Margaret Lindsay

Last updated
Margaret Lindsay
Margaret Lindsay Argentinean Magazine AD.jpg
Lindsay in 1939
Born
Margaret Kies

(1910-09-19)September 19, 1910
DiedMay 9, 1981(1981-05-09) (aged 70)
Years active19321963

Margaret Lindsay (born Margaret Kies; September 19, 1910 – May 9, 1981) was an American film actress. Her time as a Warner Bros. contract player during the 1930s was particularly productive. She was noted for her supporting work in successful films of the 1930s and 1940s such as Baby Face , Jezebel (1938) and Scarlet Street (1945) and her leading roles in lower-budgeted B movie films such as the Ellery Queen series at Columbia in the early 1940s. Critics regard her portrayal of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hepzibah Pyncheon in the 1940 film The House of the Seven Gables as Lindsay's standout career role.

Contents

Early life

Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Lindsay was the eldest of six children of a pharmacist father who died in 1930. According to Tom Longden of the Des Moines Register , "Peg" was "a tomboy who liked to climb pear trees" and was a "roller-skating fiend." She graduated in 1930 from Visitation Academy in Dubuque. [1]

Career

1930s

After attending National Park Seminary in Washington, D.C., Lindsay convinced her parents to enroll her at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She went abroad to England to make her stage debut. She appeared in plays such as Escape, Death Takes a Holiday, and The Romantic Age.[ citation needed ] She was often mistaken as being British due to her convincing English accent. Her fellow dramatic-school student Robert Cummings was then posing as the Englishman "Blade Stanhope Conway" and convinced Margaret Kies to follow his example and adopt a new British identity: Margaret Lindsay.

She impressed Universal Studios enough to sign her for their 1932 version of The Old Dark House . As James Robert Parish and William T. Leonard wrote in Hollywood Players: The Thirties (Arlington House, 1976), Lindsay returned to America and arrived in Hollywood, only to discover that Gloria Stuart had been cast in her role in the film. After some minor roles in Pre-Code films such as Christopher Strong and the groundbreaking Baby Face , which starred Barbara Stanwyck, Lindsay was cast in the Fox Film Corporation's award-winning Cavalcade . Lindsay was selected for a small but memorable role as Edith Harris, a doomed English bride whose honeymoon voyage takes place on the Titanic .[ citation needed ]

She won the role by backing up her British accent with an elaborate "biography" that claimed she was born in a London suburb, the daughter of a London broker who sent her to a London convent for her education. "Although I looked and talked English... to tell them I was actually from Iowa would have lost the assignment for me," she later explained. [ citation needed ]

Her work in Cavalcade earned her a contract at Warner Bros. where she became a reliable supporting player, working with Paul Muni, Errol Flynn, Henry Fonda, Warren William, Leslie Howard, George Arliss, Humphrey Bogart, Boris Karloff, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.. Lindsay was cast four times as the love interest of James Cagney in Warner films from 1933 to 1935: Frisco Kid , Devil Dogs of the Air , G Men , and Lady Killer .[ citation needed ]

Lindsay in Public Enemy's Wife (1936) Margaret Lindsay in Public Enemy's Wife.JPG
Lindsay in Public Enemy's Wife (1936)

Lindsay co-starred with Bette Davis in four Warners films: as Davis's sister in Fog Over Frisco (1934); in Dangerous (1935), for which Davis won her first Best Actress Academy Award; in Bordertown with Paul Muni, and, lastly, as Davis's rival for Henry Fonda's affections in Jezebel (1938), which earned Davis her second Best Actress Academy Award.

Glenda Farrell (L.) and Lindsay (R.) in The Law in Her Hands (1936) Glenda Farrell (4).jpg
Glenda Farrell (L.) and Lindsay (R.) in The Law in Her Hands (1936)
Humphrey Bogart, Margaret Lindsay & Donald Woods in American adventure film Isle of Fury (1936). Bogart, Lindsay & Woods Isle of Fury 1936 Still.jpg
Humphrey Bogart, Margaret Lindsay & Donald Woods in American adventure film Isle of Fury (1936).

An example of her work in a leading role in lower budget films while at Warner Bros. was The Law in Her Hands (1936), a comedy in which she played a mob lawyer. As film historian John McCarty wrote, it was "that rarity among gangster films to offer a female in the male-dominated mouthpiece role."[ citation needed ] Author Roger Dooley identified the movie as "being the only film of the 1930s to concern itself with a pair of female legal partners". Made after the Motion Picture Production Code came into effect, however, The Law in Her Hands was forced into adopting "a reactionary stance towards the gender switch", and concluded with a plot twist that was the complete opposite of the Pre-Code period (1929–1934), when "female characters on the screen could say, do, and be whatever they wanted." [ citation needed ]

1940s

Perhaps Lindsay's most acclaimed film role was in The House of the Seven Gables in 1940, with George Sanders and Vincent Price.[ citation needed ] Directed by Joe May from a screenplay by Lester Cole, the film's musical score by Frank Skinner was nominated for an Academy Award. Price recalled that "Margaret Lindsay was a delight to work with and a very good actress."

