Margaret Whitton

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Margaret Whitton
Margaret Whitton in Major League (1989)
Born Margaret Ann Whitton
(1949-11-30)November 30, 1949
Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S.[1]
Died December 4, 2016(2016-12-04) (aged 67)
Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Other names Peggy Whitton
Occupation Actress, director
Years active 1965–2016
Spouse(s) William Russell (divorced)
Warren Spector

Margaret Ann Whitton (November 30, 1949 – December 4, 2016) was an American stage, film, and television actress.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Whitton was born in Fort Meade, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. She first noticeably appeared on the stage in 1973, billed as Peggy Whitton. Her first work was on the New York stage, where she worked as a dog walker between parts.[3] In the early 1980s, she began to be billed by her birth name and made her Broadway debut in 1982's Steaming.

Whitton did her primary film work between 1986 and 1993. Her most visible roles were that of Michael J. Fox's character's under-appreciated aunt-by-marriage in The Secret of My Success (1987), and as the spiteful baseball team owner Rachel Phelps in Major League[4] (1989), and its sequel, Major League II (1994). Whitton also appeared in the Robin Williams-Kurt Russell vehicle The Best of Times (1986) and in Mel Gibson's The Man Without a Face (1993). Her other film roles included parts in National Lampoon Goes to the Movies (1982), Love Child (1982) and 9½ Weeks (1986) as Molly.[3]

Whitton worked as a television actress, with appearances in the soap operas One Life to Live and The Doctors. Her first primetime role was in CBS's 1985 dramedy Hometown.[3] In 1989, Whitton played a divorcee in the short-lived ABC comedy series A Fine Romance.[5] She later starred in the 1991 sitcom Good & Evil, playing the good-natured sister opposite Teri Garr as her evil executive sibling. The series was cancelled by after six episodes.[6]

Whitton returned to the stage, appearing on Broadway in And the Apple Doesn't Fall... (1995), as Mac in Jeffrey Hatcher's The Three Viewings (1995),[7] and in the original, award-winning musical Marlene (1999), starring Siân Phillips as Marlene Dietrich.

The non-theatrical rights to her play A Bird of the Air were acquired by Freestyle Digital Media. It was based upon the novel The Loop as by Joe Coomer and was adapted for film by Roger Towne.[8] At the time of her death, Whitton served as president of an independent-film production company, Tashtego Films.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Whitton was married to cabinet maker William Russell for 8 years; they divorced in 1978.[9] Her second husband was Bear, Stearns & Co. executive Warren Spector.[10]


Whitton died on December 4, 2016, aged 67, at her home in Florida after a brief battle with cancer. She is survived by Spector, and had no children.[1][11]


  1. ^ a b "Margaret Whitton, Major League Actress, Dies at 67". The New York Times. December 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ Willis, John (1995), Monush, Barry, ed., Screen World 1994, 45, Hal Leonard Corporation, p. 302, ISBN 1557832013. 
  3. ^ a b c Buck, Jerry (September 26, 1988), "Margaret Whitton Changes Partners in 'Fine Romance'", L. A. Times, retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  4. ^ Edgington, K.; Erskine, Thomas L.; Welsh, James (2010), Encyclopedia of Sports Films, Scarecrow Press, pp. 302–305, ISBN 0810876523. 
  5. ^ Terry, Clifford (January 26, 1989), "'Fine Romance' Fine Mess", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  6. ^ Cerone, Daniel (October 25, 1991), "ABC Drops 'Good & Evil,' Irks Series Creator", L. A. Times, retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  7. ^ Simon, John (April 17, 1995), "Funeral Parlor Games", New York Magazine, 28 (16), p. 108. 
  8. ^ Kilday, Gregg (March 26, 2012), "Freestyle Digital Media Takes Non-Theatrical Rights to Margaret Whitton's 'A Bird of the Air'", Hollywood Reporter, retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  9. ^ "After Snacking on Boyish Michael J. Fox, the Sexy Margaret Whitton Beefs Up for a Go at Jack Nicholson". People. June 1, 1987. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ Cohan, William D. (2010), House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street, Anchor Books, p. 269, ISBN 0767930894. 
  11. ^ "Major League Star Margaret Whitton Dies at 67". Entertainment Weekly. 

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