|Cause of death Pneumonia|
Name Marguerite Clark
Siblings Clifton James, Cora James
|Resting place Metairie Cemetery|
Education Ursuline Academy
Years active 1900–1921
Role Film actress
|Full Name Helen Marguerite Clark|
Born February 22, 1883 (1883-02-22) Avondale, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Died September 25, 1940, New York City, New York, United States
Spouse Harry Palmerston Williams (m. 1918–1936)
Parents Augustus James, Helen Elizabeth Clark
Movies Snow White, The Amazons, Fortunes of Fifi, The Goose Girl, The Seven Sisters
Similar People J Searle Dawley, Adolph Zukor, Daniel Frohman, Marshall Neilan, Jesse L Lasky
Marguerite Clark in Snow White 1916
Marguerite Clark (February 22, 1883 – September 25, 1940) was an American stage and silent film actress. As a movie actress, at one time, Clark was second only to Mary Pickford for popularity.
Early life and theater
Born Helen Marguerite Clark in Avondale, Cincinnati, Ohio, she was the third child of Augustus "Gus" James and Helen Elizabeth Clark. She had an older sister, Cora, and an older brother named Clifton. Clark's mother Helen died on January 21, 1893. Her father worked in his self-owned successful haberdashery located in downtown Cincinnati before his death on December 29, 1896. Following the death, Clark's sister Cora was appointed her legal guardian and removed her from public school to further her education at Ursuline Academy.
She finished school at age 16, decided to pursue a career in the theatre and soon made her Broadway debut in 1900. The 17-year-old performed at various venues. In 1903 she was seen on Broadway opposite that hulking comedian DeWolf Hopper in Mr. Pickwick. The 6-foot-6-inch (1.98 m) Hopper dwarfed the nearly 5-foot-tall (1.5 m) Clark in their scenes together. Several adventure-fantasy roles followed. In 1909 Clark starred in the whimsical costume play The Beauty Spot, establishing the fantasy stories for which would soon become her hallmark. In 1910 Clark appeared in The Wishing Ring, a play directed by Cecil DeMille and later made into a motion picture by Maurice Tourneur. That same 1910 season had Clark appearing in Baby Mine, a popular play produced by William A. Brady. In 1912 Clark performed in a lead role with John Barrymore, Doris Keane and Gail Kane in the play The Affairs of Anatol later made into a motion picture by Clark's future movie studio Famous Players-Lasky and directed by Cecil DeMille. Clark's popularity led to her signing a contract in 1914 to make motion pictures with Famous Players-Lasky. Clark had a lead role in a film that defined Clark's persona; the influential film version of Snow White (1916).
At age 31, it was relatively late in life for a film actress to begin a career with starring roles, but the diminutive Clark had a little-girl look, like Mary Pickford, that belied her years. Also, film was not developed or mature enough to showcase Clark at her youthful best at the turn of the century. These were one of the reasons established Broadway stars refused early film offers. Feature films were unheard of when Clark was in her early 20s. She made her first appearance on screen in the short film Wildflower, directed by Allan Dwan.
In 1915 Clark starred as "Gretchen", in a feature-length production of The Goose Girl based on a 1909 best-selling novel by Harold MacGrath. She performed in the feature-length production The Seven Sisters (1915), directed by Sidney Olcott, and she reprised a Broadway role, starring in the first feature-length film version of Snow White (1916).
Clark was directed in this by J. Searle Dawley, as well as in a number of films, notably when she played the characters of both "Little Eva St. Clair" and "Topsy" in the feature Uncle Tom's Cabin (1918).
Clark starred in Come Out of the Kitchen (1919), which was filmed in Pass Christian, Mississippi, at Ossian Hall. The same year, she enrolled as a yeowoman in the naval reserves. Clark made all but one of her 40 films with Famous Players-Lasky, her last with them in 1920 titled Easy to Get, in which she starred opposite silent film actor Harrison Ford. Her next film, in 1921, was made by her own production company for First National Pictures distribution. As one of the most popular actresses going into the 1920s, and one of the industry's best paid, her name alone was enough to ensure reasonable box office success. As such, Scrambled Wives was made under her direction, following which she retired at age 38 to be with her husband at their country estate in New Orleans.
On August 15, 1918, Clark married New Orleans, Louisiana plantation owner and millionaire businessman Harry Palmerston Williams, a marriage that ended with the death of Williams' on May 19, 1936 in an aircraft crash. After his death, Clark was the owner of the Wedell-Williams Air Service Corporation, which had built and flown air racers, along with other aviation enterprises until sold in 1937.
After the death of her husband, Clark moved to New York City where she lived with her sister Cora. On September 20, 1940, she entered LeRoy Sanitarium where she died five days later of pneumonia. A private funeral was held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on September 28. She was cremated and buried with her husband in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Marguerite Clark has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6304 Hollywood Boulevard.