The Info List - Margaret O'Brien

Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
(born Angela Maxine O'Brien; January 15, 1937)[1] is an American film, radio, television, and stage actress. Beginning a prolific career as a child actress in feature films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
at the age of four, O'Brien became one of the most popular child stars in cinema history and was honored with a Juvenile Academy Award
Academy Award
as the outstanding child actress of 1944. In her later career, she appeared on television, on stage, and in supporting film roles.


1 Life and career

1.1 Film 1.2 Television

2 Academy Award 3 Additional honors 4 Personal life 5 Filmography 6 Select radio credits 7 Accolades

7.1 Box office ranking

8 References 9 Bibliography 10 External links

Life and career[edit] Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
was born Angela Maxine O'Brien; her name was later changed following the success of the film Journey for Margaret
Journey for Margaret
(1942), in which she played the title role. Her father, Lawrence O'Brien, a circus performer, died before she was born.[2] O'Brien's mother, Gladys Flores, was a well-known flamenco dancer who often performed with her sister Marissa, also a dancer. O'Brien is of half-Irish and half-Spanish ancestry. Film[edit]

Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
in Journey for Margaret
Journey for Margaret

Orson Welles, Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
and Joan Fontaine in Jane Eyre (1943)

Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
and Judy Garland
Judy Garland
in Meet Me in St. Louis
Meet Me in St. Louis

O'Brien made her first film appearance in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Babes on Broadway (1941) at the age of four, but it was the following year that her first major role brought her widespread attention. As a five-year-old in Journey for Margaret
Journey for Margaret
(1942), O'Brien won wide praise for her convincing acting style. By 1943, she was considered a big enough star to have a cameo appearance in the all-star military show finale of Thousands Cheer. Also In 1943, at the age of seven, Margaret co-starred in, "You, John Jones," a "War Bond/Effort," short film, with James Cagney
James Cagney
and Ann Sothern, (playing their daughter), in which she dramatically recited President Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." She played Adèle, a young French girl, and spoke and sang all her dialogue with a French accent in Jane Eyre (1943). Arguably her most memorable role was as "Tootie" in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), opposite Judy Garland. As she told the true story on a Turner Classic Movie special, Margaret was known as one of "the Best Cryers" on the MGM lot, but she was having a tough time crying, so to get Margaret to cry during a crucial emotional scene in the movie, her mother told her that "June Allyson, (another one of MGM's Best Cryers), is a better cryer than you!!" No surprise, she cried, and was wonderful in the role of "Tootie." O'Brien had by this time added singing and dancing to her achievements and was rewarded with an Academy Juvenile Award
Academy Juvenile Award
the following year as the "outstanding child actress of 1944."[3] Her other successes included The Canterville Ghost (1944), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), Bad Bascomb (1946) with Wallace Beery, and the first sound version of The Secret Garden (1949). She played Beth in the 1949 MGM release of Little Women, but she was unable to make the transition to adult roles. O'Brien later shed her child star image in 1958 by appearing on the cover of Life magazine with the caption "The Girl's Grown", and was a mystery guest on the TV panel show What's My Line?.[4] O'Brien's acting appearances as an adult have been sporadic, mostly in small independent films and occasional television roles. She has also given interviews, mostly for the Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
cable network. Television[edit] O'Brien gave television credit for helping her to change her public image. In an interview in 1957, when she was 20, she said: "The wonderful thing about TV is that it has given me a chance to get out of the awkward age -- something the movies couldn't do for me. No movie producer could really afford to take a chance at handing me an adult role."[5] On December 22, 1957, O'Brien starred in "The Young Years" on General Electric Theater.[6] She played the role of Betsy Stauffer, a small-town nurse, in "The Incident of the Town in Terror" on television's Rawhide. She made a guest appearance on a 1963 episode of Perry Mason
Perry Mason
as Virginia Trent in "The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe." In 1967, she made a guest appearance on the World War II TV drama Combat!. Also, in a 1968 two-part episode of Ironside, ("Split Second to an Epitaph," O'Brien played a pharmacist who (quite the opposite of her usual screen persona) was involved in drug theft and was accessory to attempted murder of star Raymond Burr's "Ironside." Another rare television outing was as a guest star on the popular Marcus Welby, M.D. in the early 1970s, reuniting O'Brien with her Journey For Margaret and The Canterville Ghost co-star Robert Young. In 1991, O'Brien appeared in Murder She Wrote, season 7, episode "Who Killed J.B. Fletcher?". Academy Award[edit]

O'Brien in Eiga no Tomo (November 1952)

