The Info List - Frances Marion

Frances Marion
Frances Marion
(born Marion Benson Owens, November 18, 1888[1] – May 12, 1973) was an American journalist, author, film director and screenwriter often cited as the most renowned female screenwriter of the 20th century alongside June Mathis
June Mathis
and Anita Loos. She was the first writer to win two Academy Awards.[2]


1 Early life 2 Career 3 Personal life 4 Later years and death 5 Selected filmography 6 Published works 7 Bibliography 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Marion was born Marion Benson Owens in San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California
to Len Owens and Minnie Benson.[3] She had an older sister, Maude, and a younger brother, Len.[3] Her parents divorced when she was ten, and she lived with her mother. She dropped out of school at age 12, after having been caught drawing a cartoon strip of her teacher. She then transferred to a school in San Mateo and then to art school in San Francisco when she was 16 years old. This school was destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[4] Career[edit]

Frances Marion
Frances Marion
in 1915

While in San Francisco, Marion worked as a photographer's assistant to Arnold Genthe
Arnold Genthe
and experimented with photographic layouts and color film. Later she worked for Western Pacific Railroads as a commercial artist, then as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. After moving to Los Angeles, Marion worked as a poster artist for the Morosco Theater as well as an advertising firm doing commercial layouts.[5] In the summer of 1914 she was hired as a writing assistant, an actress and general assistant by Lois Weber
Lois Weber
Productions, a film company owned and operated by pioneer female film director Lois Weber. She could have been an actor, but preferred work behind the camera. She learned screenwriting from Weber, and wrote one screenplay for her, but then burned it. Marion worked as a journalist and served overseas as a combat correspondent during World War I.[6] She documented women's contribution to the war effort on the front lines, and became the first woman to cross the Rhine after the armistice.[7] As "Frances Marion," she wrote many scripts for actress/filmmaker Mary Pickford, including Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and The Poor Little Rich Girl, as well as scripts for numerous other successful films of the 1920s and 1930s. During this time, she earned a salary of $50,000 per year which was unheard of at the time.[8] Marion went to New York for her job, and her husband declined to live with her and they divorced. She won the Academy Award for Writing in 1931 for the film The Big House, she received the Academy Award for Best Story for The Champ in 1932, both featuring Wallace Beery, and co-wrote Min and Bill
Min and Bill
starring her friend Marie Dressler
Marie Dressler
and Beery in 1930. She was credited with writing 300 scripts and over 130 produced films. She directed and occasionally appeared in some of Mary Pickford's early movies. Personal life[edit]

Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
(center) with newlyweds Fred Thomson
Fred Thomson
and Frances Marion (1919)

Marion's father Len D. Owens built the Aetna Springs resort in Aetna Springs, California in the 1870s. After her success in Hollywood, she often visited the resort using it as a retreat and drew several actors to the resort with her.[9] Marion was married four times, first to Wesley de Lappe, and later to Robert Pike, both prior to changing her name. In 1919, she wed Fred Thomson, who co-starred with Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
in The Love Light
The Love Light
in 1921.[6] She was such close friends with Mary Pickford, that they honeymooned together when Mary married Douglas Fairbanks and Frances married Fred.[8] After Thomson's unexpected death from a leg wound in 1928, she married director George W. Hill
George W. Hill
in 1930, but that marriage ended in divorce in 1933. She had two sons—Frederick C. Thomson and Richard Thomson (adopted). Fred earned a PhD in English at Yale, taught there and later joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina. He became an editor of the writings of George Eliot, publishing editions of Felix Holt, the Radical in 1980 and later. Later years and death[edit] For many years she was under contract to MGM
Studios, but, independently wealthy, she left Hollywood in 1946 to devote more time to writing stage plays and novels. Frances Marion
Frances Marion
published a memoir Off With Their Heads: A Serio-Comic Tale of Hollywood in 1972. Marion died the following year of a ruptured aneurysm in Los Angeles.[10] Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Featured Stars Notes

