Margaret Turnbull (screenwriter)

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Margaret Turnbull
Margaret Turnbull.jpg
Margaret Turnbull in 1915
Born(1872-11-17)17 November 1872
Glasgow, Scotland
Died12 June 1942(1942-06-12) (aged 69)
Years active1914-1939

Margaret Turnbull (17 November 1872 12 June 1942) was a Scottish novelist, playwright and screenwriter in silent films. [1]


Early life

Turnbull was born in Glasgow, Scotland. [2] She was the older sister of producer Hector Turnbull and sister to Jean, Mary, Alice, Donald, [3] and Isabel. [4] Her family moved to the United States during her childhood, and she attended school in New Jersey. [5]


Turnbull wrote plays, including Genessee of the Hills (1905), A Society Policeman (1905), Classmates (1907, with William C. deMille), On the Square (1913, with her brother), The Deadlock (1913), and At the Mitre (1914). In 1912, a script she submitted anonymously was produced in New York by Henry Wilson Savage, as The Stronger Claim. [6]

Turnbull wrote for 51 films between 1914 and 1939. She worked for Paramount Pictures and the Famous Players–Lasky studios in Islington, and also spent some of her career in Hollywood. [7] In 1915, she wrote at least three films that starred Blanche Sweet; she also wrote films starring Edna Goodrich and Enrico Caruso. She was described as a "popular writer" and William C. deMille's assistant in a 1915 article about film dramas. [8]

Turnbull also wrote novels, including W. A. G.'s Tale (1913), [9] Looking After Sandy (1915), [10] [11] The Close Up (1918), [12] [13] Alabaster Lamps (1925) [14] Madame Judas (1926), [2] The Left Lady (1926), [15] The Handsome Man (1930), [16] and The Bride's Mirror (1934). [17] "I am sure," she told an interviewer in 1926, "that I get much more pleasure in writing a book or play than Mr. Ford has ever gotten from all the machines he has put on the market." [2]

Personal life

Turnbull lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. [2] She died in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts in 1942, aged 69 years. [1]

Selected filmography

Newspaper advertisement for Stolen Goods (1915), starring Blanche Sweet, with Margaret Trumbull credited as writer. Stolengoods-newspaperad-1915.jpg
Newspaper advertisement for Stolen Goods (1915), starring Blanche Sweet, with Margaret Trumbull credited as writer.

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  1. 1 2 Delahousse, Sarah (2013). "Margaret Turnbull". Women Film Pioneers Project. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Margaret Turnbull at Home". The Daily News. 28 May 1926. p. 4. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  3. "Hector Turnbull Called by Death". The Morning Call. 9 April 1934. p. 5. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  4. "Obituary for William J. Cooley (Aged 55)". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 28 March 1933. p. 25. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  5. Turnbull, Margaret (16 December 1926). "Alabaster Lamps". The Salem Post and The Democrat-Bulletin. p. 6. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  6. "Theatrical Notes". Hartford Courant. 2 September 1912. p. 7. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  7. "Movie Notes". The Times Herald. 6 June 1919. p. 3. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  8. Kingsley, Grace (14 March 1915). "Day of the Photodrama". The Los Angeles Times. p. 45. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  9. Turnbull, Margaret (1 February 2006). W. A. G.'s Tale.
  10. "Wholesome, Helpful Girl". The Boston Globe. 10 October 1914. p. 4. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  11. Turnbull, Margaret (1914). "Looking After Sandy: A Simple Romance". Internet Archive. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  12. "The Close-up". The European Library. The European Library. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  13. "The Book Corner". The San Bernardino County Sun. 24 December 1918. p. 6. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  14. "Alabaster Lamps". The European Library. The European Library. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  15. Turnbull, Margaret (1926). "The Left Lady". Faded Page. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  16. Turnbull, Margaret (11 December 1930). "The Handsome Man, part V". The Blocton Enterprise. p. 3. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  17. "The Bride's Mirror". The European Library. The European Library. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  18. "At the Regent". Harrisburg Telegraph. 11 January 1919. p. 10. Retrieved 28 July 2020 via
  19. "La BATAILLE (1923)". BFI. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  20. "Rogue's March is First Class" Spokane Chronicle (May 18, 1928): 4. via