O'Brien in 2013

While O'Brien was growing up, her awards were always kept in a special room. One day in 1954, the family's maid asked to take O'Brien's Juvenile Oscar and two other awards home with her to polish, as she had done in the past.[7] After three days, the maid failed to return to work, prompting O'Brien's mother to discharge her, requesting that the awards be returned.[8] Not long after, O'Brien's mother, who had been sick with a heart condition, suffered a relapse and died.[7] In mourning, 17-year-old O'Brien forgot about the maid and the Oscar until several months later when she tried to contact her, only to find that the maid had moved and had left no forwarding address.[7][8] Several years later, upon learning that the original had been stolen, the Academy promptly supplied O'Brien with a replacement Oscar, but O'Brien still held on to hope that she might one day recover her original Award.[7][8] In the years that followed, O'Brien attended memorabilia shows and searched antique shops, hoping she might find the original statuette, until one day in 1995 when Bruce Davis, then executive director of the Academy, was alerted that a miniature statuette bearing O'Brien's name had surfaced in a catalogue for an upcoming memorabilia auction.[7] Davis contacted a mutual friend of his and O'Brien's, who in turn phoned O'Brien to tell her the long-lost Oscar had been found.[7][8] Memorabilia collectors Steve Neimand and Mark Nash were attending a flea market in 1995 when Neimand spotted a small Oscar with Margaret O'Brien's name inscribed upon it.[9] The two men decided to split the $500 asking price hoping to resell it at a profit and lent it to a photographer to shoot for an upcoming auction catalogue.[7] This led to Bruce Davis' discovery that the statuette had resurfaced and, upon learning of the award's history, Nash and Neimand agreed to return the Oscar to O'Brien.[7] On February 7, 1995, nearly 50 years after she had first received it, the Academy held a special ceremony in Beverly Hills to return the stolen award to O’Brien.[7][9] Upon being reunited with her Juvenile Oscar, Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
spoke to the attending journalists:

For all those people who have lost or misplaced something that was dear to them, as I have, never give up the dream of searching—never let go of the hope that you’ll find it because after all these many years, at last, my Oscar has been returned to me.[10]

Additional honors[edit] In February 1960, O'Brien was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6606 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for television at 1634 Vine St.[11] In 1990, O'Brien was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award recognizing her outstanding achievements within the film industry as a child actress.[12] In 2006, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SunDeis Film
Festival at Brandeis University. Personal life[edit] She has been married twice, to Harold Allen, Jr. from 1959 to 1968, and later to Roy Thorsen. The latter marriage produced her only child, Mara Tolene Thorsen, born in 1977. Filmography[edit] "Who Killed J B Fletcher" Florence

Year Film Role Other notes

1941 Babes on Broadway Maxine, Little Girl at Audition uncredited

1942 Journey for Margaret Margaret White

1943 You, John Jones! Their daughter short subject

Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case Margaret

Thousands Cheer Customer in Red Skelton Skit

Madame Curie Irene Curie
Irene Curie
(at age 5)

Lost Angel Alpha

1944 Jane Eyre Adèle Varens

The Canterville Ghost Lady Jessica de Canterville

Meet Me in St. Louis 'Tootie' Smith Academy Juvenile Award

Music for Millions Mike

1945 Our Vines Have Tender Grapes Selma Jacobson

1946 Bad Bascomb Emmy

Three Wise Fools Sheila O'Monahan

1947 The Unfinished Dance 'Meg' Merlin

1948 Big City Midge

Tenth Avenue Angel Flavia Mills

1949 Little Women Beth March

The Secret Garden Mary Lennox

1951 Her First Romance Betty Foster

1952 Futari no hitomi Katherine McDermott Girls Hand in Hand
Girls Hand in Hand
US title

1956 Glory Clarabel Tilbee

1958 Little Women ( CBS
Musical) Beth March

1960 Heller in Pink Tights Della Southby

1963 Perry Mason
Perry Mason
(TV series) Virginia Trent The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe; Season 6, Ep. 13, aired Jan. 3, 1963

1965 Agente S 3 S operazione Uranio

1974 Annabelle Lee

1974 Diabolique Wedding

aka Diabolic Wedding

That's Entertainment! Herself and archive footage

1977 Testimony of Two Men Flora Eaton Television

1981 Amy Hazel Johnson aka Amy on the Lips

1996 Sunset After Dark

1998 Creaturealm: From the Dead Herself segment Hollywood Mortuary

2000 Child Stars: Their Story Herself aka Child Stars

2002 Dead Season Friendly Looking Lady

2004 The Mystery of Natalie Wood Herself

2005 Boxes Herself short subject

2006 Store Herself

2009 Dead in Love Cris

2009–2011 Project Lodestar Sagas Livia Wells

Select radio credits[edit]

