December 25, 1910|
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||January 9, 2000
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||George O'Brien (1933–1948) (divorced) 3 children
Peter Ganine (1954–?)
Marguerite Churchill (December 25, 1910 – January 9, 2000) was an American film actress with a film career spanning from 1929 to 1952. She is best known today as John Wayne's first leading lady in The Big Trail (1930).
She was daughter of a producer who owned a chain of theaters but he died when she was ten years old. She was educated in New York at the Professional Children's School and the Theatre Guild Dramatic School. She appeared on stage and was applauded on Broadway as a leading lady when just sixteen years old. An official of the Fox Company saw her acting and gave her a contract which shortly afterwards led her to debut on screen in The Diplomats.
Churchill played leading lady to John Wayne in Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail (1930), an early widescreen epic and Wayne's first leading role. She appeared with Wayne the following year in Girls Demand Excitement (1931); with Spencer Tracy and George Raft in Quick Millions (1931); with Will Rogers in Ambassador Bill (1931); with Warner Oland in Charlie Chan Carries On (1931); with George O'Brien in Riders of the Purple Sage (1931); with Charles Farrell in Girl Without a Room (1933); with Ralph Bellamy in The Final Hour (1936); with Boris Karloff in The Walking Dead (1936); and with Edward Van Sloan in Dracula's Daughter (1936).
Churchill appeared in more than 25 films and was married to her one-time costar George O'Brien from July 15, 1933 until their divorce in 1948. They had three children, one of whom was novelist Darcy O'Brien, whom she outlived by two years. Her daughter Orin O'Brien has played double bass for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra since 1966. A third child, Brian, died in infancy in 1934.
After her divorce from O'Brien, she appeared in one movie and a few television plays. In 1954, she announced her engagement to Peter Ganine, a sculptor. In the "California Marriage Index, 1949–1959", there is a record of marriage and file date of June 5, 1954 for Peter Ganine and Marguerite Churchill.
In 1960, she moved to Rome, Italy and in 1970 to Lisbon, Portugal. She came back to the United States in the 1990s to live near her son, Darcy, whom she outlived by two years.
She died on January 9, 2000, aged 89, from natural causes in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. She was survived by her daughter, Orin.
- They Had to See Paris (1929)
- The Valiant (1929) co-star with Paul Muni in his film debut
- Harmony at Home (1930)
- Born Reckless (1930)
- The Big Trail (1930) with John Wayne
- Girls Demand Excitement (1931) with John Wayne
- Quick Millions (1931) with Spencer Tracy and George Raft
- Ambassador Bill (1931) with Will Rogers
- Charlie Chan Carries On (1931) with Warner Oland
- Riders of the Purple Sage (1931) with George O'Brien
- Girl Without a Room (1933) with Charles Farrell and Charlie Ruggles
- The Final Hour (1936) with Ralph Bellamy
- The Walking Dead (1936) with Boris Karloff
- Dracula's Daughter (1936) with Edward Van Sloan
- Alibi for Murder (1936)
- According to the Social Security Death Index, Marguerite G Churchill was born on December 26, 1910, but this is not necessarily dispositive.
- California Marriage Index, 1949–1959
- Hopper, Hedda (5 June 1954). "Marguerite Churchill to Be Wed – Former film star Marguerite Churchill will marry Peter Ganine at the Russian Orthodox Church here". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. p. A1.
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