Michael Brunas, John Brunas, and Tom Weaver wrote in Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931–46 that Lindsay "...one of the loveliest and most talented of '30s leading ladies, contributes a fine, mature performance that's probably the best, certainly the most striking, in the picture... [h]ad a Bette Davis played Hepzibah, this same performance would be hailed as a classic..." [2]

In a 2004 Classic Images article about actor Jon Hall, film historian Colin Briggs wrote that a letter he had received from Lindsay indicated that her part in The House of the Seven Gables was her "favorite role."[ citation needed ] Lindsay's letter to Briggs also stated that the film she had the most fun with was The Vigilantes Return (1947), in which she co-starred with Jon Hall. "... [That] role was a complete departure from my usual parts and I grabbed it... I even warbled a Mae West type ditty. As a man-chasing saloon singer after Jon Hall it was for me a totally extroverted style and I relished the opportunity... I have a framed still from that film on a wall in my home."[ citation needed ]

Lindsay with Boris Karloff in British Intelligence (1940) British Intelligence (1940) still 1.jpg
Lindsay with Boris Karloff in British Intelligence (1940)

Her 1940s film series work in Hollywood included Columbia's first entry in its Crime Doctor series, as well as her continuing role as Nikki Porter in Columbia's Ellery Queen series (1940–1942). Author Jon Tuska's affection for the Ellery Queen series mystified its star Ralph Bellamy. During an interview by Tuska for his 1978 book, The Detective in Hollywood, he remarked, "I'm one of the few who does [like the series]." "I don't know how ... They were such quickie pictures", Bellamy replied.[ citation needed ]

Jon Tuska cited Ellery Queen, Master Detective (1940) and Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery (1941) as the best of the Bellamy-Lindsay pairings. "The influence of The Thin Man series was apparent in reverse," Tuska noted about Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery. "Ellery and Nikki are unmarried but obviously in love with each other. Probably the biggest mystery ... is how Ellery ever gets a book written. Not only is Nikki attractive and perfectly willing to show off her figure ... but she also likes to write her own stories on Queen's time, and gets carried away doing her own investigations", Tuska opined.[ citation needed ]

Lindsay appeared in a supporting role in the 1942 film The Spoilers , starring Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne, and in Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street (1945) with Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett. While her work in the late 1940s would occasionally involve a supporting role in MGM films like Cass Timberlane (1948) with Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner, her film career went into decline, with roles in films at Poverty Row studios like Monogram Pictures and PRC. She returned to the stage and co-starred with Franchot Tone in The Second Man. [3]

1950s and 1960s

She made her television debut in 1950 in The Importance of Being Earnest , which allowed her to once again display her finely-honed British accent. More television work followed. Lindsay appeared in only four films during the 1950s and two in the 1960s. Her final feature film was Tammy and the Doctor (1963).

Personal life

Early in her career, Lindsay lived with her sister Helen in Hollywood. Later in life, she lived with her youngest sister, Mickie. She never married. According to biographer and historian William J. Mann, Lindsay was the life partner of musical theatre, film, and television actress Mary McCarty. [4]

Death

Lindsay died at the age of 70 of emphysema in 1981 at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. She was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. [5]

Family

Lindsay's sister, Jane Kies, was also an actress under the stage name Jane Gilbert. [6]

Complete filmography

Related Research Articles

Ellery Queen is a pseudonym created in 1929 by American crime fiction writers Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee and the name of their main fictional character, a mystery writer in New York City who helps his police inspector father solve baffling murders. Dannay and Lee wrote most of the more than thirty novels and several short story collections in which Ellery Queen appeared as a character, and their books were among the most popular of American mysteries published between 1929 and 1971. In addition to the fiction featuring their eponymous brilliant amateur detective, the two men acted as editors: as Ellery Queen they edited more than thirty anthologies of crime fiction and true crime, and Dannay founded and for many decades edited Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, which has been published continuously from 1941 to the present. From 1961, Dannay and Lee also commissioned other authors to write crime thrillers using the Ellery Queen nom de plume, but not featuring Ellery Queen as a character; several juvenile novels were credited to Ellery Queen, Jr. Finally, the prolific duo wrote four mysteries under the pseudonym Barnaby Ross.

Karen Morley American actress

Karen Morley was an American film actress.

