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June 16, 1900
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Died||December 21, 1939
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Other names||Alma M. Fillmore|
Joseph Homer Reilly
|Relatives||Mary Miles Minter (sister)|
Margaret Shelby (June 16, 1900 – December 21, 1939) was an American stage and motion picture actress, daughter of actress Charlotte Shelby, older sister of silent film star Mary Miles Minter and one of many public figures noted in the scandals which followed the murder of William Desmond Taylor in 1922.
Born as Margaret Reilly (and later also known as Alma M. Fillmore), Margaret was a successful child actress who began working professionally at a very early age. Her first Broadway appearance was in Grace Livingston Furniss's play The Fibber. In 1916 Margaret and Mary, both in their teens, acted together on film in director James Kirkwood's picture Faith.
Although she was seen as pretty and noted for having some talent as an actress, her film career was mostly limited to supporting roles in some of her sister's films. By 1916 both sisters were quite famous. That same year, the sisters established a widely publicized "hotel" for stray dogs on the ample grounds of their Santa Barbara, California home.
Her sister left the film industry in 1924, and Margaret took small bit parts in sundry productions. She was briefly married to Hugh Fillmore, a grandson of President Millard Fillmore, but they divorced in 1927. With the coming of talkies in the late 1920s her career ended. By the late 1930s, Margaret was suffering from both alcoholism and clinical depression. In March 1937 she eloped to Yuma, Arizona with Emmett J. Flynn, but this marriage was annulled a month later (April 27, 1937) and Flynn died the following June.
On June 5, 1937 Margaret filed a lawsuit against her mother alleging financial mismanagement, claiming Charlotte had stolen $48,750 (roughly almost $2 million in 2007 inflation-adjusted terms) from a safety deposit box in a Los Angeles, California bank. A jury awarded her $20,000. On September 13, 1938, she publicly accused her mother of having killed William Desmond Taylor in 1922. Margaret's sister had an unrequited infatuation with Taylor, beginning in 1919.
Margaret Shelby died of alcohol-related illness in 1939, aged 39.
|1916||Faith||Laura||aka The Virtuous Outcast|
|1917||Peggy Leads the Way||Maude Greenwood|
|Her Country's Call||Marie Tremaine|
|1918||Wives and Other Wives||Mrs. Craig|
|Rosemary Climbs the Heights||Wanda Held|
|1919||A Bachelor's Wife||Genevieve Harbison|
|The Intrusion of Isabel||Lois Randall|
|The Amazing Impostor||Countess of Crex|
|1920||Jenny Be Good||Jolanda Van Mater|
|1928||Clothes Make the Woman|
- Janesville, Wisconsin Daily Gazette, News Notes From Movieland, October 23, 1916, Page 6.
- Los Angeles Times, Film Slaying Witness Dies, December 23, 1939, Page 1.