Leslie Fenton

Leslie Fenton (12 March 1902 25 March 1978) was an American actor and film director. He appeared in 62 films between 1923 and 1945.

Leslie Fenton
Photo of Fenton from Film Star Who's Who on the Screen (1938)
Born(1902-03-12)12 March 1902
Died25 March 1978(1978-03-25) (aged 76)
Montecito, California, United States
Film director
Years active1923–1951
Spouse(s)Ann Dvorak (1932–45; divorced)
Marcella Zabala Howard (1952–78; his death)

Early life

Fenton was born on 12 March 1902 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England.[1] He emigrated to America with his mother, Elizabeth Carter Fenton, and his brothers when he was six years old.[2] They sailed as steerage passengers on board the R.M.S. Celtic, which departed from Liverpool, 11 September 1909, and arrived at New York, where they were ferried over to Ellis Island for "U.S. Immigrant Inspection" on 19 September. They were quickly admitted and continued their journey by rail to join his father, shoe manufacturer's representative Richard Fenton, in Mifflin, Ohio.[2]


As a teenager, Leslie worked as an office clerk.[3] He moved to New York and began a career on the stage.[3] His film career began later with Fox Studios. He also directed 19 films between 1938 and 1951.

Military service

Fenton saw active service during the Second World War. In spring 1941, he was commissioned into the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.[4] In 1942, as commander of a motor launch vessel, he took part in the St Nazaire Raid. He was injured in the raid and spent months convalescing in Devon, England. Unable to return to sea, he was assigned to a desk job at the War Office.[4]

Personal life

He married American actress Ann Dvorak in 1932. Dvorak (Anna May McKim) moved to Britain with Fenton while he served in the British armed forces during the Second World War. The union was childless and ended in divorce in 1945. Fenton died 25 March 1978 in Montecito, California, aged 76. Some sources, including IMDb, incorrectly cite Frank Fenton, the noted screenwriter and novelist, as his younger brother. Frank Fenton's parents were actually John Fenton and Eveline Edgington (married Liverpool, 1900), as evidenced by the ship's manifest for the RMS Caronia (page 0817, line 0008), aboard which Frank Fenton arrived in the US on 21 April 1906.

Selected filmography

As actor:

As director:


  1. "Leslie Fenton". Find a Grave. 14 May 2004. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  2. Rice 2013, p. 68
  3. Rice 2013, p. 69
  4. Rice 2013, chpt. 17
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