Marian Marsh, 93, Petite Star of ‘Svengali,’ Dies
By MARGARLIT FOX
Marian Marsh, a Hollywood actress of the 1930s and early ’40s best known for starring opposite John Barrymore in the 1931 melodrama “Svengali,” died on Thursday at her home in Palm Desert, Calif. She was 93.
Ms. Marsh, who was known by her married name, Marian Marsh Henderson, died in her sleep, her daughter, Cathy Scott, said.
Mr. Barrymore handpicked Ms. Marsh, then a teenage bit player, for the role of Trilby, the virginal young singer who falls under Svengali’s control. The film was based on “Trilby,” the 1894 novel by George du Maurier.
A petite blond actress described by critics of the day as doll-like, Ms. Marsh was also known for her performance opposite Edward G. Robinson in “Five Star Final” (1931). She played Sonya to Peter Lorre's Raskolnikov in “Crime and Punishment” in 1935. Her last film role was in the 1942 comedy “House of Errors.”
Ms. Marsh was born Violet Ethelred Krauth on Oct. 17, 1913, in Trinidad, West Indies, where her parents ran a chocolate factory. The family moved to the Boston area when she was a child. After her older sister, Jean, became a bit player in Hollywood — she worked first as Jean Morgan and later as Jean Fenwick — the family relocated to California.
Following her sister into acting, Ms. Marsh began her career in the late 1920s as Marilyn Morgan. Under that name, she had a small role in “Hell’s Angels,” the 1930 war drama directed by Howard Hughes.