1912 The New York Hat Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish Contributing writer

1915 Camille Clara Kimball Young, Paul Capellani, Robert Cummings Scenario

A Girl of Yesterday Mary Pickford, Frances Marion, Glenn L. Martin actress

1916 The Gilded Cage Alice Brady, Montagu Love, Alec B. Francis scenarist/writer

1917 A Little Princess Katherine Griffith, Mary Pickford, Norman Kerry, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts Writer

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Mary Pickford, Eugene O'Brien Writer

The Poor Little Rich Girl Mary Pickford, Madlaine Traverse, Charles Wellesley, Gladys Fairbanks Writer

1918 Stella Maris Mary Pickford Photoplay

How Could You, Jean? Mary Pickford Scenario

M'Liss Mary Pickford Writer

Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley Mary Pickford, William Scott, Kate Price Writer

1919 The Cinema Murder Marion Davies, Eulalie Jensen, Anders Randolf, Reginald Barlow Scenario

Anne of Green Gables Mary Miles Minter Writer

1920 Pollyanna Mary Pickford Adaptation

The Flapper Olive Thomas, Warren Cook Screenplay, story

The Restless Sex Marion Davies, Ralph Kellard Writer

1921 The Love Light Mary Pickford, Evelyn Dumo Director, story (uncredited)

1922 The Toll of the Sea Anna May Wong, Kenneth Harlan, Beatrice Bentley Scenario (uncredited), story

1923 The Famous Mrs. Fair Myrtle Stedman, Huntley Gordon Adaptation, screenplay

1924 Secrets Norma Talmadge Adaptation

Cytherea Alma Rubens, Constance Bennett, Norman Kerry, Lewis Stone, Irene Rich Adaptation

The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln George A. Billing, Ruth Clifford, George K. Arthur, Louise Fazenda Story, screenplay

1925 Stella Dallas Ronald Colman, Belle Bennett, Lois Moran Adaptation

A Thief in Paradise Doris Kenyon, Ronald Colman, Aileen Pringle Adaptation

Thank You Alec B. Francis, Jacqueline Logan Writer

Lightnin' Jay Hunt, Wallace MacDonald Writer

1926 The Scarlet Letter Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson Adaptation, scenario, titles

The Winning of Barbara Worth Ronald Colman, Vilma Bánky Adaptation

Son of the Sheik Rudolph Valentino, Vilma Bánky, Montagu Love, Karl Dane, George Fawcett Adaptation

1927 The Red Mill Marion Davies Adaptation, screenplay

Love John Gilbert, Greta Garbo Continuity

Madame Pompadour Dorothy Gish Writer

1928 The Wind Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love, Dorothy Cumming Scenario

The Awakening Vilma Bánky, Walter Byron Story

Bringing Up Father J. Farrell MacDonald, Polly Moran, Marie Dressler Writer

1929 Their Own Desire Norma Shearer, Belle Bennett, Lewis Stone, Robert Montgomery, Helene Millard Screenplay

1930 Min and Bill Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery Dialogue, scenario

The Big House Robert Montgomery, Wallace Beery, Chester Morris, Lewis Stone Dialogue, story Won the Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Good News Mary Lawlor, Stanley Smith Scenario

The Rogue Song Lawrence Tibbett, Catherine Dale Owen Writer

Anna Christie Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion, Marie Dressler Writer

1931 Anna Christie Greta Garbo, Theo Shall, Hans Junkermann Adaptation

The Secret Six Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, John Mack Brown, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Ralph Bellamy, Marjorie Rambeau Dialogue, screenplay

The Champ Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Roscoe Ates Story Won the Academy Award for Best Story

1932 Blondie of the Follies Marion Davies, Robert Montgomery, Billie Dove Screenplay, story

Emma Marie Dressler, Richard Cromwell, Jean Hersholt, Myrna Loy Story

1933 Peg o' My Heart Marion Davies, Onslow Stevens, J. Farrell MacDonald Adaptation

Dinner at Eight Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Billie Burke Screenplay

The Prizefighter and the Lady Myrna Loy, Max Baer, Walter Huston, Primo Carnera, Jack Dempsey Story Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Story

