Peggy Shannon

Last updated
Peggy Shannon
Peggy Shannon (by John de Mirjian).jpg
Portrait of Shannon by John de Mirjian
Winona Sammon

(1907-01-10)January 10, 1907
DiedMay 11, 1941(1941-05-11) (aged 34)
Resting place Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Years active1923–1940
    Alan Davis
    (m. 1926;div. 1940)
      Albert G. Roberts
      (m. 1940)

Peggy Shannon (born Winona Sammon; January 10, 1907 [1] [2] – May 11, 1941) was an American actress. She appeared on the stage and screen of the 1920s and 1930s.


Shannon began her career as a Ziegfeld girl in 1923 before moving on to Broadway productions. She was signed to Paramount Pictures and groomed to replace Clara Bow as the newest "It girl", whom she replaced in the 1931 film, The Secret Call . Her growing dependency on alcohol eventually derailed her career. She appeared in her final film Triple Justice in 1940. In May 1941, Shannon died at the age of 34 from a heart attack, brought on by alcoholism. Her husband Albert G. Roberts shot himself three weeks after her death.


Shannon in 1930s Peggy Shannon 1930s.jpg
Shannon in 1930s

Shannon was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1907 [1] [3] (some sources erroneously cite 1909 [4] or 1910 [5] ) to Edward and Nannie Sammon. She had a younger sister, Carol. She attended Annunciation Academy Catholic School and Pine Bluff High School and then was hired as a chorus girl by Florenz Ziegfeld while visiting her aunt in New York in 1923. [2] The following year, she was cast in the Ziegfeld Follies followed by a role in Earl Carroll's Vanities. While on Broadway in 1927, she was spotted by B.P. Schulberg, production head of Paramount Pictures, and was offered a contract. When she arrived in Hollywood, she was hailed as the next "It girl", replacing Clara Bow. [6] Before the shooting of The Secret Call, Bow had suffered a nervous breakdown, and Shannon was hired to replace her only two days after her arrival in Hollywood. [2] [7]

Shannon sometimes worked 16-hour days (from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. the next day) while shooting a film, and when shooting wrapped, rushed to begin another film. She occasionally worked on two separate films in one day. Through films and publicity, Shannon became known as a fashion plate, wearing styles three months before they became popular. In 1932, she signed a new contract at Fox and became known as difficult and temperamental on the set and was rumored to have had a drinking problem. In 1934, Shannon returned to New York City to do the Broadway show, Page Miss Glory. [2]

In 1935, she continued on Broadway with The Light Behind the Shadow, but was soon replaced, with a press release claiming a tooth infection, though rumors claimed it was her drinking. In 1936, she returned to Hollywood with Youth on Parole. She found it harder to conceal her drinking. Fewer movie roles were offered, and her drinking worsened. She made her last film appearance in the 1940 film Triple Justice, opposite George O'Brien. [ citation needed ]

Personal life

In 1926, Shannon married her first husband, actor Alan Davis. The marriage ended in July 1940. She married second husband, cameraman Albert G. Roberts, later that year. [2] [8]


On May 11, 1941, Shannon's husband Albert Roberts and a fellow studio worker returned from a fishing trip to find Shannon dead in their North Hollywood apartment. She was slumped over the kitchen table, a cigarette in her mouth and an empty glass in her hand. She had been dead for approximately 12 hours. An autopsy revealed that she had died of a heart attack brought on by a liver ailment and a run-down condition. [2] She is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Three weeks after Shannon's death, her husband committed suicide by shooting himself with a .22 rifle in the same chair in which she had died. His suicide note read "I am very much in love with my wife, Peggy Shannon. In this spot she died, so in reverence to her, you will find me in the same spot." [9]

Broadway credits

October 20, 1923 - May 10, 1924Ziegfeld Follies of 1923Performer
January 11 - March 19, 1927PiggyPerformer
February 21 - May 1927What Ann Brought HomeAlma
October 6 - Oct 1927High GearFlorence Ainslee
November 26 - December 1928Back HereSally
August 5 - August 1929Now-a-DaysJean Wing
November 11 - December 1929Cross RoadsDora
December 30, 1929 – January 1930Damn Your HonorMichel Du Fresne
December 22, 1930 – Jan 1931Life Is Like ThatJane Barton
March 11 – March 1931NapiLa George
November 27, 1934 - March 1935Page Miss GloryGladys Russell
February 10 - February 1936Alice TakatKitty Linderman