Year Program Episode Airdate Writer (original story) Character Role Notes mp3

1943[13] The Screen Guild Theater[13] "Journey for Margaret"[13][14] 5 April 1943[13] William Lindsay White Margaret Davis (girl) The Lady Esther Presents The Screen Guild Players.[13] Related movie: Journey for Margaret. mp3

1947[15] Philco Radio Time[15] (with Bing Crosby)[15]

28 May 1947[15]

self (as guest)[15]


1948 Lux Radio Theatre "Bad Bascomb" 1 March 1948

Emmy (girl) Western radio drama involving a Mormon emigrant wagon train. Related movie: Bad Bascomb. mp3

1948[15] Philco Radio Time[15][16] (with Bing Crosby)[15] "St. Patrick's Day Program"[14] 17 March 1948[15][16]

self (as guest)[15][16] Saint Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick's Day
special. mp3

1948[17][18] Suspense[17][18][19] "The Screaming Woman"[17][18][19] 25 November 1948[17][18] Ray Bradbury[18][19] Margaret Leary (girl) Thanksgiving
themed radio drama. Agnes Moorehead[17] as the screaming woman.[18] Considered one of the best episodes of Suspense and old-time radio overall.[18] mp3


Year Award Honor Result Ref.


Academy Award Juvenile Award for Outstanding Child Actress of 1944 Honored [3]


Hollywood Walk of Fame Star of Motion Pictures – 6606 Hollywood Blvd. Inducted [11]

Star of Television
– 1634 Vine Street. Inducted


Young Artist Award Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award Honored [12]

Box office ranking[edit] For a time O'Brien was voted by exhibitors as among the most popular stars in the country.

1945 - 9th 1946 - 8th[20] 1947 - 19th[21]


^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0639684/ ^ TCM.com - "Biography for Margaret O'Brien", March 3, 2011. ^ a b "17th Academy Awards". Oscars.org. Retrieved March 31, 2011.  ^ What's My Line?
What's My Line?
- Margaret O' Brien; Peter Ustinov (panel) (Nov 24, 1957) ^ Ewald, William (December 5, 1957). "TV Gives Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
Chance To Get Out Of The Awkward Age". The Bristol Daily Courier. p. 38. Retrieved April 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  ^ " Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
In GE Drama". The Sandusky Register. December 12, 1957. p. 46. Retrieved April 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  ^ a b c d e f g h i Zamichow, Nora (March 7, 1995). "Fairy Tale End for Stolen Oscar". LATimes.com. Retrieved July 12, 2011.  ^ a b c d "An Interview with Margaret O'Brien". Hollywoodland. Retrieved July 12, 2011.  ^ a b "Actress Gets Stolen Oscar Back". SFGate.com. June 23, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.  ^ "Margaret O'Brien's Stolen Oscar". Hollywoodland. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2011.  ^ a b " Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
– Hollywood Walk of Fame". WalkofFame.com. Retrieved March 31, 2011.  ^ a b "11th Youth in Film
Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Archived from the original on April 9, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2011.  ^ a b c d e The Digital Deli Too: The Definitive Screen Guild Radio Programs Log ^ a b "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Digital Deli Too: The Definitive Philco Radio Time Radio Log ^ a b c Steven Lewis - Philco Radio Time
Philco Radio Time
1947-48 ^ a b c d e Frank M. Passage log: Suspense ^ a b c d e f g Old Time Radio Review: Suspense - episode review of "The Screaming Woman" ^ a b c OTR Plot Spot: Suspense - plot summaries and reviews. ^ CROSBY AGAIN LEADS IN FILM BOX OFFICES New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 27 Dec 1946: 13. ^ Bing's Lucky Number: Pa Crosby Dons 4th B.O. Crown By Richard L. Coe. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 03 Jan 1948: 12.


Best, Marc. Those Endearing Young Charms: Child Performers of the Screen (South Brunswick and New York: Barnes & Co., 1971), p. 203-208. Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1988, p. 170-171.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Margaret O'Brien.

Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
on IMDb Interview with Margaret O’Brien – Ottawa Times, December 3, 2014.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 79173209 LCCN: n86138593 ISNI: 0000 0001 1576 137X GND: 122779681 SUDOC: 109974506 BNF: cb14030845h (data) SNAC: w6tj2v71

