Marian Nixon

Marian Nixon (born Marja Nissinen[1]; October 20, 1904 – February 13, 1983) was an American film actress. She appeared in more than 70 films.[2]

Marian Nixon
Marian Nissinen

(1904-10-20)October 20, 1904
Superior, Wisconsin, United States
DiedFebruary 13, 1983(1983-02-13) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Other namesMarian Nixon
OccupationActress, vaudevillian, dancer
Years active1922–1936
Joseph Benjamin
(m. 1925; div. 1927)

Edward Hillman, Jr.
(m. 1929; div. 1933)

William A. Seiter
(m. 1934; died 1964)

Ben Lyon
(m. 1972; died 1979)
  • Christopher Seiter
  • Selena Seiter
  • Jessica Seiter
  • Barbara Lyon (stepdaughter)
  • Richard Lyon (stepson)


Born in Superior, Wisconsin to parents of Finnish descent,[1][3] Nixon began her career as a teen dancing in choruses in vaudeville.[2] She began appearing in bit part in films in 1922 and landed her first substantial role in the 1923 film Cupid's Fireman, opposite Buck Jones. The following year, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star.[4] Nixon continued to work steadily throughout the mid to late 1920s appearing in Riders of the Purple Sage (1925), Hands Up! (1926), and The Chinese Parrot (1927). In 1929, she made her talkie debut as the lead in Geraldine. Later that same year, Nixon appeared opposite Al Jolson in Say It with Songs followed by General Crack in 1930.

In 1932, she starred as Rebecca in the film adaption of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm with Ralph Bellamy.[5] Following the release of Rebecca, Nixon co-starred in Winner Take All with James Cagney. The next year she had a supporting role in John Ford's Pilgrimage. In 1934, Nixon attempted to change her wholesome image with a role in the comedy We’re Rich Again. The film wasn't a success and after appearing in eight more films, Nixon retired from acting in 1936. She made her last film, Captain Calamity at the age of 32.

Personal life

Nixon was married four times. She married boxer Joseph Benjamin in 1925, but they divorced two years later. Then, on August 11, 1929, Nixon married Chicago department store heir Edward Hillman Jr. at his parents' home. That union ended in 1933. The following year, Nixon wed director William A. Seiter with whom she had worked on the film We're Rich Again. Their marriage lasted until Seiter's death in 1964 and produced three children: Christopher Seiter (1935-2003), Selena (1937-1980), and Jessica (1939- )). Finally, on April 1, 1972 in Los Angeles, she married actor/producer Ben Lyon, although her obituary in the Chicago Tribune reports that she married Lyon in 1971.[6]

Her grandsons are the screenwriters Ted Griffin and Nicholas Griffin, the sons of a daughter Nixon had with husband William Seiter.[7][2]


Nixon died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center[6] of complications following open heart surgery on February 13, 1983.[8] and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.[9]


For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Nixon has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street in Los Angeles, California. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[10]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1923 Rosita Undetermined Bit Role Uncredited
Big Dan Dora Allen
Cupid's Fireman Agnes Evans
1924 The Vagabond Trail Lou Macon
The Circus Cowboy Bird Taylor
The Last of the Duanes Ruth
1925 The Hurricane Kid Joan Langdon Credited as Marion Nixon
The Saddle Hawk Rena Newhall
Let 'er Buck Jacqueline McCall Credited as Marion Nixon
Where Was I? Alicia Stone
The Sporting Life Nora Cavanaugh Lost film
1926 Hands Up! Mae preserved by the U.S. Library of Congress
What Happened to Jones Lucille Bigbee
Rolling Home Phyllis
Devil's Island Rose Marie
Spangles Spangles Delancy
1927 Heroes of the Night Mary Allen
Taxi! Taxi! Rose Zimmerman Lost film
The Auctioneer Ruth Levi Lost film
1928 The Fourflusher June Allen
Out of the Ruins Yvonne Gilbert Lost film
How to Handle Women Beatrice Fairbanks Lost film
Jazz Mad Elsa Hausmann Library of Congress
1929 Rainbow Man Mary Lane Library of Congress
In the Headlines Anna Lou Henderson Lost film
Young Nowheres Annie Jackson Lost film
Geraldine Geraldine
1930 Scarlet Pages Nora Mason
Ex-Flame Lady Catherine Lost film
The Pay-Off Annabelle
The Lash Dona Dolores Delfino
1931 Sweepstakes Babe Ellis
Women Go on Forever Betty
1932 Charlie Chan's Chance Shirley Marlowe
After Tomorrow Sidney Taylor
Winner Take All Peggy Harmon
Amateur Daddy Sally Smith
1933 Best of Enemies Lena Schneider
Chance at Heaven Glory Franklyn Credited as Marion Nixon
Face in the Sky Madge
1934 Strictly Dynamite Sylvia Montgomery
We're Rich Again Arabella Sykes
Embarrassing Moments Jane
1935 Sweepstakes Annie Annie Foster Alternative title: Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore
1936 Tango Treasure McGuire
Captain Calamity Madge Lewis


  1. Glödstaf, Kari (2018). 1000 mykkäelokuvaa: Sirpaleita elokuvan kulta-ajalta.
  2. Meuel, David (2014-02-20). Women in the Films of John Ford. McFarland. pp. 156–157. ISBN 9780786477890.
  3. "Tämä kuosi on taas ajankohtainen – toimii täydellisesti myös asusteissa" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  4. Lowe, Denise (2004). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films, 1895-1930. Haworth Press. p. 404. ISBN 0-7890-1842-X.
  5. L.N. (July 30, 1932). ""Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" Sings Her Simple Song Again at the Paramount Theatre". The New York Times.
  6. "Marian Nixon, debuted in Tom Mix's 'Riders' (February 16, 1983)". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. February 16, 1983. p. 12. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  7. Marian Nixon, Finnish Hollywood,
  8. Lamparski, Richard (1989). Whatever Became Of ...? All New Eleventh Series. Crown Publishers. p. 135. ISBN 0-517-57150-1.
  9. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 64. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  10. "Marian Nixon". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
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