1930The GobShort film
1931Opening NightShort film
1931The Meal TicketFriendShort film
1931 The Secret Call Wanda Kelly
1931 Silence Norma Davis/Norma Powers
1931 The Road to Reno Lee Millet
1931 Touchdown Mary Gehring
1932This Reckless AgeMary Burke
1932 Hotel Continental Ruth Carleton
1932Society GirlJudy Gelett
1932The Painted WomanKiddo
1932False FacesElsie Fryer
1933 Girl Missing Daisy Bradford
1933 Deluge Claire Arlington
1933 Devil's Mate Nancy Weaver
1933 Turn Back the Clock Elvina Evans Wright/Elvina Evans Gimlet
1933Fury of the JungleJoan Leesom
1934The Back PageJerry Hampton
1935 Night Life of the Gods Daphne Lambert
1935 Fighting Lady Dora Hart
1935 The Case of the Lucky Legs Thelma Bell
1936 The Man I Marry Margot Potts
1936 Ellis Island Betty Parker
1937Romancing AlongMargot Potts
1937 Youth on Parole Peggy
1938 Girls on Probation Inmate RuthUncredited
1939 Blackwell's Island Pearl Murray
1939 The Adventures of Jane Arden Lola Martin
1939 Fixer Dugan Aggie Moreno
1939 The Women Mrs. JonesUncredited
1939Dad for a DayMary Baker
1939 The Amazing Mr. Williams KittyUncredited
1940 Cafe Hostess Nellie
1940 The House Across the Bay Alice
1940 All About Hash Edith HenryShort film
1940 Triple Justice Susan


  1. 1 2 ( Liebman 2003 , p. 383)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Private Life and Times of Peggy Shannon".
  3. ( Shipman Springer 1974 , p. 327)
  4. ( Halliwell 2003 , p. 422)
  5. ( Donnelley 2003 , p. 847)
  6. ( Brettell 2005 , p. 252)
  7. ( Soister 2004 , p. 148)
  8. ( Star 2001 , p. 198)
  9. ( Frasier 2002 , p. 264)


  • Brettell, Andrew; King, Noel; Kennedy, Damien; Imwold, Denise; Leonard, Warren Hsu; von Rohr, Heather (2005). Cut!: Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Barrons Educational Series. ISBN   0-7641-5858-9
  • Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries (2 ed.) Omnibus Press. ISBN   0-7119-9512-5
  • Frasier, David K. (2002). Suicide in the Entertainment Industry: An Encyclopedia of 840 Twentieth Century Cases. McFarland. ISBN   0-7864-1038-8
  • Halliwell, Leslie; Walker, John (2003). Halliwell's Who's Who In the Movies (15. ed.) HarperCollins. p. 422. ISBN   0-06-053423-0
  • Liebman, Roy (2003). Vitaphone Films: A Catalogue of the Features and Shorts. McFarland. ISBN   0-7864-1279-8
  • Shipman Springer, John; Hamilton, Jack D. (1974). They Had Faces Then: Super Stars, Stars, and Starlets of the 1930s. Citadel Press. ISBN   0-8065-0300-9
  • Soister, John T. (2004). Up From the Vault: Rare Thrillers of the 1920s and 1930s. McFarland. ISBN   0-7864-1745-5
  • Star, Jimmy (2001). Barefoot on Barbed Wire: An Autobiography of a Forty-Year Hollywood Balancing Act. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   0-8108-3941-5

Related Research Articles

<i>The Great Ziegfeld</i> 1936 film by Robert Zigler Leonard

The Great Ziegfeld is a 1936 American epic musical drama film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and produced by Hunt Stromberg. It stars William Powell as the theatrical impresario Florenz "Flo" Ziegfeld Jr., Luise Rainer as Anna Held, and Myrna Loy as Billie Burke.

Chester Morris Actor

John Chester Brooks Morris was an American stage, film, television, and radio actor. He had some prestigious film roles early in his career, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Chester Morris is best remembered today for portraying Boston Blackie, a criminal-turned-detective, in the modestly budgeted Boston Blackie film series of the 1940s.