v t e

Academy Honorary Award


Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
/ Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1928) Walt Disney
Walt Disney
(1932) Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple
(1934) D. W. Griffith
D. W. Griffith
(1935) The March of Time
The March of Time
/ W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson (1936) Edgar Bergen
Edgar Bergen
/ W. Howard Greene / Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
Library / Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett
(1937) J. Arthur Ball / Walt Disney
Walt Disney
/ Deanna Durbin
Deanna Durbin
and Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
/ Gordon Jennings, Jan Domela, Devereaux Jennings, Irmin Roberts, Art Smith, Farciot Edouart, Loyal Griggs, Loren L. Ryder, Harry D. Mills, Louis Mesenkop, Walter Oberst / Oliver T. Marsh and Allen Davey / Harry Warner
Harry Warner
(1938) Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks
/ Judy Garland
Judy Garland
/ William Cameron Menzies / Motion Picture Relief Fund (Jean Hersholt, Ralph Morgan, Ralph Block, Conrad Nagel)/ Technicolor Company (1939) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Nathan Levinson (1940) Walt Disney, William Garity, John N. A. Hawkins, and the RCA Manufacturing Company / Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
and his associates / Rey Scott / British Ministry of Information (1941) Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
/ Noël Coward
Noël Coward
/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(1942) George Pal
George Pal
(1943) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
(1944) Republic Studio, Daniel J. Bloomberg, and the Republic Studio Sound Department / Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ The House I Live In / Peggy Ann Garner (1945) Harold Russell
Harold Russell
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
/ Claude Jarman Jr. (1946) James Baskett
James Baskett
/ Thomas Armat, William Nicholas Selig, Albert E. Smith, and George Kirke Spoor
George Kirke Spoor
/ Bill and Coo / Shoeshine (1947) Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ Monsieur Vincent
Monsieur Vincent
/ Sid Grauman
Sid Grauman
/ Adolph Zukor
Adolph Zukor
(1948) Jean Hersholt
Jean Hersholt
/ Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
/ Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
/ The Bicycle Thief (1949) Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
/ George Murphy
George Murphy
/ The Walls of Malapaga (1950)


Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
/ Rashomon
(1951) Merian C. Cooper
Merian C. Cooper
/ Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd
/ George Mitchell / Joseph M. Schenck / Forbidden Games
Forbidden Games
(1952) 20th Century-Fox Film
Corporation / Bell & Howell Company / Joseph Breen / Pete Smith (1953) Bausch & Lomb Optical Company / Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
/ Kemp Niver / Greta Garbo / Jon Whiteley
Jon Whiteley
/ Vincent Winter / Gate of Hell (1954) Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1955) Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
(1956) Society of Motion Picture and Television
Engineers / Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson / Charles Brackett / B. B. Kahane (1957) Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier
(1958) Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
/ Lee de Forest
Lee de Forest
(1959) Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
/ Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel
/ Hayley Mills
Hayley Mills
(1960) William L. Hendricks / Fred L. Metzler / Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins
(1961) William J. Tuttle
William J. Tuttle
(1964) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
(1965) Yakima Canutt
Yakima Canutt
/ Y. Frank Freeman
Y. Frank Freeman
(1966) Arthur Freed (1967) John Chambers / Onna White (1968) Cary Grant
Cary Grant
(1969) Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
/ Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1970) Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1971) Charles S. Boren / Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
(1972) Henri Langlois
Henri Langlois
/ Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
(1973) Howard Hawks
Howard Hawks
/ Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir
(1974) Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford


Margaret Booth (1977) Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ King Vidor
King Vidor
/ Museum of Modern Art Department of Film
(1978) Hal Elias / Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1979) Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
(1980) Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
(1981) Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
(1982) Hal Roach
Hal Roach
(1983) James Stewart
James Stewart
/ National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
(1984) Paul Newman
Paul Newman
/ Alex North (1985) Ralph Bellamy
Ralph Bellamy
(1986) Eastman Kodak
Company / National Film
Board of Canada (1988) Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
(1989) Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
/ Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy
(1990) Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
(1991) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1992) Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
(1993) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1994) Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
/ Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
(1995) Michael Kidd
Michael Kidd
(1996) Stanley Donen
Stanley Donen
(1997) Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
(1998) Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
(1999) Jack Cardiff
Jack Cardiff
/ Ernest Lehman (2000)


Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
/ Robert Redford
Robert Redford
(2001) Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
(2002) Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards
(2003) Sidney Lumet
Sidney Lumet
(2004) Robert Altman
Robert Altman
(2005) Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone
(2006) Robert F. Boyle (2007) Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
/ Roger Corman
Roger Corman
/ Gordon Willis
Gordon Willis
(2009) Kevin Brownlow / Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard
/ Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
(2010) James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
/ Dick Smith (2011) D. A. Pennebaker
D. A. Pennebaker
/ Hal Needham
Hal Needham
/ George Stevens Jr.
George Stevens Jr.
(2012) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
/ Steve Martin
Steve Martin
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Jean-Claude Carrière
/ Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki
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Maureen O'Hara
(2014) Spike Lee
Spike Lee
/ Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(2015) Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
/ Lynn Stalmaster / Anne V. Coates / Frederick Wiseman (2016) Charles Burnett / Owen Roizman / Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland
/ Agnès