Margaret Shelby

Margaret Reilly (June 16, 1900 December 21, 1939), known professionally as Margaret Shelby, was an American stage and motion picture actress, daughter of actress Charlotte Shelby, older sister of silent film star Mary Miles Minter and one of many public figures noted in the scandals which followed the murder of William Desmond Taylor in 1922.

Margaret Shelby
Margaret Reilly

(1900-06-16)June 16, 1900
DiedDecember 21, 1939(1939-12-21) (aged 39)
Other namesAlma M. Fillmore
Parent(s)Charlotte Shelby
J. Homer Reilly
RelativesMary Miles Minter (sister)

Film career

Born as Margaret Reilly (and later also known as Alma M. Fillmore), Margaret was a successful child actress who began working professionally at a very early age. Her first Broadway appearance was in Grace Livingston Furniss's play, The Fibber. In 1916 Margaret and Mary, both in their teens, acted together on film in director James Kirkwood's picture Faith.

Although she was seen as pretty[1] and noted for having some talent as an actress, her film career was limited to supporting roles in some of her sister's films. By 1916, both sisters were quite famous. The same year, the sisters established a widely publicized "hotel" for stray dogs on the ample grounds of their home in Santa Barbara, California.

Personal life

Her sister left the film industry in 1924, and Margaret took small bit parts in sundry productions.[2] She was briefly married to Hugh Fillmore, a grandson of President Millard Fillmore, but they divorced in 1927. With the coming of sound films in the late 1920s, her career ended. By the late 1930s, Margaret was suffering from both alcoholism and clinical depression. In March 1937, she eloped to Yuma, Arizona with Emmett J. Flynn, but this marriage was annulled a month later (April 27, 1937), and Flynn died the following June.

On June 5, 1937 Margaret filed a lawsuit against her mother alleging financial mismanagement, claiming Charlotte had stolen $48,750 (roughly almost $2 million in 2007 inflation-adjusted terms) from a safety deposit box in a Los Angeles, California bank. A jury awarded her $20,000.[2] On September 13, 1938, she publicly accused her mother of having killed William Desmond Taylor in 1922. Margaret's sister had an unrequited infatuation with Taylor, beginning in 1919.

Margaret Shelby died of alcohol-related illness in 1939, aged 39.


Year Film Role Notes
1912 Billie Billie
1916 Faith Laura aka The Virtuous Outcast
1917 Peggy Leads the Way Maude Greenwood
Her Country's Call Marie Tremaine
Environment Mildred Holcombe
1918 Wives and Other Wives Mrs. Craig
Rosemary Climbs the Heights Wanda Held
1919 A Bachelor's Wife Genevieve Harbison
The Intrusion of Isabel Lois Randall
The Amazing Impostor Countess of Crex
1920 Jenny Be Good Jolanda Van Mater
1928 Clothes Make the Woman

See also



  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 12, 2006. Retrieved July 14, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


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