Marie Dressler Canadian-American actress

Marie Dressler was a Canadian stage and screen actress, comedian, and early silent film and Depression-era film star. In 1914, she was in the first full-length film comedy. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931.

Marie Prevost Canadian actress

Marie Prevost was a Canadian-born film actress. During her 20-year career, she made 121 silent and sound films.

Tallulah Bankhead American actress

Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was an American stage and screen actress. She was a member of the Brockman Bankhead family, a prominent Alabama political family. Both her grandfather and her uncle served as US Senators; her father served as a US Representative in Congress for 11 terms, the final two as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Tallulah Bankhead's support of liberal causes, including the budding civil rights movement, broke with her southern contemporaries with their support of white supremacy and Jim Crow laws as championed by Southern Democrats; she often opposed her own family publicly.

ZaSu Pitts American actress

ZaSu Pitts was an American actress who starred in many silent dramas, including Erich von Stroheim's epic 1924 silent film Greed, and comedies, transitioning successfully to mostly comedy films with the advent of sound films. She also appeared on numerous radio shows. Her career as an entertainer spanned nearly 50 years, and she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Lupe Vélez Mexican actress

Lupe Vélez was a Mexican actress, dancer and singer during the "Golden Age" of Hollywood films.

Pete Duel American actor

Peter Ellstrom Deuel, known professionally as Pete Duel, was an American stage, television, and film actor, best known for his starring role as outlaw Hannibal Heyes in the television series Alias Smith and Jones.

Dominique Dunne American actress and murder victim

Dominique Ellen Dunne was an American actress. Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Dunne made her debut with the television film Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker (1979), and subsequently played Erica on the drama series Family (1980) and Paulina Bornstein on the comedy series Breaking Away (1980–1981). She then starred as Dana Freeling in the critically-acclaimed horror film Poltergeist (1982), which established her as a horror icon. She went on to headline the western film The Shadow Riders (1982) and portray Amy Kent on the crime series CHiPs (1982).

Billie Burke American stage and film actress

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke was an American actress who was famous on Broadway and radio, and in silent and sound films. She is best known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musical The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. American theatrical impresario

Florenz Edward Ziegfeld Jr. was an American Broadway impresario, notable for his series of theatrical revues, the Ziegfeld Follies (1907–1931), inspired by the Folies Bergère of Paris. He also produced the musical Show Boat. He was known as the "glorifier of the American girl". Ziegfeld is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Olive Thomas American actress

Olive Thomas was an American silent-film actress, art model, and photo model.

Betty Garrett

Betty Garrett was an American actress, comedian, singer and dancer. She originally performed on Broadway, and was then signed to a film contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She appeared in several musical films, then returned to Broadway and made guest appearances on several television series.

<i>The Bat</i> (1926 film) 1926 film

The Bat is a 1926 American silent comedy mystery film directed by Roland West and starring Jack Pickford and Louise Fazenda. The film is based on the 1920 Broadway hit play The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, which itself was an adaptation of Rinehart's 1908 mystery novel The Circular Staircase.

Mary Nolan

Mary Nolan was an American stage and film actress, singer and dancer. She began her career as a Ziegfeld girl in the 1920s performing under the stage name Imogene "Bubbles" Wilson. She was fired from the Ziegfeld Follies in 1924 for her involvement in a tumultuous, highly publicized affair with comedian Frank Tinney. She left the United States shortly thereafter and began making films in Germany. She appeared in seventeen German films from 1925 to 1927 using the stage name Imogene Robertson.

Olive Borden American actress

Olive Mary Borden was an American film and stage actress who began her career during the silent film era. She was nicknamed "The Joy Girl", after playing the lead in the 1927 film of that same title. Borden was known for her jet-black hair and overall beauty.

Alma Rubens American actress

Alma Rubens was an American film actress and stage performer.

Marie Wilson (American actress) US actress (1916-1972)

Marie Wilson was an American radio, film, and television actress. She may be best remembered as the title character in My Friend Irma.

Lottie Pickford Canadian-American actress (1893–1936)

Charlotte Smith, known professionally as Lottie Pickford, was a Canadian-American silent film actress and socialite. She was the younger sister of fellow actress Mary Pickford and elder sister of actor Jack Pickford.

Rosamond Pinchot American socialite and actress

Rosamond Pinchot was an American socialite, stage and film actress.