Joan Barclay

Joan Barclay (born Mary Elizabeth Greear, August 31, 1914 – November 22, 2002) was an American film actress of the 1930s and 1940s, starring mostly in B-movies and cliffhangers, with her career starting during the silent film era.

Joan Barclay
Mary Elizabeth Greear

(1914-08-31)August 31, 1914
DiedNovember 22, 2002(2002-11-22) (aged 88)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Other namesMary Douglas
Geraine Greear
Years active19271945
Spouse(s)name unknown (dates unknown; divorced)
Leroy Hillman (1945 - ?); 2 children
George Sullivan (dates unknown; his death)


Early life and career

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P. H. Greear,[1] Barclay was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[2] A 1923 newspaper item reported that she was "a singer and player" whose bird imitations had been broadcast on radio.[1]

Her family moved to California when she was still a child due to her mother's wishing to escape the cold climate of the north. Moving to Hollywood to pursue acting, Barclay received her first role at the age of 12, which was credited with her billed as Geraine Greear, in the 1927 film The Gaucho, starring Douglas Fairbanks[3] and Lupe Vélez. It was her only silent film. In 1930, still billed as Geraine Greear, she had a minor role in King of Jazz. From 1932–35 she had thirteen uncredited film roles. She was the leading lady opposite Tom Tyler in the 1936 Western film Ridin' On.[4]

Career in B-movies

In 1936, Barclay's career changed for the better when she began starring in westerns opposite some of Hollywood's leading cowboy stars, including Tom Tyler, Hoot Gibson, and Tom Keene. Her first western starring role was opposite Tom Tyler in Ridin' On, followed by Feud of the West alongside Hoot Gibson, Glory Trail with Tom Keene, and Men of the Plains with Rex Bell, all in 1936. That year she received roles in other B-movies that were not westerns as well, including the 1936 crime drama Prison Shadows, which starred Lucille Lund and Edward J. Nugent, and the action/adventure film Phantom Patrol starring opposite Kermit Maynard.[5]

From early 1936 to 1939, Barclay had both starring and supporting roles in 35 films, almost all of which were B-movies, mainly westerns, serials, or cliffhangers. Most had her playing the role of the heroine opposite the film's hero. During the latter part of the 1930s she starred alongside such cowboy stars as Slim Whitaker, Tim McCoy, Ben Corbett, Tex Fletcher, Bob Baker and also rejoined Edward J. Nugent in the 1937 adventure film Island Captives.[5]

Later years

By 1940, Barclay was working steadily, averaging better than six films per year. From 1940 to 1945 she appeared in thirty four films. However, by 1943 she had begun receiving more and more uncredited roles, a trend which would only increase with time. In 1944 she appeared in six films, four of which were uncredited. In 1945, she starred in the Charlie Chan mystery The Shanghai Cobra. It would be her last film.[6]

Personal life

Barclay married three times, with two children by her second marriage, to Leroy Hillman, whom she wed on July 2, 1945, in Las Vegas.[7] Her last marriage was to George Sullivan, with whom she remained until his death. The couple eventually settled in Palm Desert, California.[5]


Barclay died in Palm Desert, California, on November 22, 2002, aged 88.[2]

Selected filmography


  1. "Songbird Trills by Radio". Star Tribune. Minnesota, Minneapolis. March 11, 1923. p. 85. Retrieved January 30, 2019 via
  2. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. (2 volume set). McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  3. Magers, Boyd; Fitzgerald, Michael G. (2004). Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Television Westerns from the 1930s to the 1960s. McFarland. pp. 27–33. ISBN 9780786420285. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  4. "(film advertisement)". Big Spring Daily Herald. Texas, Big Spring. June 26, 1936. p. 15. Retrieved January 30, 2019 via
  5. "Joan Barclay (1914-2002) - Western Movies - Saloon Forum".
  7. "Capitalist's Son Marries Film Actress". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. July 4, 1945. p. 11. Retrieved January 30, 2019 via
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