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  • BIRTH 22/02/1890
  • DEATH 10/04/1975
  • Country United States
  • MOVIES 27

Marjorie Main

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marjorie Main (born Mary Tomlinson, February 24, 1890 – April 10, 1975) was an American actress, best known as a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player and for her role as Ma Kettle in a series of ten Ma and Pa Kettle movies.

Main worked in vaudeville on the Orpheum circuit and in Chautauqua presentations, and debuted on Broadway in 1916. Her first film was A House Divided in 1931.

Main began playing upper class dowagers, but ultimately was typecast in abrasive, domineering, salty roles, for which her distinctive voice was well suited. She repeated her stage role in Dead End in the 1937 film version, and was subsequently cast repeatedly as the mother of gangsters. She again transferred a strong stage performance, as a dude-ranch operator in The Women, to film in 1939. At this time, she guest-starred on radio programs such as Columbia Presents Corwin and The Goldbergs.

Main was signed to a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract in 1940 and stayed with the studio until the mid-1950s. She made six films with Wallace Beery in the 1940s, including Barnacle Bill (1941), Jackass Mail (1942), and Bad Bascomb (1946). She played Sonora Cassidy, the chief cook, in The Harvey Girls (1946). The director George Sidney remarked in the commentary for the film that Miss Main was a "great lady" as well as a great actress who donated most of her paychecks over the years to the support of a school.

Perhaps her most famous role is that of Ma Kettle, which she first played in The Egg and I in 1947 opposite Percy Kilbride as Pa Kettle. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the part and portrayed the character in nine more Ma and Pa Kettle films.

By the early 1950s, she had appeared in several MGM musicals, including, Meet Me in St. Louis and The Belle of New York. She played Mrs. Wrenley in the studio's all-star film It's a Big Country (1951). In 1954, Marjorie Main played her last roles for the studio: Mrs. Hittaway in The Long, Long Trailer and Jane Dunstock in Rose Marie. In 1956, Main's performance as the widow Hudspeth in the hit film Friendly Persuasion was well-received, earning her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1958, Main appeared twice as rugged frontierswoman Cassie Tanner in the episodes "The Cassie Tanner Story" and "The Sacramento Story" on NBC's television series Wagon Train. In the first segment, she joins the wagon train, casts her romantic interest on Ward Bond as Major Adams, and helps the train locate needed horses despite a Paiute threat.

Marjorie Main

Movies (27)

Meet Me in St. Louis
Meet Me in St. Louis
Katie (Maid)
Another Thin Man
Another Thin Man
Mrs. Dolley (uncredited)
Friendly Persuasion
Friendly Persuasion
The Widow Hudspeth
A Woman's Face
A Woman's Face
Emma Kristiansdotter
Dead End
Dead End
Mrs. Martin
The Shepherd of the Hills
The Shepherd of the Hills
Granny Becky
Heaven Can Wait
Heaven Can Wait
Mrs. Strabel
Undercurrent
Undercurrent
Lucy
Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas
Mrs. Martin
Big Jack
Big Jack
Flapjack Kate
The Kettles in the Ozarks
The Kettles in the Ozarks
Ma Kettle
The Harvey Girls
The Harvey Girls
Sonora Cassidy
Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm
Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm
Ma Kettle
Ma and Pa Kettle
Ma and Pa Kettle
Phoebe 'Ma' Kettle
Gentle Annie
Gentle Annie
Annie Goss
The Egg and I
The Egg and I
Phoebe 'Ma' Kettle
The Long, Long Trailer
The Long, Long Trailer
Mrs. Hittaway
Wyoming
Wyoming
Mehitabel
The Belle of New York
The Belle of New York
Mrs Phineas Hill
The Women
The Women
Lucy
Dark Command
Dark Command
Mrs. Cantrell / Mrs. Adams
Jackass Mail
Jackass Mail
Clementine 'Tina' Tucker
Summer Stock
Summer Stock
Esme
Murder, He Says
Murder, He Says
Mamie Fleagle Smithers Johnson
Three Comrades
Three Comrades
Old woman by phone (uncredited)
Feudin', Fussin' and A-Fightin'
Feudin', Fussin' and A-Fightin'
Maribel Mathews
Broken Lullaby
Broken Lullaby
Frau Schmidt - Townswoman (uncredited)