William Gargan American actor

William Dennis Gargan was an American film, television and radio actor. He was the 5th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967, and in 1941, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Joe in They Knew What They Wanted. He acted in decades of movies including parts in Follow the Leader, Rain, Night Flight, Three Sons, Isle of Destiny and many others. The role he was best known for was that of a private detective Martin Kane in the 1949–1952 radio-television series Martin Kane, Private Eye. In television, he was also in 39 episodes of The New Adventures of Martin Kane.

Charley Grapewin American actor

Charles Ellsworth Grapewin was an American vaudeville and circus performer, a writer, and a stage and film actor. He worked in over 100 motion pictures during the silent and sound eras, most notably portraying Uncle Henry in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz (1939), "Grandpa" William James Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Jeeter Lester in Tobacco Road (1941), and California Joe in They Died With Their Boots On (1941).

Harrison Parker Tyler, was an American author, poet, and film critic. Tyler had a relationship with underground filmmaker Charles Boultenhouse (1926–1994) from 1945 until his death. Their papers are held by the New York Public Library. In 1997, cultural critic Camille Paglia described Tyler as her favorite critic and the biggest influence on her own film criticism, writing that like Tyler, she "[is] primarily a myth-critic and pagan cultist".

George Regas Greek-American actor

George Thomas Regas was a Greek American actor.

<i>The Adventures of Ellery Queen</i>

The Adventures of Ellery Queen is the title of a radio series and four separate television series made from the 1950s through the 1970s. They were based on the fictional detective and pseudonymous writer Ellery Queen and the cases he solved with his father, Inspector Richard Queen.

Mona Barrie

Mona Barrie was an English-born actress, active on stage in Australia before establishing a career in the US, and in Hollywood films.

Mary Boland American actress

Mary Boland was an American stage and film actress.

Helen Vinson

Helen Vinson was an American film actress, who appeared in 40 films between 1932 and 1945.

Diane Ellis American actress

Diane Ellis was an American actress.

Genevieve Tobin

Genevieve Tobin was an American actress.

Clarence Muse American actor

Clarence Muse was an American actor, screenwriter, director, and composer. He was the first African American to appear in a starring role in a film, 1929's Hearts in Dixie. He acted for 50 years, and appeared in more than 150 films. He was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1973.

Charles Judels American actor

Charles Judels was a Dutch-born, American film actor.

James Burke (actor) American actor

James Michael Burke was an Irish-American film and television character actor born in New York City.

Lawrence J. Darmour (1895–1942) was an American film producer, operator of Larry Darmour Productions from 1927, and a significant figure in Hollywood's Poverty Row.

<i>Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime</i> 1941 film by James P. Hogan

Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime is a 1941 American mystery film directed by James P. Hogan and written by Eric Taylor. The film was loosely based on the 1938 novel The Devil to Pay by Ellery Queen. It stars Ralph Bellamy, Margaret Lindsay, Charley Grapewin, Spring Byington, H. B. Warner and James Burke. The film was released on August 14, 1941, by Columbia Pictures.

<i>A Desperate Chance for Ellery Queen</i> 1942 film by James P. Hogan

A Desperate Chance for Ellery Queen is a 1942 American mystery film directed by James P. Hogan and written by Eric Taylor. It is based on the 1940 play A Good Samaritan by Ellery Queen. The film stars William Gargan, Margaret Lindsay, Charley Grapewin, John Litel, Lilian Bond and James Burke. The film was released on May 7, 1942, by Columbia Pictures.

<i>Ellery Queen, Master Detective</i> 1940 American film

Ellery Queen, Master Detective is a 1940 American mystery film directed by Kurt Neumann and written by Eric Taylor. The film stars Ralph Bellamy, Margaret Lindsay, Charley Grapewin, James Burke, Michael Whalen and Marsha Hunt. The film was released on November 30, 1940, by Columbia Pictures.

James S. Brown Jr. was an American cinematographer. He was a prolific worker with around 150 credits during his career spent generally with lower-budget outfits such as Columbia Pictures, Mayfair Pictures and Monogram Pictures.

References

  1. "Famous Iowans - Margaret Lindsay". Data.desmoinesregister.com. 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  2. Universal Horrors: Studio's Classic Films, 1931-46 (January 31, 1991), McFarland & Co Inc. ISBN   978-0899503691 [ page needed ]
  3. The Second Man - Franchot Tone, Margaret Lindsay, Therese Hunter, Barbara Payton, Walter Brooke, Jean Dalrymple, Syrjala - Google Boeken. 1950. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  4. Mann, William J. Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969. New York City: Viking Press. p. 137. ISBN   0670030171.
  5. Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries
  6. Kear, Lynn; Rossman, John (2016). The Complete Kay Francis Career Record: All Film, Stage, Radio and Television Appearances. McFarland & Company. p. 249. ISBN   978-1-4766-0287-5 . Retrieved 2021-04-01.

Further reading