Martha O'Driscoll
American actress, dancer, socialite
Martha O'Driscoll
Martha O'Driscoll was an American film actress from 1937 until 1947. Her mother was a financial partner in the Hollywood Mar-Ken School. The school's director, Mrs. Bessire, had a son, William Kent Bessire. The two women decided to name the school after their children -- Mar came from Martha and KEN from Kent. The school remained open until the early 1960s.
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  • 1998
    Age 75
    Martha O'Driscoll died on November 3, 1998, aged 76, in Miami, Florida.
    More Details Hide Details She was entombed in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery. She was survived by her husband, four children and two stepchildren as well as 13 grandchildren.
  • 1947
    Age 24
    She retired from the screen in 1947, to have and raise children with her husband, Arthur I. Appleton, President of Appleton Electric Company in Chicago, the company his father, Albert I. Appleton founded.
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  • 1943
    Age 20
    In 1943, she married Lieutenant Commander Richard D. Adams (U.S. Navy) on September 18, 1943, but they separated ten months later.
    More Details Hide Details Following her last film, Carnegie Hall (1947), and a final divorce decree (on July 18, 1947) from her first marriage, she married, two days later, her second husband, Chicago businessman, Arthur I. Appleton. Appleton was the president of the Appleton Electric Company. Martha retired from show business in 1947 to start and raise a family. The couple would have four children, James, John, Linda and William. She served as an executive in such Chicago-based organizations as the Sarah Siddons Society, the Ways and Means Committee of Chicago's Junior League, and the Women's Board of Boys Club; she was also treasurer of the World's Adoption International Fund. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she was a guest speaker at numerous movie-nostalgia conventions, continually putting to rest persistent rumors that she died in the early 1970s. She had three sons and one daughter. In the 1980s and 1990s, she was a guest speaker at numerous movie-nostalgia conventions.
    In 1943, she starred alongside William Holden and Susan Hayward, in Young and Willing.
    More Details Hide Details She co-starred with Noah Beery, Jr. in five films. She also starred in cult classic House of Dracula with Lon Chaney Jr and John Carradine and Weekend Pass (both 1945). The following year she made her last Universal film, Blonde Alibi, receiving top billing as a girl who sets out to prove her lover (Tom Neal) innocent of murder. Her last film was Edgar G. Ulmer's Carnegie Hall (1947), after which she retired. She toured with Errol Flynn and the USO in the early 1940s, performing for the troops all over the world.
  • 1936
    Age 13
    She had other small dancing roles in Here Comes the Band, The Big Broadcast of 1936 and The Great Ziegfeld.
    More Details Hide Details In the last, she was spotted by a Universal talent scout who arranged for her to have a screen test, followed by a contract. Her roles were initially small - in her first Universal film, She's Dangerous (1937), she was not credited by name. In the Deanna Durbin vehicle Mad About Music (1937) she was billed as "pretty girl". Her face appeared on such advertisements as Charm-Kurl Supreme Cold Wave and Max Factor Hollywood Face Powder. Universal loaned O'Driscoll to MGM for parts in The Secret of Dr Kildare (1939) and Judge Hardy and Son (1940) starring Mickey Rooney. It was RKO, however, which gave O'Driscoll her first two starring roles, as romantic interest to the cowboy Tim Holt in Wagon Train (1940), and notably as Daisy Mae in the first screen version of Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner (1940) starring Buster Keaton.
  • 1935
    Age 12
    They moved to Hollywood in 1935, but Pan was out of town, so they answered an advertisement for dancers and O'Driscoll was given a role in Collegiate (1935), a musical.
    More Details Hide Details Betty Grable had an early leading role in the film and its songwriters, Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, played themselves as co-chairmen of the school's music department. She was groomed in more visible parts and began pitching products for Max Factor and Royal Crown Cola, among many others, in magazine ads, while such endorsements promoted her upcoming pictures in return.
    Trained in singing and dancing, O'Driscoll was discovered by choreographer Hermes Pan in a local theater production in Phoenix, which led to unbilled bits in musical movies from 1935.
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  • 1922
    Born on March 4, 1922.
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