Going Hollywood Marion Davies, Bing Crosby, Fifi D'Orsay, Stuart Erwin Story (uncredited)

Secrets Mary Pickford, Leslie Howard Writer

1936 Camille Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore Screenplay

Riffraff Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy Screenplay, story

Poor Little Rich Girl Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, Jack Haley, Gloria Stuart, Michael Whalen, Claude Gillingwater Writer

1937 Knight Without Armour Marlene Dietrich, Robert Donat Adaptation

Love from a Stranger Ann Harding, Basil Rathbone Adaption

1940 Green Hell Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Vincent Price, Joan Bennett, Alan Hale, Sr., George Sanders, John Howard Original story, screenplay

Published works[edit]

Minnie Flynn. NY: Boni and Liveright, 1925 The Secret Six. NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1931 [novelization of her own screenplay] Valley People. NY: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1935 How to Write and Sell Film Stories. NY: Covici-Friede, 1937 Molly, Bless Her. NY: Harper & Brothers, 1937 Westward The Dream. Garden City NY: Doubleday and Company, 1948 The Passions of Linda Lane. NY: Diversey Publications, 1949 [paperback; revised edition of Minnie Flynn] The Powder Keg. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1953 Off With Their Heads!: A Serio-Comic Tale of Hollywood. NY: The Macmillan Company, 1972 [memoir]


Beauchamp, C. Marion, Frances. American National Biography Online, February 2000. Beauchamp, Cari (1997). Without lying down: Frances Marion
Frances Marion
and the powerful women of early Hollywood. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21492-7. 


^ Beauchamp. 1997 ^ [1] ^ a b 1900 United States Federal Census ^ "Earthquake of 1906: 110 years ago today - San Mateo Daily Journal". Sdailyjournal.com. Retrieved 2017-01-25.  ^ Beauchamp, Cari (1997). Without Lying Down. University of California Press. pp. 22–37. ISBN 978-0520214927.  ^ a b Biography.com. " Frances Marion
Frances Marion
Biography". Retrieved May 7, 2011.  ^ " The Love Light
The Love Light
starring Mark Pickford and Fred Thompson". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-03-05.  ^ a b " The Love Light
The Love Light
(Frances Marion, Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
Co. US 1921) (d/w)". YouTube. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2017-03-05.  ^ Jensen, Peter (February 6, 2012). "A grand 19th-century resort to be reborn in Pope Valley". Napa Valley Register. Napa, California. Retrieved February 6, 2012.  ^ Sicherman, Barbara; Hurd Green, Carol (1980). Notable American Women: The Modern Period : A Biographical Dictionary. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 457. ISBN 0-674-62732-6. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frances Marion.

Frances Marion
Frances Marion
on IMDb Frances Marion
Frances Marion
at the TCM Movie Database Works by Frances Marion
Frances Marion
at Open Library Frances Marion
Frances Marion
at Goodreads Frances Marion
Frances Marion
at the Women Film Pioneers Project Without Lying Down: Frances Marion
Frances Marion
and the Power of Women in Hollywood on IMDb

v t e

Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay


Benjamin Glazer (1928) Hanns Kräly (1929) Frances Marion
Frances Marion
(1930) Howard Estabrook
Howard Estabrook
(1931) Edwin J. Burke (1932) Victor Heerman
Victor Heerman
and Sarah Y. Mason
Sarah Y. Mason
(1933) Robert Riskin
Robert Riskin
(1934) Dudley Nichols (1935) Pierre Collings
Pierre Collings
and Sheridan Gibney (1936) Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg, and Norman Reilly Raine
Norman Reilly Raine
(1937) Ian Dalrymple, Cecil Arthur Lewis, W. P. Lipscomb, and George Bernard Shaw (1938) Sidney Howard
Sidney Howard
(1939) Donald Ogden Stewart
Donald Ogden Stewart
(1940) Sidney Buchman and Seton I. Miller (1941) George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West, and Arthur Wimperis (1942) Philip G. Epstein, Julius J. Epstein, and Howard E. Koch (1943) Frank Butler, and Frank Cavett (1944) Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
(1945) Robert Sherwood (1946) George Seaton
George Seaton
(1947) John Huston
John Huston
(1948) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
(1949) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Joseph L. Mankiewicz


