In the original series, she has no steady boyfriend until the 1952 volume The Mystery at the Ski Jump. The continuity was changed during the series updates, and he appears in the revised versions of some earlier entries in the series. Bess is a true romantic. She is loyal, and she always enjoys helping Nancy, albeit with some trepidation. Although George considers her a coward, Bess does sometimes surprise even herself with her bravery, and she occasionally deciphers clues that stump even Nancy.


In most volumes in the series, Bess is oftentimes described as "pleasantly plump". Bess is usually described to have blond hair. The length of her hair is debated due to not being stated in the books. Her eyes are blue.

In other media[edit]

  • In the Nancy Drew movie of 2007, Bess was played by Amy Bruckner.[3]
  • In the television series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977–1979), Bess was played by Ruth Cox.
  • In the 1995 Canadian/French syndicated half hour Nancy Drew TV series Bess was played effectively for one season by Jhene Erwin.
  • In the Nancy Drew 2002 TV movie Bess was portrayed by Jill Ritchie. This film was to be the pilot for a new Nancy Drew television series, but was not picked up.


  1. ^ Matthews, Lisa Q (September 1, 2015). "Bess Marvin Lives!". Chicks on the Case. Retrieved June 26, 2016. 
  2. ^ Terrance, Vincent (2004). The Television Crime Fighters Factbook: Over 9,800 Details from 301 Programs. McFarlan & Company Inc. Publishers. Retrieved June 26, 2016. 
  3. ^ Shulman, Polly (June 15, 2007). "Classic elements make Nancy Drew timeless". Deseret News. Retrieved June 26, 2016.