Marian Nixon

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Marian Nixon
Marian Nixon Stars of the Photoplay.jpg
Born Marian Nissinen
(1904-10-20)October 20, 1904
Superior, Wisconsin, United States
Died February 13, 1983(1983-02-13) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Other names Marion Nixon
Occupation Actress, vaudevillian, dancer
Years active 1922–1936
Spouse(s) Joseph Benjamin
(m.1925–1927; divorced)
Edward Hillman, Jr.
(m.1929–1933; divorced)
William A. Seiter
(m.1934–1964; his death) 1 son
Ben Lyon
(m.1974–1979; his death)
Relatives Richard Lyon (stepson)
Barbara Lyon (stepdaughter)

Marian Nixon (October 20, 1904 – February 13, 1983) was an American film actress.


Born Marian Nissinen in Superior, Wisconsin, Nixon began her career as a teen working as a chorus dancer on the vaudeville circuit. She began appearing in bit part in films in 1922 and landed her first substantial role in the 1923 film Cupid's Fireman, opposite Buck Jones. The following year, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star.[1] Nixon continued to work steadily throughout the mid to late 1920s appearing in Riders of the Purple Sage (1925), Hands Up! (1926), and The Chinese Parrot (1927). In 1929, she made her talkie debut as the lead in Geraldine. Later that same year, Nixon appeared opposite Al Jolson in Say It with Songs followed by General Crack in 1930.

In 1932, she starred as Rebecca in the film adaption of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm with Ralph Bellamy.[2] Following the release of Rebecca, Nixon co-starred in Winner Take All with James Cagney. The next year she had a supporting role in John Ford's Pilgrimage. In 1934, Nixon attempted to change her wholesome image with a role in the comedy We’re Rich Again. The film wasn't a success and after appearing in eight more films, Nixon retired from acting in 1936. She made her last film, Captain Calamity at the age of 32.

Personal life[edit]

Nixon married boxer Joseph Benjamin in 1925, but later divorced in 1927.

On August 11, 1929, Nixon married Chicago department store heir, Edward Hillman, Jr., at the home of his parents. The couple divorced in 1933. The following year, she married her We’re Rich Again director, William A. Seiter. The marriage lasted until Seiter's death in 1964. They had three children, including Christopher Seiter (1934-2003). In 1974, she married actor/producer Ben Lyon. After Lyon's death in 1979, Nixon never remarried. (Her obituary in the Chicago Tribune said that she married Lyon in 1971.)[3]

Her grandsons are the screenwriters Ted Griffin and Nicholas Griffin.[4]


Nixon died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center[3] of complications following open heart surgery on February 13, 1983.[5] and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.


For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Marian Nixon has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street in Los Angeles, California. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1923 Rosita Undetermined Bit Role Uncredited
Big Dan Dora Allen
Cupid's Fireman Agnes Evans
1924 The Vagabond Trail Lou Macon
The Circus Cowboy Bird Taylor
The Last of the Duanes Ruth
1925 The Hurricane Kid Joan Langdon as Marion Nixon
The Saddle Hawk Rena Newhall
Let 'er Buck Jacqueline McCall Credited as Marion Nixon
Where Was I? Alicia Stone
The Sporting Life Nora Cavanaugh Lost film
1926 Hands Up! Mae extant
What Happened to Jones Lucille Bigbee extant
Rolling Home Phyllis
Devil's Island Rose Marie extant
Spangles Spangles Delancy extant
1927 Heroes of the Night Mary Allen
Taxi! Taxi! Rose Zimmerman lost
The Auctioneer Ruth Levi lost
1928 The Fourflusher June Allen extant;EYE Netherlands
Out of the Ruins Yvonne Gilbert Lost film
How to Handle Women Beatrice Fairbanks Lost film
Jazz Mad Elsa Hausmann extant; Library of Congress
1929 Rainbow Man Mary Lane extant; Library of Congress
In the Headlines Anna Lou Henderson lost
Young Nowheres Annie Jackson lost
1930 Scarlet Pages Nora Mason
Ex-Flame Lady Catherine lost
The Pay-Off (1930)
The Lash Dona Dolores Delfino
1931 Sweepstakes Babe Ellis
Women Go on Forever Betty
1932 Charlie Chan's Chance Shirley Marlowe
After Tomorrow Sidney Taylor
Winner Take All Peggy Harmon
Amateur Daddy Sally Smith
1933 Best of Enemies Lena Schneider
Chance at Heaven Glory Franklyn Credited as Marion Nixon
1934 Strictly Dynamite Sylvia Montgomery
We're Rich Again Arabella Sykes
Embarrassing Moments Jane
1935 Sweepstakes Annie Annie Foster Alternative title: Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore
1936 Tango Treasure McGuire
Captain Calamity Madge Lewis


  1. ^ Lowe, Denise (2004). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films, 1895-1930. Haworth Press. p. 404. ISBN 0-7890-1842-X. 
  2. ^ L.N. (July 30, 1932). ""Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" Sings Her Simple Song Again at the Paramount Theatre.". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b "Marian Nixon, debuted in Tom Mix's 'Riders' (February 16, 1983)". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. February 16, 1983. p. 12. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Marian Nixon, Finnish Hollywood,
  5. ^ Lamparski, Richard (1989). Whatever Became Of ...? All New Eleventh Series. Crown Publishers. p. 135. ISBN 0-517-57150-1. 
  6. ^ "Marian Nixon". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 

External links[edit]