Harry Brown and Michael Wilson (1951) Charles Schnee (1952) Daniel Taradash (1953) George Seaton
George Seaton
(1954) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1955) John Farrow, S. J. Perelman, and James Poe (1956) Carl Foreman
Carl Foreman
and Michael Wilson (1957) Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner
(1958) Neil Paterson (1959) Richard Brooks
Richard Brooks
(1960) Abby Mann (1961) Horton Foote (1962) John Osborne
John Osborne
(1963) Edward Anhalt (1964) Robert Bolt (1965) Robert Bolt (1966) Stirling Silliphant (1967) James Goldman (1968) Waldo Salt (1969) Ring Lardner Jr.
Ring Lardner Jr.
(1970) Ernest Tidyman (1971) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
and Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
(1972) William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty
(1973) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
and Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
(1974) Bo Goldman
Bo Goldman
and Lawrence Hauben (1975)


William Goldman
William Goldman
(1976) Alvin Sargent (1977) Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone
(1978) Robert Benton (1979) Alvin Sargent (1980) Ernest Thompson
Ernest Thompson
(1981) Costa-Gavras
and Donald E. Stewart (1982) James L. Brooks
James L. Brooks
(1983) Peter Shaffer (1984) Kurt Luedtke (1985) Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
(1986) Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci
and Mark Peploe (1987) Christopher Hampton
Christopher Hampton
(1988) Alfred Uhry
Alfred Uhry
(1989) Michael Blake (1990) Ted Tally (1991) Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
(1992) Steven Zaillian (1993) Eric Roth (1994) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1995) Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton
(1996) Curtis Hanson
Curtis Hanson
and Brian Helgeland (1997) Bill Condon (1998) John Irving
John Irving
(1999) Stephen Gaghan
Stephen Gaghan


Akiva Goldsman
Akiva Goldsman
(2001) Ronald Harwood (2002) Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Fran Walsh (2003) Alexander Payne
Alexander Payne
and Jim Taylor (2004) Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry
and Diana Ossana (2005) William Monahan
William Monahan
(2006) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (2007) Simon Beaufoy (2008) Geoffrey S. Fletcher
Geoffrey S. Fletcher
(2009) Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin
(2010) Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon
Nat Faxon
(2011) Chris Terrio (2012) John Ridley
John Ridley
(2013) Graham Moore (2014) Adam McKay
Adam McKay
and Charles Randolph (2015) Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins
and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Tarell Alvin McCraney
(2016) James Ivory
James Ivory

v t e

Academy Award for Best Story

Ben Hecht
Ben Hecht
(1927/28) None given (1928/29) None given (1929/30) John Monk Saunders (1930/31) Frances Marion
Frances Marion
(1931/32) Robert Lord (1932/33) Arthur Caesar (1934) Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur (1935) Pierre Collings, Sheridan Gibney (1936) Robert Carson, William Wellman (1937) Eleanore Griffin, Dore Schary (1938) Lewis R. Foster (1939) Benjamin Glazer, John Toldy (1940) Harry Segall (1941) Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(1942) William Saroyan
William Saroyan
(1943) Leo McCarey (1944) Charles G. Booth (1945) Clemence Dane
Clemence Dane
(1946) Valentine Davies (1947) Richard Schweizer, David Wechsler (1948) Edna Anhalt, Edward Anhalt (1950) James Bernard, Paul Dehn (1951) Frank Cavett, Fredric M. Frank, Theodore St. John (1952) Dalton Trumbo (1953) Philip Yordan
Philip Yordan
(1954) Daniel Fuchs (1955) Dalton Trumbo (1956)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 17367442 LCCN: n85376745 ISNI: 0000 0000 5922 9898 GND: 119542080 SUDOC: 11744300X BNF: cb13325114p (data) NDL: 00471056 NKC: xx0172176 BNE: XX1067469 SN


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