We've run several photos of Carole Lombard with her ill-fated longtime friend Diane Ellis in the past. Well, here's another one from Pathe in 1929, when the studio referred to Lombard as "Carol," and includes an actress I'd never previously heard of:
Thankfully, this image has a snipe on the back, so we can identify the third person:
Can't read it? Here it is, in close-up:
So just who is Marilyn Morgan? (I nearly typed "Michelle Morgan," thinking of my Facebook friend who's written several fine books on Marilyn Monroe, as well as the Lombard bio "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star.") It turns out she had a fairly interesting movie existence as well...simply not by that name most of the time.
Born Violet Ethelred Knauth in Trinidad in 1913, her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 10. By 1928, she was given speech and movement lessons and joined Pathe in 1929 under the name Marilyn Morgan, where she appeared in many short subjects. While at Pathe, she posed with a radio set:
In 1930, she had bit parts in "Hell's Angels" and Eddie Cantor's "Whoopee!", signed with Warners the following year and changed her screen name to Marian Marsh...where she gained her most iconic role.
Remember Lombard's line in "Twentieth Century," "I'm no Trilby"? Well, that was sort of an in-joke, as co-star John Barrymore worked opposite a Trilby when he played the title role in 1931's "Svengali" -- and she was played by Marian Marsh. It led her to being named a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1931, and she appeared in several more notable Warners pre-Codes, including "Five-Star Final" and "Beauty And The Boss."
In 1935, Marsh signed a two-year deal with Columbia, turning to freelance work when her contract was up and finally retiring from movies in 1942. She died at age 93 in November 2006.
Learn more about her career at https://heckyesmarianmarsh.tumblr.com/.