Caren Marsh Doll
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|Caren Marsh Doll|
Caren Marsh Doll in April 2014
April 6, 1919
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Residence||Palm Springs, California, U.S.|
|Education||Hollywood High School|
|Years active||1937-1956 (actress); 1956-present (dancer, entertainer)|
|Spouse(s)||Bill Doll (1950-present) 1 son|
For over two decades she appeared in motion pictures with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. She was the older sister of actress Dorothy Morris. Along with Jerry Maren and centenarian Shep Houghton, she is one of the few surviving members of the cast of The Wizard of Oz. She has appeared at Wizard of Oz film festivals throughout the country, and worked as a dance instructor.
She was born in Hollywood, California. She and her family were active in the Methodist church. In 1937 she graduated from Hollywood High School and wanted to become an actress. Her parents did not approve of this choice and preferred she pursue a college education. They compromised by telling Caren that unless she could land an acting job she would be sent to school.
She auditioned for a role in Rosalie (1937), starring Nelson Eddy and Eleanor Powell but did not win the role. She later re-auditioned for that movie and got the part. She was hired as Judy Garland's dance stand-in for The Wizard of Oz. She was hired largely mostly because she was similar in height and build to Garland and even received her own pair of ruby slippers. She served as a stand-in for Garland a second time with Ziegfeld Girl (1941).
Using the last name of Marsh, she began to appear in several musical features at MGM Studios and Warner Bros. in such films as Seven Sweethearts (1942), Best Foot Forward (1943), Hands Across The Border (1944) and Night and Day (1946). She did appear in speaking parts in films as Secrets of a Sorority Girl (1945) and Navajo Kid (1945). In 1947 she was named Miss Sky Lady of 1947 and began appearing in fewer films to focus on her new interest in dance.
Plane crash survival
On July 12, 1949 Marsh was one of 35 passengers on a Standard Air Lines flight, when the plane Flight Standard Air Lines Flight 897R crashed. Halfway through the journey the plane crashed and Marsh was one of 14 people who survived. She was hospitalized at Ceders of Lebanon, better known today as Cedars Sinai, for several weeks and nearly had her left foot amputated. Her doctors told her that she would likely never dance again but after careful exercise she was able to heal and continue in her dancing.
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She ended her acting career in 1956 after an appearance on The Gabby Hayes Show. She moved to Palm Springs, California, in 1957 and married Bill Doll, a press agent to Mike Todd. They had one son. Her sister, Dorothy Morris, became her neighbor when she retired in 1971. The sisters lived next door to each other until Dorothy's death on November 20, 2011.
Autobiography and OZ fsestivals
In November 2007 she published her autobiography, Hollywood's Babe, in which she discussed her life in Hollywood and her love affair with "The Wizard of Oz". In 2011 she served as the Grand Marshal of the Oz-Stravaganza Parade in Chittenango, New York.
Once a month on the first Monday, Marsh volunteers as a dance therapy instructor at the Palm Springs Stroke Activity Center where the styles taught range from themes like ballroom dancing, country, Hawaiian, and belly dancing. She is an active member of The Palm Springs United Methodist Community Church.
- Kirst, Sean. "Dorothy's stand-in: A miracle or two along the Yellow Brick Road". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Harrison, Scott (2011-01-27). "Crash survivor keeps dancing". Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Doll, Caren-Marsh Hollywood's Babe BearMedia Manor, November 1, 2007, page 279
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